Hereford optometrist celebrates his 60th birthday with a present to eyecare in Cambodia

For many turning 60 years of age is yet another milestone in life, but for Hereford optometrist and businessman Nick Rumney, it has been about helping ensure eyecare professionals in Cambodia can provide high quality, safe and effective eye care to the population.

Mr Rumney, owner and chairman of St Owen Street-based BBR Optometry, held a birthday garden party in July to mark his 60th birthday and guests to donate money to Khmer Sight Foundation instead of giving him presents. He raised £1,000 as a result.

“I’m fortunate to be able to celebrate my birthday in a country where we can receive good eyecare provision through professional optometrists and health professionals. But for many in other countries, such as those Cambodia, access to such care is insufficient,” he said.

“This means many children and older people suffer from eye conditions that otherwise could be treated easily here.

“I decided to ask guests celebrating my birthday to donate to the Khmer Sight Foundation as it funds training and support to help provide expert clinical training in Cambodia to eliminate avoidable blindness.”

According to the Foundation over 300,000 Cambodians are blind and 20,000 suffer avoidable blindness each year. 

“We know that at least 90 per cent of blindness is avoidable in these cases, 79 per cent is curable, and 11 per cent is preventable,” said Mr Rumney.

Cambodia has one of the lowest numbers of eye specialist doctors per capita in the world, and this is why the Foundation is attempting to ensure more training is provided to eyecare professionals in the country.

The Foundation also says three-quarters of blindness is due to cataracts, and the rest is due to uncorrected vision, glaucoma, corneal scarring and pterygium.

In addition to the donations received in lieu of presents, Mr Rumney’s nephew and niece, Finlay and Fearne, raised £59 in tips which they also donated to the charity. Finlay and Fearne were sent a video from the Khmer Foundation after their donation, view it here.

More information about the Khmer Foundation and ways of donating money to it can be found at or click on the following link to make a donation.

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