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AOP Awards 2018

Optometrist of the Year 2018

Steve Clark has been awarded Optometrist of the Year 2018

As a people person, Steve Clark always knew that an office job was not for him. It was the professional and commercial aspects that the profession offers that appealed to him.

As a domiciliary optometrist, it is the thanks from someone who appreciates the great service we have just delivered, that keeps Mr Clark inspired as a practitioner. “I also find it rewarding when finding treatable pathology for the first time, especially when confirmed by ophthalmology,” he said. 

Striving to best meet the needs of his patients and highlighting the importance of eye care to the wider public, Mr Clark was the instigator of a local Vision Care for Homeless People clinic, which opened in Leeds in 2017. 

The clinic offers free sight tests and spectacles to homeless people in the area. 

Reflecting on the establishment of the project, Mr Clark praises the team work of volunteers that brought it to fruition. “Although initially my idea, it could not have been achieved without a great core team of volunteers who worked tirelessly to set up the clinic and fundraise to make it sustainable,” he explained. 

Now running on a weekly basis, Mr Clark says the reception that the service has received has been fantastic. “Our first patient was -8.00 and only had one remaining spectacle lens but they can now see with both eyes,” he added. 

“I also find it rewarding when finding treatable pathology for the first time, especially when confirmed by ophthalmology”

Steve Clark

Runners up

Finalist: David Fleischmann

As an optometrist and practice owner, providing patients with the best possible care are top of David Fleischmann’s list.

Being able to resolve someone’s vision problems is the most rewarding part of the job for David Fleischmann. As a sole optometrist and owner of a house practice, if that means an early start or late finish, that is ok for this practitioner who recalls a 6.30am call from a patient who was in pain after her eye was scratched by her baby in the night. 

Always keen to enhance his clinical knowledge, Mr Fleischmann is a fan of the College of Optometrists higher qualifications and attends short courses and utilises online educational tools whenever possible. 

Finalist: Dr Martin Smith

Dr Martin Smith decided to embark on a career in eye care at a young age and is even more passionate about the profession today.

After watching The Blind Watchmaker as a child, Dr Martin Smith became fascinated by the eye. This fascination remains and he thrives on working out what is happening when disease is present.

It is this passion that drives the optometrist’s thirst for education. “I develop my clinical knowledge because I enjoy it, and when you enjoy learning about something, it becomes easy,” he said.  

Dr Smith hopes that this enthusiasm rubs off on his patients as he encourages them to make the opticians their first port of call for eye problems and educates them about the eye and how it works.