My Career – Derrick, IOL Clinical Development Director

We talk to IOL Clinical Development Director Derrick about his optometry career path.

Derrick had no inkling as to how varied his career in optometry would be when he first started at Optical Express, almost 20 years ago. During his time with the UK’s only complete eye care provider, he’s had a variety of roles and has been steadily progressing up the career ladder.

Derrick says, “While I was at university, I took a role as an optical advisor with Optical Express. It gave me some practical experience and helped me have a more rounded view of what a career in optometry involved. At that point Optical Express hadn’t yet become a refractive surgery provider, and so I was completely focused on becoming an optometrist in an optical retail store, dealing with sight tests, glasses and contact lenses every day.”

And initially, that’s exactly the shape that Derrick’s career took – following a pre-registration role in an Optical Express flagship store, after qualifying he was a fully-fledged optometrist carrying out eye examinations and contact lens care in some of the company’s optical stores.

When the business moved into the refractive surgery arena a few years later, Derrick immediately wanted to be involved. Additional training led him to become a Senior Refractive Optometrist, opening up the refractive business in Southern Ireland and helping establish Optical Express as the leading provider there. He also played a part in the opening of flagship clinics in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“Optometrists have a much wider range of options at Optical Express than in any other optical business,” Derrick states. “I’ve been able to become a refractive trainer, helping to develop other optometrists, which I enjoy. I also became the Lead IOL Consent Optometrist for Scotland, undertaking optometric-led consenting for IOL-based procedures in Glasgow and Edinburgh.”

Derrick’s latest career move has seen him become IOL Clinical Development Director. What does that involve? “It’s enabled me to look after colleagues working in the IOL division at Optical Express – that’s everyone from ophthalmologists to optometrists and Healthcare Assistants that support the capture of diagnostic scans on the state-of-the-art technologies available. Ultimately it allows me to improve the level of care we provide to patients and provide input into the decisions made regarding new and developing technologies.”

Never one to stand still, Derrick still has much he wants to achieve at Optical Express. “I’m currently undertaking the Independent Prescribing course through Glasgow Caledonian University, which is fully funded by the business. I’m learning a lot, and it’s great to have support from my peers as and when I need it.”

Variety, it seems, is the spice of working life for Derrick. He smiles, “The days fly by, as my role includes everything from day-to-day optometry and ophthalmology – such as conducting refractive consultations and post-operative visits with patients – to being involved in the development of colleagues in a wide variety of roles. I work with any surgeons who are new to Optical Express to develop their understanding of our refractive surgery, with a specific interest in IOL related aspects. On a surgical day, I create a surgical plan for each eye being treated, and assist in making the decisions for each and every surgical case.

“And with technology in our sector being so fast-paced, being part of the team that brings the newest, advanced technology to Optical Express is fantastic – it keeps us at the forefront of the industry.”

In Derrick’s opinion, what makes Optical Express a unique place in which to pursue an optometry career? He is in no doubt. “Nowhere else provides the complete range of eye care solutions that we do here, and so the career development paths available to optometrists are unmatched,” he says. “There are so many progression paths that they can follow.

“Another plus of working here is the access our optometrists have to world-leading ophthalmologists, either directly or indirectly, which allows them to gain greater knowledge of ophthalmology or surgical ophthalmology.

“No two days are the same at Optical Express,” adds Derrick. “My career here has helped me gain an incredible amount of knowledge. I’ve been able to keep progressing, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I’ve had here anywhere else.

“There are so many opportunities for optometrists to develop, no matter which area of the business they prefer to work in.”

We’re always keen to speak to motivated individuals for the wide range of roles we offer at Optical Express. Search our current vacancies at Optical Express, or get in touch with our friendly recruitment team by emailing or call 01236 795146.

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