Watch your step

Sadly as we get over the risk of falling increases. You are most at risk of a fall if you are over 75, female, are taking certain medication, have fallen before, and/or have conditions including Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, diabetes or dementia.


There are steps you can take to reduce your chances of falling. Here are some points to consider:

• Ensure you attend your optometrist regularly, at least once a year if you are over 65 and whenever you notice any changes to your vision.
• Have good lighting in the home. Ensure you have bright light bulbs that come on at full power, as opposed to taking some time to brighten up. Ensure you also have lamps where you need them, for example where you regularly sit to read.
• Also place nightlights in areas such as bathrooms, hallways and bedrooms if you get up during the night.
• Make sure your home is free from trip hazards, such as badly fitted carpets, and if you have rugs ensure they are secured to the floor.
• If you have been advised by your optometrist to wear glasses for distance (long-sightedness), ensure you wear them both in and out of your home.
• Wear suitable footwear both indoors and outdoors, ensuring all your footwear is sturdy with good grips on the soles.
• Where possible have a contrast in colour on your stairs, such as black edges, so they are easily definable. Fitting non-slip treads to stairs is also advisable.
• Wear sunglasses in bright light to avoid being dazzled by the sun.
• Use non-slip mats in baths and showers.
• Keep moving, ensuring you are physically active will improve strength and balance which will reduce you chances of falling.

If you are concerned about falling, please speak to your GP.

National Eye Health Week

As part of National Eye Health Week (21-28 September) we welcome guest blogger David Cartwright, Chair of the week, to discuss some of the concerning issues facing our country’s eye health.

Our ageing population and unhealthy lifestyles are fuelling a steep decline in our vision. Right now almost two million people in the UK are living with sight loss and forecasters predict a further half a million could lose their sight by the year 2020.

Focus on eye health

Poor eye health places a huge economic and social burden on the UK. In 2013 sight loss cost the economy almost £8 billion. Yet, according to research conducted by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) half of all sight loss is avoidable.
By far the biggest risk to eye health is poor uptake of sight tests. Twenty million of us fail to have our eyes checked once every two years, as recommended, and one in 10 of us have never had an eye examination.

Essential health check

Sight tests are an essential health check. Not only can they assess your visual acuity and detect eye conditions, such as glaucoma, before they cause irreversible vision loss, they can also uncover signs of general health problems including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Getting your sight tested is easy – there are qualified optometrists on almost every high street and for many of us it’s absolutely free.
More than 30 million people in the UK are eligible for free sight tests paid for by the NHS, and millions more are entitled to tests paid for by their employer.
Regular sight tests are particularly important for children, the over 60s, people with a family history of eye disease, those with underlying systemic health conditions, such as diabetes and people of certain ethnic origins who have an increased risk of eye disease.

Lifestyle matters

Poor lifestyle choices pose another big threat to the UK’s eye health. Sight loss linked to obesity and smoking is a growing trend amongst younger generations.
A poor diet, a high Body Mass Index (BMI), failing to protect your eyes from UV and a sedentary lifestyle can all have damaging affect your eye health.
As can smoking – smokers have a substantially increased risk of suffering common sight threatening eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
For those whose sight loss is unavoidable there are some important medical developments on the horizon. Eye research charities like Fight for Sight and the National Eye Research Centre are funding pioneering research into some of the most common causes of sight loss whilst advances in stem cell therapies, laser treatments, ophthalmic drugs and lens technologies are all helping make sight loss a thing of the past.
Whatever you do this Week (21 – 27 September) make sure do something to ensure your eyes and vision stay healthy now and in the future.

If you make one change after reading this blog, please make it a commitment to having a regular eye examination.

Optometrist Gillian Bruce to compete in Great Ethiopian Run for Vision Aid Overseas

Gillian shares her motivations for competing for this invaluable charity

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Running is a wonderful sport. It requires little more than a pair of trainers and some get up and go. The World Athletic Championships will start later this month and when everyone lines up at the start line, what will inspire me, is the idea that no matter where they are from, or how wealthy they are, they are all on an equal playing field.

