Vittorio Tabacchi, president of Mido and Anfao, was officially elected president of Eurom I, the European Federation of Precision Mechanical and Optical Industries. Former president and major shareholder of Safilo, Tabacchi takes over from Antoni Olivella, general manager of Indo, who will stay on as vice president of the organization, which federates eight eyewear industry associations in Europe.

At the Eurom 1 meeting where Tabacchi was elected, industry officials discussed market trends, industry regulations, counterfeiting, internet sales and the issue of European labels origin.

The issue of internet sales was touched upon by Euromcontact, a member of Eurom 1 that represents all the major manufacturers of contact lenses. Reacting to the opinion issued by the attorney general of the European Court of Justice, Paolo Mengozzi, that sales of contact lenses over the internet should not be banned by national government (see previous issue), Euromcontact stresses that eye care professionals must in any case have role in ensuring safe use of the lenses, helping in their selection and fitting, and providing annual after-care. Euromcontact also disagreed with the attorney general that soft contact lenses require less professional care.

The attorney's opinion stated that member governments may take national measures regulating electronic sales of contact lenses as long as the measures are not excessive and do not infringe on foreign companies' abilities to sell in their countries. The attorney general's opinion will guide the court in its final ruling, expected by the end of the year.

Eurom 1 is displaying a solid front on the issue of the single European Driving License, which the European Commission wants to introduce in 2013 as a model for the regulations of all the member states. The new directive should set new testing criteria for basic visual acuity requirements, including monocular and binocular distance vision, visual fields and red/green color recognition. Eurom 1 wants each member state to ensure that the tests are conducted by eye care professionals, and that sight checks should be repeated every five to 15 years.

Top officials of Eurom 1 asked members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg for their political support in the formulation of adequate eye tests for safe driving. They held a discussion with them last July 6 at a lunch hosted by Jim Higgins, an Irish member of the European Parliament and a member of its Transport Committee, where they laid out the previously reported results of research made in Italy and France.

Bertrand Roy, European director of Essilor and president of the French National Association for Eyesight Improvement (Asnav), showed evidence that eight of the 40 million French drivers have uncorrected or inadequately corrected visual deficiencies. He also referred to studies proving that mandatory eye examinations of the elderly in Florida have significantly reduced the ratio of accidents caused by senior people.

Also at the lunch, a professor from the University of Milan Bicocca outlined another study indicating that one out of three Italian car drivers have visual problems below the required minimum stands. He also pointed to statistics revealing that 59 percent of road accidents can be directly linked to a problem of visual perception (see previous issue of EWI).