The Blog

New antibiotics make life easier

There’s been a lot of talk about increased resistance to antibiotics in the press recently with the Prime Minister himself calling for action to improve their effectiveness.

Fortunately, eyes are a special case. Drops used on the surface of the eye (termed ‘topical’ as opposed to ‘oral’ or ‘intravenous’) very rarely contribute to any resistance problems and in fact the main stay of infection treatment in eyes, chloramphenicol for bacterial conjunctivitis, has been heavily in use since 1950s and is still going strong.

One of the main issues with this drug is that it penetrates the eye pretty poorly so has to be put in quite often. A typical treatment does is every 2 hours for the first day then 4-6 times a day for 4 days. This is quite a burden if you are trying to put it in children or have trouble putting drops in yourself.

However there has now appeared a new drop called Azyter which is a drug called azithromycin. This was discovered in the 1980s and is widely used orally but is relatively new to use in the eyes. It has proven to be very effective and the dose is a much more manageable 2 times per day for only 3 days.

Because it’s much more powerful, Azyter is available only on prescription from an independent prescribing optometrist where chloramphenicol is available over the counter. Both Gillian and myself are qualified to prescribe this and Claire is undertaking the required training as we speak so you might well find us recommending this is you’ve got conjunctivitis.

Bear in mind there are many things that feel and look like bacterial conjunctivitis to the untrained eye that may require a different treatment so always come in and see us rather than your GP or just buying the drops from a pharmacy.

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.

Googles-Smart-Contact-Lenses-Image-3
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.

Detecting Alzheimer’s through the eyes

Almost three years ago I wrote a short blog about an eye test that was being developed in a bid to spot the early signs of Alzheimer’s. So I was pleased to read over the weekend that this research is continuing with signs of success.

That said, whilst the test described may be relatively ‘simple’ in the eyes of the patient, what they are in fact describing is a process involving a very expensive and specialist piece of laser scanning technology, which is still in the developmental stages. The progress has undoubtedly been encouraging but we are still many years away from seeing it in practice.

I have already been asked if this will form part of a regular eye exam. I would suggest this is doubtful. The technology would be very expensive for a practice to purchase and a very small number of patients would fall in to the ‘at risk’ category so it is unlikely to be something you’ll ever see at your optometrists. However I hope that when it is ready, it will be easily accessible to those who would benefit from its use. It could form part of a valuable early detection system, allowing for a plan to be formed with other medical professionals to manage, and hopefully delay, the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

It is such a devastating disease for those affected, so I do hope that research continues both in to this technology and the quest to find a drug to manage the disease.

A four-medal haul for Cameron Optometry

It is impossible to ignore sport at the moment. The World Cup, Wimbledon, the British
Grand Prix and the build up to the first Scottish Commonwealth Games in almost 30 years.
Ok, so here at Cameron Optometry our sporting prowess hasn’t quite reached those heights
but we’re having a good go!

photo-7

Between us we’ve clocked up nearly 50 miles of running. Hazel stepped out to complete her
first-ever competitive race. And no, she didn’t start with a gentle 5km to ease her in, she
went full throttle with the grueling Tough Mudder. Branded as “probably the toughest event
on the planet”, the 12 mile assault course saw her tackling electric fences, climbing over
various challenging obstacles, running through water and yes, facing a lot of mud.

Our newest optometrists, Claire, who has completed a full marathon in the past, took on
a half marathon. And with very little training, understandable as has just started a new job
and has two children to run around after, still completed it in under two hours.

And Gillian, an experienced runner who will shortly begin working at the Glasgow 2014
Commonwealth Games
as part of the medical team in the athletes’ village, completed the
half marathon. This time she acted as pacemaker for her twin brother who left her for dust
on his first ever run, not quite the show of gratitude she was expecting!

And finally, Carol completes our medal tally. She was part of the Hairy Haggis marathon
relay, running the anchor leg to bring the team home in a great time.

So sorry to any clients who have come in this month and found one of our team hobbling
around sporting the odd war wound. Now you know why!

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.

luis_suarez_bite

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.

Independent opticians top Which? poll of where to buy glasses

It was fantastic to read, as we’d always suspected, that Which? has found that the best place to buy glasses is an independent optician. We have a mass get together at the annual independents’ conference next week and are sure to be celebrating these results.

which-logo

Independent opticians were the only opticians to score top marks for product quality, timekeeping and the all important, customer service. We also shone when it came to staff skills. I know at Cameron Optometry we often talk about the expertise of our optometrists so it is encouraging that this is as important to clients as it is to us.

