Support nystagmus awareness on ‘Wobbly Wednesday’

This coming Wednesday (4 November 2015), the Nystagmus Network is encouraging people to hold events to raise awareness of the condition that affects around one in 1,000 people in Scotland. ‘Wobbly Wednesday’ events will raise funds, but more importantly awareness and understanding, of a condition that is characterised by an involuntary movement of the eyes, which often results in seriously reduced vision.


We have many patients with nystagmus and are especially pleased to help raise awareness of the condition. A Wobbly Wednesday walkabout to a wobbly jelly afternoon tea, there are lots of easy ways to support this event.

The condition, which ranges in severity, can result in those with nystagmus being unable to drive or use a computer. Contact lenses and glasses can result in improved vision however will not reduce the uncontrolled to and fro eye movement.

Nystagmus and contact lenses

For a condition that affects an estimated 60,000 people across the UK, it always surprises us how low awareness levels are and those who are diagnosed with nystagmus can feel isolated and unsure of the best options available to them.

In our experience those with the condition usually do better with contact lenses. Soft lenses have the flexibility to move with the eye so they are always looking through the lens. This is especially true if their ‘null point’ (the angle at which the eyes move least) is off to the side, which it is in most cases. You might notice people with nystagmus turn their head to one side a lot – this is where their eyes move least and the vision is most stable and therefore best.

There is also some argument that wearing rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses provide physical feedback to the brain that the eyes are moving and may reduce the level of the ‘wobble’ – a benefit of them being rigid and less comfortable than soft lenses. This is an example of where a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work. The majority of our patients find soft lenses to be the best solution, however a handful have found RGPs to be more effective in controlling their condition.

Nystagmus is often a symptom of other conditions such as albinism, aniridia or achromatopsia so the complete picture must always be considered before working with the patient to agree the most appropriate way to manage it.

For further information on how you can support Wobbly Wednesday and to access a range of resources visit Or to donate to the charity text WWNN15 £10 to 70070.

Ian Cameron named UK Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year

Pioneering work recognised at Optician Awards

Contact Lens Practitioner - Ian Caneron

We are delighted to announce that managing director, Ian Cameron, has been named UK Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year at this year’s Optician Awards. Recognising the specialist work he performs on a daily basis, the award is an acknowledgement of his work supporting those with complex eye conditions.

A thrilled Ian said, “It is a great honour to receive this award, especially as the judging panel is made up of highly regarded optical industry experts. I am hugely passionate about the work I do and am always eager to help those with specialist eye conditions who had thought that they couldn’t wear contact lenses. Lenses have life-changing potential for some people, from babies who have had cataracts removed, to those who have complex conditions like keratoconus, it’s my job to find the right approach to ensure they can enjoy all the benefits that contact lenses can bring.

“We are soon to launch a specialist myopia (short-sightedness) clinic for children in a bid to stop their vision deteriorating throughout their childhood, through the use of specialist contact lenses. This is an approach that has shown great results but parents, and even some optical professionals, are unaware of the potential benefits of contact lenses in halting the progression of myopia.”

The award will sit alongside our Association of Optometrists (AOP) UK Practice of the Year award and Donald Cameron’s AOP Lifetime Achievement Award which he collected last year.

You only get one pair of eyes, so you really should give them the best possible care. That is what everyone at Cameron Optometry aims to do every time a patient walks in to the practice. It has been an incredible few years for the practice and we are confident the success will continue in the coming years with our fantastic team here.


Shortlisted for Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year award

We are delighted to share that Ian has been shortlisted for the Contact Lens Practitioner of the Yearaward continuing our amazing award-winning streak – Practice of the Year, then Lifetime Achievement Award and now this. The awards are run by Optician Magazine, the leading independent UK journal for eye care professionals. It really is a great honour to be recognised alongside some highly regarded optometrists in the industry. The awards dinner is on 18 April so fingers are already crossed.

Optician Awards Finalist 2015 Logo - Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year jpeg
We were also pleased to see many of our suppliers shortlisted as well. William Morris London, who produce some of the most stylish frames available are up for Frame of the Year. And we also stock many of the great products up for Contact Lens Product of the Year. Whatever the results, it’s sure to be a great night celebrating innovation and expertise in the optical industry.

When a deal isn’t a good deal

After a frantic weekend of shopping for many, which kicked off with Black Friday, hoards of people have taken the quest for a deal to extremes. Now as we enter Cyber Monday, there appears to be little let up with footage on the news of people taking it too far shoving and scrapping for the latest deals on electrical goods and must-have toys for their little ones.


It is understandable in times of austerity that people want to save money and when it comes to Christmas gift shopping, there are many deals to be had (whilst maintaining good old British etiquette of course!). However, contact lenses should not fall in to this “pile em high, sell em cheap” philosophy.

