My Career Development – Salma, Specialist Refractive Optometrist

Working as a Specialist Refractive Optometrist, Salma loves how varied her days at Optical Express are. Being involved in everything from consultations to post-ops, as well as providing support to surgeons on treatment days, she finds that the exposure to a diverse set of diagnoses, treatments and patients provides the ideal opportunity for developing her knowledge and skills.

The variety in her role means that no two days are the same for Salma, with every day bringing something new. As Optical Express offers a full range of eye care solutions, she has been able to move beyond routine sight tests and contact lens appointments, and now conducts refractive consultations and post-surgery check-ups as well: “I do consultations, post-ops, and I also work on surgery days, so I support the surgeon on lens treatment days and LipiFlow diagnostics and treatments,” she explains. “So you’re not only just doing sight tests and contact lenses, you get to explore surgery aspects as well.”

Besides providing her with clinical diversity, being involved in surgery also means that Salma works alongside world-class surgeons and ophthalmologists. Supporting them in various aspects, she has access to invaluable guidance in the specialist areas of refractive surgery and cataract care, playing a fundamental role in her continuous learning and career development: “You’re exposed to so many professional surgeons and learn a lot more at Optical Express as opposed to other companies,” she comments.

Salma’s favourite thing about working as a Specialist Refractive Optometrist is being able to play a part in changing people’s lives. As a complete eye care provider, she is delighted that she can provide the right service and best possible care to every person that enters the clinic. Having received laser eye surgery herself, she understands the significant impact that poor vision can have on a patient’s day-to-day life, and loves seeing how happy they are when coming out of treatment: “That’s my favourite thing,” she says, “to see the patient the day after surgery, to see how happy they are. It’s probably the most rewarding part of my job.”

Alongside it being a highly rewarding role, Salma also enjoys working in an environment that values innovation. As an Optical Express Optometrist, she has access to leading-edge technology and diagnostic equipment, with training and support being readily available to her: “We are exposed to the most advanced technology, whether that’s OCT’s, IOL Master’s, or Pentacam’s to check the corneal curvature,” she comments. “The support in Optical Express is massive,” she continues, “you can pick up the phone and call Clinical Services and someone is always at the end of the phone. If you need advice from a surgeon, you can easily email and a surgeon will come around and help you.”

As Optical Express is committed to supporting Optometrists in gaining an Independent Prescribing (IP) qualification, Salma started her IP course in Glasgow a year ago, and is happy with the support she has been receiving: “Optical Express have been helping us massively with coursework, all the exams, and helping with distance learning,” she says, “giving us time to prepare for the exams, but also helping us prep for placements before exams.”

“As an Optometrist, you have to do continual learning,” she continues, “so Optical Express organise a peer review with either surgeons or senior Optometrists and we discuss cases together to continually learn.” These surgeon-led peer review discussions are one of the ways in which Optical Express supports its Optometrists throughout their career, alongside an OE Academy e-learning platform, ensuring regular contact with an Optometry Development Manager, as well as providing access to a second opinion service led by our Clinical Services Optometrists.

Salma’s advice to prospective Optometrists at Optical Express is to take the jump and embrace the variety that comes with the role: “It’s completely different to just doing sight tests and contact lenses, but you’ve got all the support,” she says. “There’s a lot to learn but you can develop massively with the surgeons and the clinical support services.”

“You develop as an Optometrist with how much you’re exposed to,” she continues. “We do provide everything, it’s not just glasses or contact lenses, we’ve got dry eye treatments, laser surgery, and lens treatment too. So, my advice is, if you want a different day and you want to learn lots, join Optical Express.”

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