It is great to see that clients aren’t being swayed by flashy advertising campaigns from big brands and they still value the expertise, quality, care and attention they get from their independent eye care provider.
Here is the full press release from Which? rather aptly entitled, Should have gone to…an independent optician

New Which? research reveals the best and worst places to buy glasses, with local independent opticians coming top and some of the well-known brands falling down.
We surveyed more than 5,000 Which? members about using an opticians and found:
• Local independent stores came top with a customer score of 88%.
• Members-only store Costco came a very close second with a score of 86%, performing highly on timekeeping, product quality, price and value for money.
• Optical Express came in last place with just 59%, falling down on special offers, price and value for money.
• Vision Express also scored poorly for special offers with around four in 10 (43%) having spent more than they bargained for, and three in 10 (28%) saying there were so many offers they found it confusing.
• Independent opticians were the only stores to achieve top ratings for customer service, staff skill and communication.
• Popular high street brand, Specsavers, came near the middle of the table with a customer score of 72%.
• Tesco Opticians lagged behind all others in the survey for its customer service.
• Independents were more likely to fix a problem with glasses at no extra cost (54% of those who complained, compared to 47% of stores overall).
Editor of Which?, Richard Headland, said:
“Not all optician stores are the same and we found big differences between them. We were surprised to see that some of the big high street chains didn’t fare as well as other retailers, like Costco, who aren’t famous for selling glasses.”
Notes to editors:
We surveyed 5,409 Which? Connect members online in March 2014 about using an opticians to have eye tests and buy glasses and/or contact lenses in the past three years. The overall customer scores are based on customers’ satisfaction with the store on their last visit and the likelihood of recommending it to a friend.

Store Customer score
Local independent optician 88%
Costco 86%
Asda Opticians 77%
Rayner Opticians 74%
Specsavers 72%
Boots Opticians 69%
D&A/Dollond & Aitchinson 69%
Vision Express 68%
Tesco Opticians 65%
Scrivens Opticians 61%
Optical Express 59%

As well as rating the store they used overall (customer score), customers also rated them on areas such as price and customer service, on a scale of one to five: 1 – very poor, 2 – poor, 3 – fair, 4 – good, 5 – excellent. These results were then used to create star ratings.

Blurred lines

Last week I carried out a first ever eye examination on former Scotland rugby captain Mike Blair who was recounting stories of problems he has experienced with colour deficiency prompting me to write this blog. In one particular match in Aberdeen he stepped out on to a snow-covered pitch an hour before Scotland were set to kick off, only to find the lines had been marked out in red to make them standout from the snow. However for Mike, this meant the lines were now indistinguishable. From the usual crisp, clear lines he was used to seeing, he could now only see the grass and snow. The result was the groundsmen had to busily change them before kick-off and spectators arrived to see a rare sight – a pitch with pink markings.

ishihara
This is a classic example of red/green colour deficiency which affects around 5% of men and very few women. The degree to which people are affected varies. Usually individuals can distinguish between very bright reds and greens. It is the less vibrant versions of the colours that cause the problems, and distinguishing between shades of red or green can be nigh on impossible. The condition is often referred to as ‘colour blindness’ which is an inaccurate term as those with the condition can still see colour not black and white.

The reason that more men suffer this form of colour deficiency relates to the fact that it is carried through the 23rd chromosome, commonly referred to as the sex chromosome. So both a mother and father would have to be carriers of the faulty gene for it to be passed to a daughter whereas just the mother has to be a carrier for her to pass it to her son.

Whilst it rarely causes individuals major problems, it does rule out certain professions-pilots and electricians are two that spring to mind. It is worth parents noting that the condition may go unnoticed as it is may not be routinely tested for. It is advisable to get children (really only boys) tested for colour deficiency before they start school to ensure it is spotted early. Many learning materials are not tailored to the needs of those with colour deficiency so children may struggle unnecessarily if undetected.

PS. If you can’t see the 29 on the coloured dot diagram above (called the ‘Ishihara test’ by the way), you should come and get your eyes examined!