Last week Groupon found itself in hot water as it promoted a deal on contact lenses. This offer was swiftly removed as it contravenes legislation if the purchaser does not have a current prescription issued by a registered contact lens practitioner. The legislation is there to protect the consumer and try to stop people purchasing contact lenses without proper advice. They are a medical product after all and should be treated as such.

Ensuring you have the right lenses for your eyes is essential, as well as receiving the correct advice on how to look after them. If contact lenses become a commodity like TVs, then the number of cases of permanent eye damage caused by improper use, will rise.

Caring for your lenses

World renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital has recently launched a campaign to encourage contact lens wearers to ensure they take care of their eyes. The hospital has seen a marked increase in cases of eye infections relating to contact lens wear. Most worryingly an increase in an infection called acanthamoeba keratitis which can be extremely difficult to treat and in the most serious cases, can see the patient require a corneal transplant.

Tiny parasites called acanthamoeba can live in water so should your lenses come in contact with water the parasites can take up residence in your eye. If they aren’t killed through thorough cleaning, this serious infection can develop. This is a serious yet thankfully uncommon infection, however with cases of it on the increase, now is a good time to remind yourself of some basic guidance which applies to all lenses.

• Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses.
• After removing your lenses, clean them immediately. Don’t store them without cleaning them first. Cleaning will remove mucus, protein, make up and debris that naturally build up on the surface during the day.
• Never use tap water (or saliva!) to rinse your lenses or case. Microorganisms can build up in water, even distilled water, and can cause infections or even sight damage.
• Ensure your lens case is kept clean. Replace your case every time you open a new bottle of solution.
• Use clean solution every time. Don’t reuse or top up.
• Do not sleep in your lenses unless advised by your optometrist.
• Ideally lenses shouldn’t be worn when swimming but if you do wear them make sure you wear goggles to reduce the chance of contact with pool water.
• Follow the cleaning guidelines you were given, using the recommended products. Doing this will reduce the chance of picking up a nasty eye infection.
• Insert your lenses before applying make up.
• Have an up to date pair of spectacles on hand should you pick up an infection. Many treatments require you to stop wearing your lenses for the duration of the treatment so don’t be caught without a backup.
• Don’t use any eye drops without advice from your optometrist.

Remember these three simple questions:

• Do my eyes feel good with my lenses? You have no discomfort.
Do my eyes look good? You have no redness.
Do I see well? You have no unusual blurring with either eye.

If the answer to any of these questions is no, take out your lenses and consult us straight away.

Here’s a helpful video produced by Moorfields to guide you through the process for soft contact lenses and one for gas permeable lenses

A smart fit for diabetics

As many of you know, one of our specialisms here is contact lenses so when stories come out about new developments, we all gather round with our morning coffee to discuss. Yesterday’s news regarding the licensing of Google’s ‘smart lens’ to Novartis lead to one of those discussions.

We see many patients with diabetes, managing the unique issues they face as a result of the condition. I know this story will be of particular interest to them. The smart lenses are designed to measure the level of glucose in the wearers tears so could eliminate currently invasive ways of testing glucose levels, whilst correcting vision at the same time. The licensing of this technology means the possibility of diabetics benefitting from it is now one step closer.

The lenses will probably fall under current contact lens regulation which means that they can only be fitted by a registered and qualified optometrist. As such we are likely to be fitting these ‘smart lenses’ when they eventually make it to market. That will be some years off, but we will follow the progress with great interest and the ‘smart lens’ is sure to be the basis of many more discussions around the coffee pot in the coming months and years.

Vision for the competitive edge

Watching the England vs. Uruguay match following the decisive goal from Luis Suarez I heard one of the commentators saying “Suarez sees things that bit quicker than anyone else.” Perhaps his competitive edge did in fact come from his eyes but over the last few days it’s become clear he can’t keep his temper under control properly.


Whatever the sport, football, cricket, rugby or tennis, all participators want to see the ball first. Now teams are recognising that examining vision may help their players gain the edge over the competition. Specialists such as Sport Vision work with teams and individual competitors to maximise all aspects of vision. It isn’t just about having perfect eye sight, there are many factors that contribute to clarity of vision. Aspects like depth perception and having the ability to focus accurately, would also examined by these experts.

Not every aspiring sports person has access to these services and it is worth speaking to your own optometrist about your vision in relation to your sporting performance. We have a lot of experience in the practice working with top sporting professionals experience that you we would be delighted to share.

Choosing the right contact lenses is a good place to start. Some lenses have features that are especially beneficial to sportsmen and women. For example, custom tinted lenses can be selected to reduce glare when playing under floodlights or in bright sun, and may also improve reaction times. Custom tinted lenses can be worn purely for their tint even if no vision correction is required.

In addition, a trip to your optometrist should include a test of your peripheral vision using specialised technology. You might not notice any issues with your peripheral vision on a daily basis but in sport it could mean your opponent sees the ball that vital split second before you. And even for those who consider themselves to have 20/20 vision, the competitive advantage that could be gained by making even the smallest of corrections should not be underestimated.

