News Scotland

Family Firm Invests In New Eyecare Diagnostic

A £40,000 investment in a state-of-the-art Ocular Coherence Topographer (OCT) which can diagnose serious eye problems including glaucoma, diabetes and macular degeneration, sometimes long before they otherwise become apparent, is set to provide a boon in eyecare health for residents of Dumbarton.

Independent family-owned and long-established optician, Wilkie & Rider, which has two outlets, one in Alexandria, the other in Dumbarton, has invested in the leading edge technology to provide the local community with the best eyecare equipment money can buy.

William Wilkie, a director of the firm and son of its founder, said: “The OCT brings the sophisticated facilities of a hospital grade clinic to the doorstep of Dumbarton residents.”

“We will usually see patients on the same day if we are concerned that their symptoms constitute an emergency. In scanning below the surface of what we can see, the OCT offers information that previously involved a range of procedures only possible in hospital.”

“These advanced 3D eye scans are so detailed that we will usually make the diagnosis ourselves or, when in doubt, share it with our ophthalmology colleagues, and then be in a position to treat the patient appropriately.”

“This means those patients who can be treated and need urgent attention are seen quickly and those whose problem will resolve itself do not require to take up valuable appointments time.”

“The other area where the OCT is invaluable is in monitoring change. Minor changes in the structure of the eye are picked up and analysed. These changes will usually occur before there is any loss of function or permanent damage.”

“Accordingly, we can begin treatment, for glaucoma for instance, before there is any obvious loss of sight.  The community benefits are substantial since the availability of expertise and the equipment to fully investigate eye problems is within easy reach.”

This is the second OCT Wilkie & Rider has acquired: its first was installed several years ago at its Alexandria practice and is used daily to check patients’ eye health.

Recent strong growth in the business, however, has enabled it to afford the substantial investment involved in acquiring and installing a further OCT at its College Way practice in Dumbarton town centre.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown began Wilkie & Rider, which has been serving the communities of Dumbarton and Alexandria since 1956, was heading for an annual sales record.

This was in part the result of a £100,000 refurbishment of its Alexandria practice which included a £20,000 investment in a new state-of-the-art Visioffice 2 digital scanning system.

The firm also operates a jewellery business at both practices which offers fashion and fine jewellery as well as gifts and watch repairs.

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