Lisburn optometrist achieves academic first

Dr Colum Rooney.
Dr Colum Rooney.

A Lisburn man has become the first optometrist in Northern Ireland to graduate with a Doctorate in Optometry.

Dr Colum Rooney received his Doctorate from the prestigious Aston University in Birmingham after completing five years of post-graduate study into the early detection of glaucoma - a serious eye condition that can lead to loss of vision if not detected and treated early.

Dr Rooney, along with his dispensing optician wife Nicola, owns and runs two local practices - Rooney Opticians in Hillsborough and The Spectacle Centre in Lisburn.

His Doctorate thesis involved an extensive research project involving 120 patients from across his two practices.

“I could not have completed my research without the enthusiastic involvement of my patients and I would like to thank them personally for their dedication in taking time from their busy lives to attend appointments,” Dr Rooney said.

Born and raised in Lisburn, Colum Rooney attended St Joseph’s Primary School and then Rathmore Grammar before going on to complete his undergraduate course at Aston University where he qualified as an optometrist.

The 46-year-old has continued to further his career and gain additional qualifications, including independent prescribing, allowing him to prescribe drugs for a variety of eye conditions.

“This Doctorate qualification is the icing on the cake to complement my ability to write prescriptions. As an independent practitioner, this enables me to treat patients without referring them to A&E or their GP,” he added.