My first role as an Optometrist was one where I worked for a small independent practice. I was the only Optometrist and my time there gave me a good grounding in optical retail. While I enjoyed my role, after eight years I decided that it was time to try something new.
Why did you decide to make the move to Optical Express?
I was fascinated by refractive surgery! As the leader in the industry in the UK, Optical Express was the obvious choice. I knew that it would be the best place to increase my knowledge.
I began my Optical Express career as an Optometrist in an optical retail store though knew that I’d soon have the opportunity to progress and learn about refractive surgery, which was exciting. Refractive surgery is an area of clinical practice that hadn’t been covered in any detail at university. Optical Express now support a number of universities in this regard.
How did your development progress?
It wasn’t long before I began my refractive surgery training at the Optical Express Centre of Excellence clinic in central Glasgow. It was incredibly interesting and the training was in-depth. As my skills developed, I initially conducted post-operative appointments for patients.
What were the next moves you made?
I became a Specialist Refractive Optometrist (SRO), which I enjoyed because it was more challenging clinically. Instead of telling patients that the only way to see clearly was to wear glasses or contact lenses, I could offer an alternative option that provided a greater degree of visual freedom to patients.
Next, I trained in surgery support for intraocular lens replacement, carrying out the initial elements of the patient pathway by preparing patients for surgery through administering eye drops, reviewing scans and assisting with lens selection. I worked closely with the company’s ophthalmic surgeons which was fantastic for my development.
I then joined the Clinical Services team as Clinical Services Optometrist.
Tell us about your current role.
Three years later, I became Clinical Services Manager. I’m part of the senior management team which is concerned with clinical and operational functions. I’m keen to drive improvements in the profession. I’ve overseen the introduction of innovative ophthalmic treatments and pathway models at Optical Express clinics. These developments have increased accessibility to care.
Day to day, I provide clinical support to our Optometrists and Surgeons – for example giving a second opinion on patient suitability or post-operative management. Most recently I have been involved in the research Optical Express has conducted into the habits of contact lens wearers. Single use plastics, of which contact lenses are an example, are a massive issue today. We need to do more as a profession to educate patients on contact lens risks, their appropriate disposal if worn and the vision correction alternatives. Laser and IOL surgery are safer, more cost effective and more environmentally friendly than contact lenses.
What do you like most about working for Optical Express?
The variety is fantastic! Whether I am seeing patients or providing clinical support to other Optometrists the range of services Optical Express offers to patients is excellent. This range of services allows Optical Express Optometrists to recommend what is best for the patient and it allows the patients to make an informed choice.
Clinical Support is very important today and we have processes and systems that are unrivalled elsewhere. Our Optometrists have a clinical support service that is overseen by experienced Optometrists such as myself and have access to Ophthalmic Surgeons every day. Development opportunities are available, for example via our Independent Prescribing programme that is run in conjunction with Glasgow Caledonian University. Technology is playing a bigger role in our profession today than it ever has. I am proud to work for an organisation that invests in the latest technologies, whether this be corneal topography systems such as the Oculus Pentacam, the best in class biometry devices of Zeiss, or retinal technologies such as Zeiss Cirrus OCTs.
Would you recommend Optical Express to other Optometrists?
Yes without doubt, come and see what the company offers Optometrists first hand. Tell us how you’d like to progress your career and we can show you what we do and the roles on offer – some of which you may not even know exist!
I was in that very position myself 10 years ago, bored doing the same thing, day in, day out. Had I had the opportunity to do so, I would have joined Optical Express much earlier than I did.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01236 795146.