Optometrist and AOP Awards Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Donald Cameron, has retired from his role as associate director for NHS Education Scotland (NES), concluding his 40-year career in optics.
His work with the organisation and other committees helped reduce pressure on hospital eye departments by enabling nearly a third of the profession in Scotland to independently prescribe, he told OT.
With an interest in optometry from a young age, Mr Cameron worked in his father’s opticians at weekends. Naturally becoming his career choice, he went on to attain his optometry degree at Glasgow Caledonian University, where he graduated in 1977.
After completing his pre-reg at Murry McGrath in Edinburgh, he stayed on at the practice to become a partner in 1981. In 2004, upon his partner’s retirement, he took over as managing director and the practice was renamed Cameron Optometry.
Mr Cameron had much political involvement in optics and held several positions, including AOP Chair and chair of the GOC Investigation Committee.
Mr Cameron also co-founded Optometry Scotland, an organisation that aims to represent the views of the sector, which successfully lobbied the government on several key issues and resulted in a world-leading general ophthalmic services contract for Scotland in 2006.
Mr Cameron considers Optometry Scotland his key achievement. He told OT: “Optometry Scotland gave the profession a new voice. It enabled optometrists to move forward by ensuring that the profession had a single point of contact.”
In 2014, his abundant involvement in optics was given recognition when he received the AOP Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.
He told OT: “Winning the award was a huge privilege. Anything I’ve ever done has been part of a team – I couldn’t have done it without their help, but to have been selected out is a real honour.”
He continued: “Previous Lifetime Achievement Award winners have been leading figures and serious academics. To be given this award toward the end of my career was a really nice conclusion.”
Mr Cameron intends to remain loosely involved in the sector during his retirement and holds his hopes high for its future. “We need to be at the stage where optometrists are trusted to give pure advice – by and large there will be more practices that are doing huge amounts of eye health management,” he concluded.