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AOP Awards 2015

Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year

Colin Tonner has been awarded with Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year

Optometrist Colin Tonner has owned Preston-based Leyland Opticians for 12 years. For Mr Tonner, it is the positive reaction from patients which drives his passion for contact lenses 

It is the positive reaction that people have when they are freed from their glasses which drives optometrist Colin Tonner’s passion for contact lenses. “For different people, being fitted with contact lenses means different things,” he said. “Some people describe it as life-changing.” 

Mr Tonner explained: “It is always such a big thrill when you see a patient who has been told that they cannot have something, that they are not suitable, or their prescription is too complicated for contact lenses, and actually nobody has even put a contact lens in their eye. Then when you do, they think ‘wow.’” 

Sharing details of his contact lens consultation routine, Mr Tonner revealed: “I am patient in my approach to fitting contact lenses and I encourage people to come back two or three times until they are comfortable with the process; I would not want them to feel hurried.” 

“When a patient is finding the learning process difficult, I always try to turn a negative into a positive – for example, if they are having difficulty fitting contact lenses,” he added.  

Explaining how contact lenses are promoted in practice, he said that Leyland Opticians combines a number of awareness raising activities. “We have posters up in practice which highlight different sporting activities where contact lenses can be appropriate, and we have information leaflets available too.”

In addition, staff are encouraged to wear contact lenses for at least half of their working week so that patients will see them in contact lenses and spectacles. “Patients do notice when staff are not wearing their glasses, and usually it leads to discussion around contact lenses and what they are like,” Mr Tonner said, adding: “We have found that this really encourages dialogue between staff and patients.” 

Discussing how he keeps up-to-date with contact lens developments, Mr Tonner admits: “It is all about trying to keep abreast, learning continuously and taking things on board as they are released. 

“While I am now an optometrist, I was previously a contact lens fitting dispensing optician, and, having spent many years in the profession, I can see how things are developing, changing and coming back around.” 

Runner up: Indie Grewal