Local MSP, Daniel Johnson, visited Specsavers in Morningside during National Eye Health Week (24-30 September) to learn more about community optometry and sight loss.

The Edinburgh Southern MSP, met with store staff and director Michael O’Kane to hear about the store’s commitment to encouraging people to have regular eye tests, as well as the recent investment in the store and development of the practice team.

Preventable sight loss

Research shows there are already more than 37,000 people with preventable sight loss conditions of AMD, cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy in the City of Edinburgh and with an ageing population this is a number which is expected to climb.

That is why Specsavers in Scotland has invested more than £360,000 through providing Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) – hospital-grade eye testing scanners – and personnel training to commit themselves to improving the vision of residents across the country and to tackle the growing problem which comes with our ageing population. One of these cutting-edge OCT machines was recently introduced in the Morningside store.

The OCT 3D eye scanning technology produces a structural scan of the back of the eye allowing the practitioner to view the actual individual layers of the eye, somewhat like an MRI.

As well as carrying out more than 10,000 eye tests every year, the store also provides a specialist dry eye clinic, Blephex, an orthokeratology clinic, paediatric eye exams, glaucoma screening, binocular vision examinations and Meibomian gland expressions.

A word from the store director

Michael O’Kane, store director of Specsavers Morningside, said: ‘I am so pleased that our local MSP has acknowledged and engaged in the National Eye Health Week message to highlight the importance of public awareness of eye health.

‘Optometrists are trained for a minimum of four years and undergo extensive continuous education and assessments to ensure they are kept up-to-date with how to best look after your eyes.

‘Many of us have further qualified in Independent Prescribing, meaning we can take care of those who present with genuine eye emergencies and prescribe the same medications as your GP.’

Important check-ups

Daniel Johnson said: ‘It is vital that people visit an optometrist regularly, whether they need glasses or not. Just as it’s important to visit your GP or dentist for check-ups, there are a range of eye conditions that only your optician can spot and treat.

‘I hope the message from National Eye Health Week is heard loud and clear, so we can stop unnecessary sight problems and sight loss.’

The Morningside store also won Technology Practice of the Year at the UK Optician Awards, while store director Michael O’Kane won the highly coveted Optometrist of the Year title, beating stiff competition from optical practices across the country.

All Morningside information