1. The importance of the optometrist’s role is recognised

Understanding the professional responsibilities of optometrists

While for most optical businesses profits come from retail sales, the core duty of the business is to provide a high standard of eye care to patients. And, of course, the responsibility for providing eye care rests with the optometrist/s working in the practice.

It is, therefore, important that all staff and managers in the practice understand the professional responsibilities of the optometrist/s. The main role of an optometrist is to provide eye care and screening for underlying diseases, and it is important that this is clear to all members of the store/practice team so that they can support the optometrist/s in providing this service to the public.

Business key performance indicators (KPIs) should recognise this and not focus too heavily on sales and profit.

Best practice

  • All staff are educated on the roles and responsibilities of optometrists
  • All staff recognise the fundamental importance of the optometrist to their business. This could be achieved through a short presentation from the optometrist/s at staff meetings, or some form of work shadowing
  • Cases where crucial early detections of underlying disease were made as a result of a sight test are widely shared throughout the company
  • The role of the optometrist as the guardian of the nation’s eye health is now being actively promoted to the public by the profession, with an emphasis on the importance of regular sight tests for all people
  • Optometrists are represented at senior levels in the company. Ideally, every practice is led by an optometrist, or an optometrist is involved in the decision making
  • There is a lead clinician role that allows optometrists the opportunity to discuss clinical matters and any potential conflicts with someone who fully understands their issues
  • Optometrists are supported to build professional networks and learn from their peers, either face to face or online