Dr Andrew Blaikie

Dr Andrew Blaikie

Senior Lecturer in Ophthalmology

Researcher profile

+44 (0)1334 46 1894


Research areas

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Infection and Global Health Division of the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews and lead for the Digital Diagnostics and Emerging Technologies stream of the Mackenzie Institute for early diagnosis. Through education and research collaborations I am also Honorary Lecturer at the Hasanuddin University, Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia and the University of Rwanda School of Allied Health Sciences. My work as a Primary Eye Care educator has led me me to become a technical advisor for Christian Blind Mission (CBM) Global as well as Tanzaneye NGO based in Western Tanzania. Clinically I work as a part-time Consultant Ophthalmologist in NHS Fife, Scotland with an interest in Paediatrics and Emergency Eye Care.

After studying Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, graudating in 1993, I entered ophthalmology training in NHS Tayside and Fife completing training with a Fellowship in Paediatric Ophthalmology at the Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane with Professor Gole in 2005. During training I took a two-year sabbatical with the University of Edinburgh to develop a support network and notification system for children with visual impairment called ‘VI Scotland’. While a specialist trainee I promoted interdisciplinary working and community based functional vision assessment teams for children with complex needs.

As a Consultant I developed paediatric ophthalmology services in NHS Fife and led the national referral assessment service for children with visual impairment at the Children’s Hospital in Glasgow.

In 2011 I took a further sabbatical period to work as lead paediatric ophthalmologist at CCBRT disability hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Since returning from Tanzania in collaboration with community paediatric colleagues I establsihed a new national Visual Impairment Managed Clinical Network (VINCYP) for Scotland.

While lead ophthalmologist with VINCYP we developed and implemented a tailored visual impairment registration system for children and young people. In April 2018 the Scottish Government adopted the register as the statutory visual impairment system for children.

In 2015 I joined the Infection and Global Health Division at the University of St Andrews and now work in four main areas.

1)   Frugal Diagnostic Tools for Low Resource Settings

2)   Inter-Professional Primary Eye Care Education

3)   Tanzanian Endemic Optic Neuropathy

4)   Childhood Cerebral Visual Impairment

Frugal Diagnostic Tools for Low Resource Settings

Working closely with industry and the major eye care NGOs I am the clinical and research lead of a team that develops and evaluates a range of solar powered low cost diagnostic devices for identification of vision and hearing impairment in low and middle-income countries.

Inter-Professional Primary Eye Care Education

To complement implementation of these devices a range of simulation tools and educational packages have been developed and are being implemented and evaluated in several Sub-Saharan African countries.

Tanzanian Endemic Optic Neuropathy

Along with Dr Freddie Burgess we lead an internationally recognsied team that is investigating the causes of TEON, the most common cause of visual impairment amongst youg people in Tanzania. The team’s hypothesis is that lack of exposure to sunlight and a diet dominated solely by carbohydrate in a genetically predisposed population are the major underlying causes of the disease.

Childhood Cerebral Visual Impairment

Through work with the national registration system in Scotland the causes and associations of childhood visual impairment are being identified revealing strong associations with deprivation and maternal drug use. These findings will inform national policy on prevention and habilitation of childhood disability in Scotland and other developed countries.

PhD supervision

  • Gatera Fiston Kitema

Selected publications


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