It’s been another year like no other, slightly less bumpy than 2020, but not the return to normal we had all hoped for. That said, we have remained open and busy throughout and are incredibly grateful for that. Here’s a recap of the year at the practice in case you missed any of our news.
We welcomed Alexandra Young to the practice at the beginning of the year, bringing with her a wealth of experience, in particular in paediatric eye care, and glaucoma. Caroline and Sophie joined our front of house team and have both fitted in well, getting to know our patients and developing their own optometry knowledge.
Our passion for learning could not be halted by the pandemic, as Rebecca became one of the first individuals to gain the NHS Education for Scotland Glaucoma Award Training (NESGAT). Ian is due to complete the same course in the new year and this month he undertook training in minor surgical procedures, as well as laser for glaucoma, becoming one of the first optometrists in the UK to have completed this course. Alexandra, Claire and Ian also became registered vaccinators to help administer the Covid vaccines across the Lothians.
In the Frame Room, Amy is flying through her Fellowship Dispensing Diploma, a qualification for trainee dispensing opticians looking to advance their optical knowledge with this professional qualification.
Gillian Bruce gave birth to her second child, Eva, a sister for Matthew. We look forward to welcoming her back later in 2022.
TREATMENTS & TECHNOLOGY
In addition to our dry eye Tear Clinic, we launched two new clinics in the summer. Firstly, a Vision Therapy Clinic, led by behavioural optometrist Emma Drewery, one of only two optometrists with this specialism in Scotland. Vision therapy can help reduce the visual issues experienced with specific learning related disorders such as those found in dyslexia and dyspraxia, and develop the visual skills in children and adults with Asperger’s and autism.
Secondly, we welcomed Cirta Tooth to run our Low Vision Clinic which offers a range of specific services to make the adaptation to living with visual impairment as easy as it can be. Cirta brings with her a wealth of experience in this specialist area and sees patients of all ages, with all different conditions, experiencing low vision.
We continued to update our technology at the practice. Early in 2021 we took receipt of the MYAH, a machine which measures the length of the eye, allowing us to better manage children with myopia (short-sightedness). In addition, MYAH allows us to build a comprehensive picture for those with dry eye, using a number of assessment tools, to ensure the most appropriate treatment plan.
We also added the Cerium Curve to our consulting room, the very latest in colorimetry technology. Often when children are reluctant readers, it is that they find reading uncomfortable. Tinted lenses can immediately help make using vision easier and less stressful, often improving visual performance at school and work straight away.
In the Frame Room, we were pleased to add more sustainable ranges to our collection and continue to ensure the independent brands we work with share our values, with a focus on care and quality.
COMMUNITY & CHARITY
Patients and neighbours were pleased to hear the news that we now have a new fully automatic defibrillator in our practice and are all trained to operate it. We hope it is never required, but take reassurance in knowing it is here if we need it.
Our charity work has continued this year and we are delighted to have supported various worthy causes. Through our contact lens recycling programme we were able to make donations to the British Red Cross and British Divers Marine Life Rescue. In addition, we supported a door in the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital’s live advent calendar and a team from the practice cooked for the Bethany welcome centre for the homeless in December. We’ve also twinned our three toilets with toilets in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Nigeria enabling families to build a basic toilet, have access to clean water and learn about hygiene. We also donated funds to Afghanaid, Macmillan, the Teapot Trust, the Outward Bound Trust, Ronald McDonald House, the Edinburgh Soup Hamper, the Salvation Army toy and food appeals, Unicef Advent Calendar and React, supporting refugees in Scotland.
We were thrilled to welcome trainee guide dog, Murray, to the practice earlier this month. You might recall that we were fundraising for Guide Dogs Scotland’s Name a Puppy appeal. Once we hit our target, we were allocated a puppy, which we were able to name. We chose ‘Murray’ in memory of one of our founding partners, Murray McGrath who died at the end of last year. We look forward to continuing to follow Murray on his journey to becoming an assistance dog.
Thanks to all of those who suggested charities we could support in 2022. We have a note of them all and will look to support as many as we can in some way.
So all in all, it has been a year filled with positives, which, during these unprecedented times, we are hugely grateful for. Thank you to all our incredibly supportive patients who have adapted to the changes the pandemic has brought. We wish you all a healthy and happy 2022.