You are currently viewing Providing the gift of sight moulds Adele Camarena into three decades of eyecare.

Providing the gift of sight moulds Adele Camarena into three decades of eyecare.

“Inspired by the lyrics of Andy Williams, I’ve embraced the challenge of ‘dreaming the impossible dream’.” -Adele Camarena

Adele grew up in Johannesburg, she moved to Cape Town after completing her studies. This was just over 30 years ago. She was 25 years old when she started working at Spectacle World, on 1 March 1994. In grade 8 Adele struggled with an accounting test due to poor vision from an overhead projector. When her first pair of glasses transformed her world, her career choice was as clear as her vision and her passion for optometry was ignited.

Adele graduated from Witwatersrand Technicon in 1991. Initially she specialised in children’s vision and eye exercises in Pretoria. In 1993 she joined the Spectacle Warehouse Group and later co-founded Spectacle World (Camarena Porter Optometrist). Adele has pursued continuous methods of improvement in the optometry industry. “… delving into eye exercises and introducing digital retinal photography and expanding services to include prescription safety spectacles and sunglasses.”

After achieving her certification in The Art of Eyewear Styling, the practice now offers tailored consultations to enhance facial features and boost confidence. She takes great pride in her commitment to training and exceptional client care. Clients should look and feel good, it contributes immensely to a person’s well-being.

Adele describes her 30-years in the optometry industry as an incredible journey. This optometrist’s mission is to provide diverse frame choices and ensure an “…enjoyable experience with clear vision.” The industry still excites Adele and she wants ‘out with ugly glasses. New technology provides clear vision to all and with new lens design technology it is now also possible to enhance visual performance. Clients should feel fabulous in their eyewear.

“Everyone should feel proud to wear spectacles and make a statement that mirror their own unique styling personality.”

Spectacle World has a vast selection of frames. You can be sure to find a style and colour to suit your personality and looks, whether it is modern, conservative, or arty. Adele is continually searching for exciting frames, locally and abroad. Customer satisfaction motivates her and her goal is: “… for clients to leave the practice feeling good and looking great.”

In today’s economy, owning your own business is challenging. Any business owner will agree that the pandemic and the power outages play a significant, negative role in small businesses nationwide. To help overcome these challenges Adele undertook the eyewear styling course with Eva Davé during lockdown and says this has been a transformative part of the business. “It has played a vital role in the revitalising our business. We are proud to be the sole optometrist in the country to have completed this course.”

Adele takes immense pride in their marketing endeavours over the past two years and she dedicated herself to mastering marketing and social media strategies and believes it has played an instrumental part in the success of the practice.

Her advice for success is to pursue your passion relentlessly, to never stop learning and to embrace a mindset of constant improvement. “… you continuously seek out opportunities for self-development. This has stood me in good stead over the years, both at work and home.”

Adele’s motivation to women seeking optometry as a career, can truly be applied to any business when she advices to stay committed to continuous learning and surround themselves with supportive mentors and colleagues She is adamant when she says that you can achieve success: “… beyond your wildest dreams in this rewarding field.” Her last words of advice are powerful.

Dreams do come true with hard work and dedication. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and never underestimate your abilities. Believe in yourself, even faced with adversity.”

Adele has a dedicated team of women by her side. As the owner of the Spectacle World practice, she provides workplace flexibility because she is avid in herevotion to promote and empower
women. Empowerment plays a vital role for Adele as small business owner and she gets serious when talking about gender-related obstacles in the optometry profession, saying that it hinders women ‘s career advancement, despite their increasing presence in the field.

“Disparities persist in leadership roles, pay equity and professional recognition, often due to stereotypes biases limiting opportunities for women.” When talking about the optometry industry Adele recognizes the lack of support for small business owners.

Her experience has taught her that self-advocacy and resilience serves as motivation to continue shattering barriers and paving the way for other women in the field. Adele would like to assist and
advise young optometrists. Young women should be inspired to be entrepreneurs, to have successful careers and to be financially independent with their own income.

It is clear to see that this business woman is passionate about her trade and is vocal about initiatives related to vision. Adele volunteers her time and resources, advocating for increased access to vision services for underserved communities. She supports organisations that assist people with visual impairments. “I am committed to these causes and it stems from my belief in the transformation power of sight and the profound impact it has on individual’s lives. From ensuring children has access to quality eye care to support the invaluable assistance provided by guide dogs for individuals with visual impairments.”

When talking about diversity and inclusion, Adele’s perspective is rooted in her belief that everyone deserves a place in the sun. South Africa as a nation grappled with numerous challenges related to diversity and inclusion.

“I staunchly support the marginalised and endeavour to foster opportunities and advocate for equality wherever possible. It is essential to me that every individual, regardless of background or circumstance, feels valued, respected, and included in all aspects of society.” –

The most valuable lesson Adele has learnt throughout her journey is the importance of remaining humble and grateful. She also came to the realisation that even one person can make a significant difference in the world. For Adele a sense of humour is a wonderful asset.

Adele wants Spectacle World to be on the forefront of providing a diverse selection of eyewear to cater for every preference, be that a timeless or bold frame, extra large or petite, pink or black. “I want to ensure that there is a wide variety of options to every style and personality.”

People live incomplete lives due to bad sight and uncorrected vision and cataracts (internal lens opacification due to change of clear lens that has been “sandblasted”).

“Both are curable but need funding and society need action plans and focus to assist communities in need with clear vision. A child must have a right to education but with clear vision. People that have very poor sight lose their ability to be successful in life at work /sports field / travel safe, with a result loose some of their independency.

Poor vision is a permanent disability.” Adele’s parents played an enormous role in her life. Her personal life is greatly influenced by her father, mother and daughter. To achieve a balance between
work and life, Adele finds joy in spending time with her family, reading, dining out and attending concerts and theatres. She loves walking. Adele’s friends are close to her heart. She likes to relax and share ideas with them. Her kitchen is also one of her favourite places. “I love making food with a twist of flavour.”

Adele shares some facts on how to takeresponsible care of your eyes:

  • Schedule regular comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. These exams can help detect any eye problems early on, even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms
    – just as you would service your car regularly to detect small problems like oil leaks to prevent major engine problems that is far more costly.
  • Wear appropriate protective eyewear when participating in sports or engaging in activities that could pose a risk to your eyes. This includes wearing safety glasses, goggles, or helmets with
    protective visors to shield your eyes from injury. Cheaper to invest in safety spectacles than major medical assistance. A chemical or flying object in the eye can be very painful or damaging.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle to support good eye health. Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, green vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids It reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration
    (AMD) and other eye conditions.
  • Practice good eye hygiene to prevent eye infections and irritation. Wash your hands regularly, especially before touching your eyes or handling contact lenses. Follow proper contact lens care
    guidelines and yearly cornea check up also required by HPCSA as contact lenses are a medical device.
  • If you spend a lot of time staring at digital screens, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something twenty feet away. This can help reduce eye strain and fatigue associated with prolonged screen time.
  • However, always consult with an eye care professional for personalised advice and recommendations based on your individual eye health needs.