RISE to raise awareness

Michael O’Kane has hosted an event to help raise awareness of vision and hearing loss services that are available

Michael O’Kane

A Scottish optometrist has worked alongside a trio of charities to inform people with visual and hearing loss about the services that are available to them and the tools that could help them in their day-to-day lives.

Michael O’Kane (pictured), director of Specsavers in Morningside, hosted the RISE up to the challenge event in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh.

The optometrist named the event RISE, which stands for resources, information, support and expertise, because he wanted to bring these elements together. “I want local people to be aware of these services and devices so that should they, or a loved one, need them at some point, they will be equipped with the correct knowledge,” he explained.

The International Glaucoma Association, the Macular Society and the Royal National Institute for Blind People attended the event, while a representative from OrCam and the inventor of Serious Readers Lamps were on-hand to demonstrate the tools.

Mr O’Kane said: “In the past, hand magnifiers, spectacle mounted telescopes and Braille were the only things available to people struggling with sight loss, but now iPads can give you magnification and field of view, and Amazon’s Alexa is able to assist using only your voice. People can also get lighting, heating and electric sockets that turn on or off at the request of voice.”