23 April 2021

Angela Carson FCOptom (nee Beirne): 1953-2021

We are deeply saddened to report the death of Angela Carson FCOptom DipTp(IP) DCLP on 22 April 2021.

Angela Carson FCOptom (nee Beirne) was born in South Glasgow in 1953, one of four siblings. The family moved to Kirkintilloch in North Glasgow soon after, where Angela attended school. 

Angela left school in 1970 and attended Glasgow College of Technology to study ophthalmic optics, she graduated in 1974, completed pre-registration year in the Glasgow Eye Infirmary (GEI) and qualified as an ophthalmic optician in 1975.

In her early career she worked with a number of notable ophthalmic surgeons and pioneering optometrists such as George Miller and Elizabeth MacLure.

She worked full time at the Glasgow Eye Infirmary from 1974 until 1980 in a number of developing roles for optometry such as specialist contact lens fitting, low vision assessment and providing support for general and specialist ophthalmology clinics such as co-management of glaucoma.

In 1981 she opted for a part-time role within the GEI and split her time between hospital work and community practice with a post in ‘Trotter’s Opticians’ of Edinburgh. During her time at Trotters she commuted by train between Edinburgh and Glasgow and on 30 July 1984 she survived the Polmont Train crash which killed 13 and injured 17 passengers. She sometimes talked about meeting the other members of the “Survivors Club” during her daily journey.

Angela did leave Glasgow for a period when she took up a Senior Lecturer post Optometry Department of Diagnostic Sciences Hong Kong Polytechnic in 1986. Her specialist subjects included contact lens practice, professional studies and practice management.

On her return to Scotland in late 1988, she went back to community practice with ‘Harry McMenamin’ in Hamilton, followed by a spell in ‘Peter Millicans Associates’ contact lens practice before resuming her role in the hospital eye service, taking up a new post in Stobhill Hospital in 1990.

Angela was promoted to the ‘Head of Optometry’ in 1993 and led a quiet revolution promoting and developing the role of hospital optometry across all Glasgow hospital sites.
She was dedicated to teaching and training colleagues , pre-registration students, medical trainees and overseas ophthalmologists. 

She promoted the role of third sector organisations into the care framework within eye clinics, most notably organisations such as ‘Visibility’ having an integral role in the management of patients with permanent visual loss as part of a multi-disciplinary approach for low vision care in Gartnavel General Hospital.

She was College examiner from 1981 until her retirement in 2015 assessing PQE and DCLP candidates.

Angela had a specialist interest in contact lens practice and developed expert skills in the management of irregular corneae and keratoconus. She acquired the Diploma in Contact lens practice 1977 and qualified as an independent prescribing optometrist in 2012.

The Commonwealth Games came to Glasgow in 2014, typically Angela volunteered to work in the on-site eye clinic providing eyecare services to hundreds of athletes and support staff during the period of the Games.  

Angela served as the lead clinician for this project and won great acclaim from the organisers for her ability to co-ordinate the staff team, organise the equipment & layout and facilitate the smooth running of the clinic. 

Angela was dedicated to her patients adopting a warm-hearted, sincere and genuine interest in their lives and activities. 

Angela retired in 2015, but developed cancer three years ago. After a long, brave battle with the disease, she passed away peacefully on 22 April 2021, with her husband Graham by her side. 

She was loved, cherished and will be greatly missed by her husband Graham, her family, friends and colleagues.

In memory of Angela

A donation page has been set up in memory of Angela, supporting the Beatson Hospital Charity Fundraiser to buy a new MRI Scanner. Any donations will be gratefully accepted.