RUTH Perrott has been helping people to see better for more than 40 years.

As well as being managing optometrist at VisionCare Optometry in Acomb, she is also one of only 50 accredited behavioural optometrists in the UK, specialising in working with people who have dyslexia, colour blindness and have had serious accidents or strokes to help rehabilitate their vision.

VisionCare Optometry, based in Acomb and Castleford, is run by Mrs Perrott, her husband Colin and daughter-in-law Paula, providing regular NHS and specialist eye examinations, vision consultancy and offering a comprehensive range of eyewear.

Previously she helped run the Optometry Department at York Hospital for four years and also worked as a locum in the area.

Mrs Perrott has also been travelling to Africa over the past 25 years to help give the gift of sight to people unable to receive proper eye care. She spends two weeks in remote parts of countries including the Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Senegal, Tanzania and Sierra Leone.

She has helped thousands of adults and children to see by collecting unwanted glasses, which are sorted, washed and measured by Rotary York Ainsty, then taking them to Africa to provide eye care in makeshift clinics. Mrs Perrott lives in Copmanthorpe and has two daughters and three grandchildren. She and her husband attend Copmanthorpe Methodist Church, where she helps run the Alpha Course.

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

I have always wanted to do optometry from being a teenager. I love what I do and the one-to-one with my patients. I like a challenge and thrive on facing it full on, which this job provides, as there is so much more involved than simply enhancing peoples’ vision.

Greatest achievement?

My work in Africa feels like a great achievement to me. I first went out there in 1991 to help set up a clinic and prior to that I’d only ever been away camping with the Girl Guides, so it was very daunting. In recent years I’ve developed an interest in autism, ADD, ADHD, strokes and brain injuries which can cause field defects and limitations in eye movements. I’m proud that we’ve been running the family business successfully now for 25 years, which is an accomplishment for an independent in today’s world of chains and multi-nationals.

What makes you angry

People who throw litter out of car windows get me angry. But I’m quite a passive person, so not a lot makes me cross. More things make me sad rather than angry, like the situation with the immigrants because I feel for the people.

Biggest mistake?

I once decided to liven up some cauliflower cheese with pink food colouring, however, no one shared my intrigue and it was left by all. Maybe they all had flashbacks to when I “accidentally” added balsamic vinegar to a cake I was baking rather than coffee and thought I had had a similar mishap.

What do you need to make life complete?

Apart from my family and many friends, I have a Christian faith which is the foundation of everything I do. I’m not doing it for me. I feel content and complete.

Why do you make a difference?

It’s not just a job to me, I like to talk and I’m fascinated with people. When people come to me I like to think I can listen carefully and pick up on the little things people say to pinpoint what their exact eyecare requirements might be to try and help them in their everyday life. This can make a huge difference to quality of life.