The Blog

The spread of infectious blindness must be halted

I was saddened to read this story yesterday about trachoma, the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world. The most upsetting thing is that this village, where half of the people are at risk of blindness, is not unusual. In fact millions are affected worldwide.

You may not have heard of it as it is unusual in the UK and a short burst of antibiotics usually sees it off. However in developing nations numbers with the disease are alarming.

Like bacterial conjunctivitis, the disease is most common in children between one and five years old. If you have children and spotted the symptoms of conjunctivitis you probably popped in to see me, the GP or your local chemist, to get a course of eye drops and that was that – trachoma is just as simple to treat. However the medical care in the areas worst affected is just not there and untreated trachoma infections cause the inside surface of the eyelid to become rough and then scar. The scarring causes the eyelashes to start turning inwards where they scratch the cornea with every blink making it eventually turn opaque causing blindness after years of pain.

WHO launched an initiative called “SAFE” which stands for Surgery for trichiasis (inturned eyelashes), Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement in the 1990′s. Since its invention it has administered over 50 million antibiotic treatments however, clearly so much more needs to be done. Hopefully raising awareness of the disease in developed nations will help raise vital funds in a bid to stem the spread of trachoma. Find out more about this condition here

Open day success

Thanks for coming!

We have just about got back to normality after a fun-filled open day on Saturday. We’d love to say we’ve spent the week polishing off the cupcakes and Prosecco but, with over 150 of you coming, there were no goodies left for us! It was great to see the building bustling with old and new faces.

I’ve never hidden the fact that I love new technology. That’s why we’ve always got the latest piece of kit to help us get a thorough insight into the health of your eyes. We were delighted to see everyone queuing up to have a go of the Optos Daytona laser scanning ophthalmoscope. The Topcon 3D OCT scans also wowed, with all those who had a go amazed at the detailed pictures. For those who missed out, our Daytona scanner arrives later in the year, one of only a handful in the UK, so you can have a go then.

open day scans

A lot of time was spent in front of the mirror, with many liking what they saw! Hardly surprising considering we had the full 2014 ranges from William Morris London and Silhouette on show. Even those who don’t like to be seen in their specs were pleasantly surprised, realising that a stylish pair could make them look bang on trend.

Many seized the opportunity to try out the very latest contact lenses and we seem to have a few converts too. Dailies Total 1 from Alcon, MyDay by Coopervision and varifocal daily disposables from Sauflon were all trialled with great success.

As most of you know, we’re a family business and so we were delighted to welcome so many families along. The kids were well entertained throughout the day with face painting and our design a frame competition. A few even had a dabble with our numerous pieces of technology.

We gave away Seiko watches, discount vouchers, cupcakes and hundreds of freebies so it was an eventful day.

Open day cakes

Thanks again for all those who came and helped make it such a success. If you weren’t able to make it but would like to come in to chat about your eyes please make an appointment on 0131 225 2235.

Gene therapy breakthrough could improve sight

After years of exploration, I was delighted to read that scientists at Oxford Uni have succeeded in restoring the sight in people with a form of degenerative eye disease.

Choroideremia affects about 1 in 50,000 people who see their eye sight deteriorating as the light-detecting cells in their eyes die, usually becoming completely blind during their mid-life – a disease not dissimilar to the more widely known retinitis pigmentosa. There has been lots of research in this area but this is the first real world example of success.

Whilst the long-term effects are still unknown, the fact that the trial has had such early successes is a huge step forward and will give real hope to those suffering from various genetic eye diseases.

And it doesn’t stop there. There are many diseases with genetic components that affect eyesight, such as glaucoma which a number of my patients suffer from, and I am hopeful that the same principle could be used to treat a raft of similar diseases in the future.

What is especially heart-warming, is that the research was funded by the Tommy Salisbury Choroideremia Fund set up by the parents of Tommy, a 13-year-old boy from Kent who was diagnosed with the disease eight years ago. Wouldn’t it be great if he reaped the rewards of the research?

Read more about it here

Open day – Sat 18th Jan

IF YOU’VE BEEN NEAR THE PRACTICE IN THE LAST WEE WHILE YOU’LL KNOW HOW PROUD WE ARE TO HAVE WON UK PRACTICE OF THE YEAR 2013 AND NOW ITS TIME TO CELEBRATE.

We’re having an open day and be delighted to welcome you and any friends and family who may be interested in find out what makes us unique and award-winning.

To celebrate properly we’ve chosen a open on a Saturday,

We’ve got

  • The complete 2014 frame ranges from leading brands William Morris and Silhouette
  • Special offers on the day
  • New pieces of high tech kit to show off
  • Free cupcakes and drinks
  • Prize draw for Seiko watches, cupcakes and more
  • Activities for kids
  • Loads more

There’s plenty for everyone so come along anytime between 10am and 4pm to celebrate with us. We’d love to see you there.

Cameron Optometry at the Commonwealth Games

The success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games was obvious on the sports field but extended behind the scenes too.

Having the privilege to be in the athletes village myself I was overwhelmed by how busy the eye clinic was. The official figures recently published confirmed that over the 30 days of the games, the eye clinic saw and treated 1406 patients from 154 countries. One of the busiest specialities in the polyclinic.

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Safe in the knowledge though that there are only 53 countries in the Commonwealth, and that i might actually get to see some sport this time, i applied to volunteer for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games. After the usual interview process i am delighted to have been chosen and to be able to do my bit to make these games as big a success as London.