Sights on the Commonwealth Games

Having volunteered at the Olympic Games in London, our optometrist, Gillian Bruce has now been selected as part of the team of eye experts for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. She was part of a large gathering of medical experts who took part in training at the weekend and here shares what her role will be and her impressions of how the Games are shaping up.

glasgow+2014+logo

“The Commonwealth Games training was at Hampden Park which will host the athletics. The track is now laid so it looks a far cry from the football pitch that I remember (from lots of failed bids to watch Dundee United win the Scottish Cup!). The athletes’ village is really taking shape. Positioned in the East End of Glasgow just behind Celtic Park that will be used for the opening ceremony and across from the new Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, it is a very impressive site.

“The medical team is made up of not just the obvious professionals like doctors and physios, but also podiatrists, sports massage therapists, dental teams, emergency doctors, crowd doctors, chiropractors, orthoptists, ophthalmologists, radiologists and of course optometrists. The idea is that everyone staying at the athletes’ village, athletes, coaches, officials, media teams, lawyers – whoever makes up each country’s entourage – should have access to all the medical care they might require onsite. Only real emergencies would be whipped round to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

“I will be working as part of the optometry team in the polyclinic in the athletes’ village. So from 8am-10pm each day there will be optometry care on hand, from sorting out eye infections and removing foreign bodies to replacing lost or torn contact lenses or repairing specs, the team will certainly be kept busy. Thankfully I know what I’m getting myself in to having worked at the 2012 Olympics in London. I’m delighted to be part of the enormous team of volunteers on home turf. It’s very exciting being part of the buzz.”

http://www.glasgow2014.com/emergency-care

Glaucoma – let us catch it early

We’re supporting National Glaucoma Week (9-15 June), encouraging people to take Action for Sight and book an eye exam to check for signs of the disease.

Beat-Invisible-Glaucoma
Over the years we’ve detected many cases glaucoma through simple tests before clients had any idea they had the early stages of the condition. Many are surprised that glaucoma doesn’t usually cause symptoms until it is quite advanced. It can be detected much earlier with three tests carried out as part of our comprehensive eye exam.

If there is history of glaucoma in your family then you’re probably aware of the importance of having regular eye tests. However it isn’t always genetic and early detection saves sight. Over 90% of those who have the symptoms detected early will retain sight for life and it is the main cause of preventable blindness. Signs of glaucoma, and other eye ailments can be detected in a regular eye test.

Key factors which increase the chance of glaucoma:

  • Other family members suffering from the condition.
  • People of African-Caribbean origin are four times more likely to develop glaucoma.
  • More common in older age
  • People with severe shortsightedness are known to be at increased risk
  • People with diabetes may also have an increased risk.

For more information about glaucoma please visit our website or make an appointment on 0131 225 2235.

Welcome to new optometrist Claire Keith

claire-keith

Last year was a fantastic year for the practice, culminating in winning the UK Practice of the Year award and we are busier now than we’ve ever been. As a result we are delighted to be opening a third consulting room and next month we welcome experienced optometrist Claire Keith to the practice. Claire has recently moved to Edinburgh after running her own practice in Aberdeen for 17 years. Since qualifying as an optometrist in 1993, Claire, who is originally from Warwickshire, has developed a passion for contact lenses, in particular, working with patients with complex needs.

Claire said, “I am very excited about coming to work at Cameron Optometry. It deservedly has a fantastic reputation for offering the best possible eye care with the most up to date equipment. I am thoroughly looking forward to getting know all the patients, providing them with the best possible level of service. With great staff, equipment, care and service, the practice has built its reputation and the loyalty of its customers.”

In Aberdeen Claire became her clients’ first point of contact for all emergency eye care, rather than visiting their GP or the eye department. This increased her experience and expertise allowing her to deal with the wide range of eye-related issues we see at Cameron Optometry, from removing foreign bodies to acute, sight-threatening conditions. She is currently working towards her Independent Prescribing qualification, allowing her to manage more eye conditions and use the full range of available eye medications. Once Claire has passed her exams Cameron Optometry will be the only practice in the UK with three independent prescribing optometrists giving us a unique ability to manage the most complex and challenging patient issues and problems.

Outside work, Claire and her family are a sporty bunch, embracing the great outdoors at every opportunity. Having run her first (and not last!) marathon last year alongside her husband, she keeps her body as healthy as her eyes. Her children, Connor, 15 and Ella, 11, share her passion for sport and she spends her weekends watching them participate.
To make an appointment with Claire, please call 0131 225 2235.

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5 St. Vincent Street, Edinburgh EH3 6SW
0131 225 2235