Sadly this equality is not present in all areas of life, in particular when it comes to health care. Thankfully charities like Vision Aid Overseas are helping to address the issue of inequality in eye care. I have been involved with the charity since I qualified as an optometrist and have been able to see first hand, the results of the great work they do. The charity is dedicated to transforming access to eye care in developing countries. They utilise optometry volunteers from the UK to provide eye examinations in health centres and rural settings. Latterly they have also been heavily involved in training local people in VAO health centres with the aim of eventually seeing the countries reach self-sufficiency.


The need for the charity is great with around 670 million people, 10% of the world’s population, disadvantaged by poor vision due to a lack of spectacles. That means 670 million people with healthy eyes, do not see, simply because they don’t have spectacles. If you wear spectacles you will appreciate just how challenging your day would be without them. Imagine the educational, occupational and social disadvantage that people with similar prescriptions face.
I have undertaken a number of sporting challenges before, ranging from endurance events such as Tough Mudder to the London Marathon. In November I will take on a new challenge: The Ethiopian Great Run, running at altitude in the highest city in Africa. A challenge I am taking on to raise essential funds for those in need of basic eye care.

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I have quite a substantial sponsorship target to reach and I would be thrilled with any donations people can afford to give. Thank you!

You can donate to Gillian by visiting her Just Giving page:

Signs of cataracts appearing earlier

There was a worrying article in this week’s Optician Magazine summarising research that has found that patients are developing cataracts at an earlier age. A third of British adults knew someone who had been diagnosed with cataracts in their 50s or 60s, much younger than a decade ago. Even those in their 40s are reporting signs of cataracts.


The impact of UV, trauma, diabetes and other eye issues, like high levels of myopia were highlighted as possible causes for this trend. The research by Optegra Eye Health Care also found that 12% were unable to identify any symptoms of cataracts, which include cloudy vision, glare, colours seeming faded, poor night vision and double vision.

Not to sound like a broken record, but this is yet another reason why regular eye examinations are essential, at least every two years and if you notice any changes in your vision you should book an appointment immediately. Cataract surgery is very successful and there is a window of opportunity to carry it out when the chances of success are highest – we can guide you on the right time to intervene so come and see us.

Cameron Optometry welcomes new screening specialist

We are delighted to welcome Andrea Salgado to the team at Cameron Optometry.

Before joining us, Andrea was an optometrist living and working in Madrid, specialising in contact lenses in particular Ortho-K lenses, which are worn overnight to correct short-sightedness. Andrea has been using theses lenses to successfully correct her myopia for over 10 years.

In her new role she is a member of the pre-screening department in the practice, performing a range of tests and scans to ensure the optometrists have a full picture of the patient’s eyes health. Using the most high tech equipment including the highly detailed Optos Daytona scanner, Andrea is the first port of call when patients arrive for an appointment.

Andrea is passionate about helping patients appreciate the value of looking after their eyes. On her appointment, she said, “In my opinion it is the leading practice in its field and it was exactly the kind of environment I was looking for in Spain. Cameron Optometry’s approach to eye health is the same as mine and the quality of care is exceptional. It is exciting to be part of such a practice.”

Managing director, Ian Cameron added, “We are delighted to welcome Andrea to the practice. Her role is essential in ensuring that we are able to develop a detailed picture of each patient’s eyes, which is essential for us in making any diagnoses. We are fortunate to have such a highly qualified individual in our pre-screening department, and her experience is hugely beneficial to our optometrists and patients alike.”


Short-sightedness in children must be managed

A study out this week has found that yet again the rate of myopia (short-sightedness) in young people is on the rise. Now more common between aged 25 and 29 than those aged 55 to 59, with as many as half of this age group suffering from the condition.