Winners – UK Practice of the Year 2013-14

To our delight, and due entirely to your votes, we are pleased to announce that Cameron Optometry is the 2013-14 UK Practice of the Year!

Most of you will be aware that we have been drumming up support for our nomination for a few months as this award is decided by public vote and therefore all the more prestigious to win. We feel we can now justifiably declare what we and you, our loyal patients have known for a long time, that there is no better place in the country to provide your eyecare.

At the awards ceremony in Birmingham, the host, BBC’s Naga Munchetty, described as “an innovative practice which has shown dedication to enhancing the local community’s knowledge of the profession and the importance of eye health, while providing the highest level of patient service.”

Many of you told us with pride how many times you’d voted on all your different devices and every vote counted with a phenomenal 16,000 votes being cast in total across the 12 award categories. We are genuinely moved by the enthusiasm you have all shown, and are as always, honoured by your ongoing loyalty and support – thank you.

2014 is going to be an exciting year for Cameron Optometry and we want you to be part of it. Make sure you don’t miss out by checking the blog regularly.

To kickstart the year of celebration we are hosting a special family event at the practice on Saturday January 18th 2014. More details to follow!

Glaucoma Buddies

As part of their continuing work the international Glaucoma Association (IGA) http://www.glaucoma-association.com/ recently launched a buddy scheme to provide support to people due to undergo laser or surgical glaucoma treatment.

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The scheme works to pair up people who have been through similar procedures who can offer practical information and piece of mind about what to expect from the surgery, and the hospital staff.

Local support groups have also been set up. List of these and dates of local meetings can be found on the website.

If anyone is interested in being a buddy, please contact info@iga.org.uk or call sightline on 01233 648170 

 

Contact lens specialist symposium 2013

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Cameron Optometry were invited to attend the first CLSS specialist contact lens symposium in London last weekend.

World leading experts , and great speakers such as Pat Caroline, Randy Kojima, and Eef van der Worp presented some of their most recent research , and clinical experience in the field of contact lenses. Covering Interesting topics such as myopia control in children and scleral lens fitting, the lectures did a brilliant job of condensing the most recent global research into highly relevant information for contact lens fitting.

My only improvement for next time would be the venue. As you’ll see from the photo we spent the weekend in what was essentially a war time underground bunker!

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Smartphone app for eye tests

My first mobile phone made calls, sent about 200 characters of text and weighed enough that to use the term mobile was a slight exaggeration. My most recent phone looks like it might be able to download an app that can do my job for me!

The app is currently being trialled in parts of Africa devoid of optometrists.Having had the opportunity myself to visit Africa as part of a Vision Aid Overseas team I met many people who were effectively blind due to not having spectacles. The statistics are quite staggering. Of the 285million people worldwide that the World Health Organisation suggests are visually impaired almost 230 million could be cured by spectacles alone.  

 Recently Vision Aid Overseas has realised the enormity of the problem and has focussed more of its work on educating and training local people to provide their own eye care services.

 Perhaps a tool for this in the future could be the PEEK mobile phone app recently reported on by the BBC. The app uses the phone camera to scan the lens of the eye looking for cataract, and by illuminating the retina with the camera flash it can look for disease at the back of the eye. A shrinking letter on the screen is used as a very basic vision test. The patients record and their exact GPS location is stored on the phone allowing the images to be e-mailed to doctors and the patients to be located should follow up be required.

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At the moment the app is being trialled on 5000 people in Kenya. With the image of their eye being taken by both the phone and standard retinal cameras that are being transported in the back of a van. Doctors at Moorfields eye hospital in London are comparing the ocular images to see how good a job the phone can do.

 While we are hoping to start sending out more communication to our patients via e-mails and mobile phones, we will not be using them for your annual eye exams ……. quite yet!

Hidden benefits of contact lenses

With yesterday officially being the hottest day of the year so far, and dare I say it, the good weather predicted to last into August, It is perhaps the first summer in many that we have had to think about the effects of Ultra violet (UV) light on our body.

It is commonplace now to protect our skin with sun creams but what about protection for our eyes?

While our bodies are wonderful at repairing and replacing some damaged cells, the crystalline lens of the eye is an exception that is never replaced. Therefore gradual UV exposure over the years can lead to the early development of cataract, causing reduced vision.  Ocular UV related changes are not limited to cataract but have a role in the development of age related macular degeneration , photo keratitis, pterygium and can cause melanomas of the skin around the eye and eyelids.

Most sun damage is accrued during the early developmental years of life, perhaps only showing itself later in life. Therefore sun protection for children is vital.

So how do we protect our eyes from the harmful UV exposure? A good pair of sunglasses is a great start. These should offer protection to the level of UV 400. This means that 99-100% of harmful UVA and UVB wavelengths are blocked out. The style and fit of the spectacles can also make a difference. The larger the lens, or the more wrap around the style then the more UV light is blocked out.  Be very wary of cheap sunglasses without the UV400 protection. The dark nature of these lenses causes the pupil to get bigger behind the lens, allowing even more harmful light into the eye. Standard spectacle lenses do not offer UV protection.

A great benefit of many modern soft contact lenses and some RGP lenses is that they have a built in level of UV protection. This means the added benefit of year round UV protection as well as coverage of the whole eye.

Good nutrition is another way of protecting the retina from potential UV damage. Lutein is an antioxidant that protects the delicate cells at the macula. It can be found in many of the ocular supplements you find at the chemist or in health food shops and naturally in dark green leafy veg such as Kale, spinach and broccoli.

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