Lenses for the smallest of eyes

Many of my patients will know contact lenses are a passion of mine. Most of my patients have straightforward prescriptions with some requiring more specialist products. However a small number of our patients are a little more complex still.

We are fortunate to work closely with the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion and St John’s Hospital, taking referrals from them to provide specialist expertise in dealing with even the youngest of patients including newborns with congenital cataracts.

Babies who are born with cataracts (the clouding of the eye’s lens) are usually operated on within the first few weeks of their lives. For adults, following surgery the normal course is to be fitted with lens implants or where this isn’t possible they can wear high prescription glasses (around +15.00 or so)

Babies are different. After surgery to remove the cloudy lens they have been born with the eye is usually too small to support an implant until they are at least 2 years old. They can’t be expected to wear glasses as the prescription is as high at +35.00 and changes every few weeks as it reduces towards the usual +15.00 over the first year of life.

In fact a new study has found that wearing contact lenses for a few years before having implants fitted also gives better eventual outcomes. This is an area myself and my colleagues have a lot of experience in and it is encouraging to see further study supporting the treatment. For surgeons to get the prescription spot on for a small baby is very difficult. It is hard to judge the focusing power of the baby and the infant years are a period of rapid growth so the chance of the surgeon getting their lenses as near perfection as possible increases as the baby becomes a toddler. At this time testing is far more straightforward. The eyes have developed substantially and the child’s ability to communicate makes it easier to select the right permanent lens.

As you can imagine, it isn’t easy getting a baby to wear contact lenses, perhaps even harder a toddler, but like anything, they do get used to it and as this research reiterates, the long-term benefits are worth the short-term angst.

London’s first eye show – showcasing industry innovation

This month I attended 100% Optical, the UK’s inaugural eye show at London’s ExCeL. Thousands of eye enthusiasts congregated for three days of displays, conferences, fashion events and workshops. Coinciding with London Fashion Week, the event showcased some of the most stylish eye wear brands. In addition, suppliers were proudly displaying their new products and innovations.

I was fortunate to be one of the speakers, taking the stage to discuss communication and contact lenses; both passions of mine. People can feel that they have been overloaded with information after visiting their optometrist. With numerous tests and options available, it is vital that communication is at the forefront of patient care. Good communication skills, in particular, having a caring and listening nature, don’t always come naturally but these are qualities I feel are essential to ensure a productive patient/optometrist relationship.

After my seminar in the ‘Lens Hub’ I was able to enjoy all the show had to offer. As many of you know I love embracing new technology and am proud that Cameron Optometry has some of the most advanced technology available to the industry. So, I particularly enjoyed exploring the 3D Frame Factory to see how the 3D printers work and how frames are then produced. The process first involves taking a 3D scan of your head. I, of course, was happy to volunteer to be a guinea pig! I was then able to see the frames being produced first hand, as well as trying out a few of those that had been ‘made earlier’. They don’t look anything special at first, with clunky bits of plastic, but the finished products are quite impressive. European designers such as Patrick Hoet and Monoqool are winning numerous awards for their cutting edge frames. I will watch with great interest to see if this trend takes off in the UK.

Scanned head

3D printer

One designer who has definitely taken off and is now one of the leading names in stylish eyewear, is Robert William Morris. It was a great honour to meet the man behind the global brand William Morris London. He established the brand some 15 years ago and now it is seen as one of the most stylish choices in eyewear, which we can testify to as it is one of the most popular brands that we stock.


It was a hugely successful event and has certainly left me feeling inspired with so many fantastic products and suppliers demonstrating the cutting edge nature of the industry.

A vending machine for lenses? No thank you.

Vending machines are great. You’re thirsty or desperate for a quick snack in the middle of a busy day and there in the corner of your eye is a vending machine. Ideal. A pound coin in, a can of juice out, problem solved. They are fit for this purpose. However, when Gillian was recently on holiday in Russia, she spotted a vending machine spouting out contact lenses.

photo 1

The first emotion is amusement – we’ve seen some other funny Russian customs in Sochi hitting the news recently. But the second emotion is worry. Eye care should not be dealt with on-the-go and I really hope never to see these machines in the UK. The concern is people will rely on these kinds of dispensers and forego a proper eye examination.

photo 2

CamOpt patients will know, the first half of your check up is spent looking at the suitability of your lenses. We look for any changes from your last appointment, talk about your lenses and whether they are still the best option for you, after all there are so many excellent options out there for each different individual. When it comes to eyes we are very individual so off-the-shelf and eye care shouldn’t even share the same sentence.

photo 3

After that section, we whip you off to check the health of your eyes with the scanner and the biomicroscope, then off to another machine to check your peripheral vision. All the while we are looking for any signs of disease and damage. Our technology allows us to spot issues early so we can devise a plan to hopefully cure and certainly manage the problem. If you forgo your appointment with us, you risk not only wearing the wrong lenses, but missing vital signs of eye ill health.

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