The research from King’s College London also found that those with a higher education are more likely to suffer from myopia than those who left school at 16. It is still not clear exactly why people develop myopia however, these findings further indicate that people who spend more time working on computers and reading, seem more likely to suffer the condition. The research also suggests another contributing factor could be the lack of time spent outdoors.

In response to research like this, Cameron Optometry is soon to launch a myopia control clinic that will work to halt the progression of myopia in young children. The use of contact lenses in childhood can make a real difference in a bid to ensure that by the time children become adults, their myopia has not deteriorated as it would if left untreated. Severe myopia can lead to more serious eye conditions such as glaucoma and retinal detachment reaffirming the need for myopia control.

Through a shark’s eyes

The Shark documentary on BBC 1 last night was fascinating (and a pleasant break from GE coverage!). Sharks have a bad reputation, not least as a result of the 1970’s blockbuster, Jaws. But actually they are a species that pose very little threat to humans and instead are truly majestic creatures.


You may think this is a little off topic. What do they have to do with the human eye? Well you might be surprised to learn that the shark’s eye structure is very similar to that of a human’s eye with a cornea, lens, retina, pupil and iris. In fact so similar that the shark cornea has been used in human eye surgery.

However the eye surround is very different. Many sharks don’t blink, they just use their eyelids when they need protection and rarely close their eyes. Some don’t even have eyelids, instead species like the great white roll their eyes into their head when they need protection, usually when feeding. They also have the ability to see in the dark due to the eye tissue called the tapetum lucidum which can lead to their eyes appearing to glow in the dark, much like the household cat.

From the goblin shark to the tasselled wobbegong, there is a lot more to the species than the great white which stole the show in the Steven Spielberg thriller. We need to preserve the lives and habitats of this remarkable predator.

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.


Calls for tighter regulation on the laser eye industry

Further to a report calling for tighter regulations in the laser eye sector, Ian appeared as an expert guest on BBC Radio Scotland to discuss the procedure. At the moment anyone who is a qualified doctor, such as a GP, can perform laser eye surgery without any specialist eye training.The feature also follows protests this week by individuals who feel they have experienced ‘botched’ laser eye surgery, reiterating calls for tighter regulation.

Ian discussed what is involved in laser eye surgery, a process where the front of the eye is reshaped to change the prescription. In an industry that is currently booming, he pointed out that it takes regulators time to catch up and this is what is required in this case. He also discussed the lack of transparency in a sector where private companies are not obliged to publish their statistics so the estimate that around one in twenty people experience problems with the procedure, could in fact be higher.

The advice from Ian is to make sure you fully research your specific surgeon, not just the clinic. Check out their training, reputation and experience in the specific area and ensure that you are always treated by that individual. In addition, ask your own optometrist for a recommendation before undertaking a procedure, which if it goes wrong, could leave you with permanent eye damage.

Listen to Ian’s thoughts and advice here.

Don’t let the eclipse leave you with eye damage

As Friday morning’s celestial spectacle nears, people are flocking to Scotland for the best view of the first eclipse in over 15 years. Not to be the ones to spoil a party, we must take this opportunity to reiterate the words from the Association of Optometrists regarding the damage that looking directly at the eclipse could do to your eyes.A glance for even a minute could lead to you burning the back of your eyes.
Ensure you don’t look directly at the sun and please don’t see it as the opportunity for the perfect solar selfie. Doing so puts you at risk of blindness as you will undoubtedly keep looking up to see when your moment to snap is upon you.


Binoculars and cameras are a no no as they will concentrate the already powerful rays into your eye. Leave the photography to the experts with the super solar filters.Pinhole cameras are another option if you can get your hands on one, or if you want to make your own Blue-Peter-style follow the steps in this BBC article. Specifically designed eclipse-viewing glasses are also available to buy quite cheaply. Sunglasses on the other hand will provide no protection.

For those of you stuck in the office, you’ll be pleased to hear that the safest way to view it is on TV or online. If you have a bit of time on your hands and want to learn all there is to know on the subject of eclipse viewing, the Royal Astronomical Society have a PDF you can download here.

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