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ODMA17 success a reflection of reenergised industry

The three-day ODMA17 exhibition closed on Sunday following a four-year absence in Sydney due to the $1 billion redevelopment of the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour.

By all accounts the new venue was a success, with visitors and exhibitors alike complimenting the state-of-the-art centre as well as the presentation of the ODMA exhibition.

With around 100 exhibitors including associations and charities, the event organiser announced ‘Day one was a hit’ saying 1,300 people visited on the opening day.

According to Mr Ryan Heggie, business manager of Device Technologies, the return to Sydney seemed to boost delegate numbers.

“We had a busy weekend and I observed that most optometrists that don’t currently have an OCT are looking to adopt this technology as a matter of priority to maintain their clinical relevance in the current market,” he said.

The equipment suppliers dominated the entrance to the venue, and throughout the three days Heggie said there was also increased interest in automated refraction systems that provide improved practitioner ergonomics and efficiencies through integration with practice management software.

Adelaide-based Optos is another equipment supplier that had a successful exhibition.

Aided by the launch of the Daytona Plus, the company’s next-generation ultra-widefield (UWF) retinal-imaging device, Optos managing director Mr Jason Martone said, “ODMA was the perfect event to launch the Daytona Plus into the Australian market and to be able to showcase it to such large group of optometrists at the one event.”

He echoed Heggie’s thoughts on the venue saying, “Being back in Sydney was great and the new ICC [International Convention Centre] is an outstanding venue, the team ensured that everything ran very smoothly.”

Market positivity

For one supplier the show was a reflection of the increased positivity being felt in the independent optometry market. Rodenstock Australia’s general manager Mr Tim McCann said it was good to see not only interstate visitors, but also “a large contingent of Kiwi independent practices come to Sydney.”

“Over recent years there has been a great deal of discussion around the state of the independent optometry market, but in contrast to previous conversations it was so good to feel such a positive atmosphere and the frenzy of buying gave a strong sense that optical retail has received an energy boost,” McCann said.

He believes that independent practices were definitely looking for a high-end product differentiation and “we were very pleased that this dovetails nicely with Rodenstock positioning.”


Managing director of Eyes Right Optical Ms Gaye Wymond said, “We had a good show. It wasn’t our biggest ODMA ever. It was our second best, the 2015 event in Brisbane was more successful, however, having said that we sold more Face-Face than we have in previous shows.”

The Eyes Right Optical stands across its various brands were busy throughout the three days and the business celebrated its 25th anniversary on the Friday afternoon with about 300 people in attendance. 

Pascal Jaulent, co-founder of Face á Face
Pascal Jaulent, co-founder of Face á Face

Wymond arranged for Mr Pascal Jaulent, co-founder of Face á Face, to visit Australia to conduct a number of Masterclass seminars throughout each day on the stand and Jaulent attracted a good audience each time.

There is no doubt that the return to the new venue at Darling Harbour added curiosity value to the biennial event. Mr Mark Blackadder, director of MYM Group was another who applauded the facility.

“ODMA17 being held at the new ICC venue was fantastic. The facility is state-of-the-art and the accessibility is fantastic. Sydney is an attraction for interstate guests and the larger percentage of our business comes from NSW customers, so it makes sense for the show to be held in Sydney,” he said.

MYM Group was launched earlier this year and for Blackadder, personal presentations are important given the business’s range of fashionable frames. 

“We had an extremely successful ODMA17 with many orders written by mainly new customers,” he said, adding “Winning the Award of Excellence for Von Arkel certainly helped and we have a lot of follow up appointments with customers we did not have time to see over the weekend.”

While most exhibitors were pleasantly surprised at the outcome some expressed concern about the lack of atmosphere throughout the hall especially compared to previous shows, while others indicated that their trading results across the three days was much lower than expected.

Two exhibitors, who did not wish to be indentified, said they would be lucky to breakeven while another said if he attends the 2019 event he would halve his space.

A date and location for the next ODMA Show has yet to be announced.

George & Matilda Eyecare

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