Claire, Optometrist, Meadowhall

Optical Express funds the Independent Prescribing (IP) course in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University as part of its investment in ongoing development for its optometrists. Here, Claire from our Meadowhall clinic tells us about her experience of IP so far and how she feels it’ll help her optometry career.

“I graduated from the University of Bradford in 2004 with a first before qualifying in 2005 after completing my pre-reg at St. James’s Hospital in Leeds. My first role was as a mobile optometrist at Optical Express, which I did for almost 3 years before going to a well-known high street optical retailer for 6 years.

“During my time there I had 2 children, and to balance working and parenthood I went part-time. However, I started to find the job a bit tedious and repetitive. Luckily, I’d kept in touch with the person who was Optometry Development Manager at Optical Express and thanks to my relationship with them I decided to return to Optical Express in May 2014.

“I have progressed to become a Senior Refractive Optometrist, and that’s the role I have had ever since. Although it can be demanding at times, I find this role much more interesting and have zero regrets about returning to the refractive side! I work part-time in Meadowhall in Sheffield. It’s a busy clinic, but we have a really strong team and I genuinely love my job.

“I had been thinking about doing the IP course for a while as I knew some of my colleagues were in the midst of it. If I’m honest, I felt like I was missing out if I didn’t do the course! My children are now a little bit older, and after my youngest started school full-time in September I felt I was ready to study again. Apart from my day to day role, it’s been 14 years since I really used my brain properly!

“I’ve just started the course and my expectations are that it will be difficult but rewarding. I’m looking forward to learning new things – I just hope that I can still study like I used to be able to!

“I’ve only had one day actually at university so far and I really enjoyed it, especially the workshops as I was a bit nervous about them. We did lacrimal syringing which is something you simply don’t do in normal everyday practice. It was really good to actually get that hands-on experience.

“There’s coursework to be handed in soon, which is basically a case record. I also have my first exam to revise for, which is in June. I’ve been quite disciplined so far, although I’m usually quite last minute with my coursework. The current sunshine isn’t helping!

“I believe that becoming IP qualified will help me in my job immensely. It’ll give me the in-depth knowledge to understand conditions I see regularly, and it’ll allow me to treat these patients confidently without always having to rely on surgeons or other IP-qualified colleagues. Knowledge is key in treating and managing our patients appropriately.”

If you are interested in joining the Optical Express family and gaining access to our industry leading training, then contact our Recruitment team who’ll be happy to let you know what opportunities we have across the UK and what other development opportunities we can offer you. You can contact us at or 01236 795146.

Optometry Careers

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