Lesley Oglethorpe qualified as a dispensing optician in 1990. Combining her working dispensing and training staff in practice with life as an ABDO examiner keeps her role both interesting and challenging.
Qualifying as a dispensing optician in 1990, Lesley Oglethorpe has worked at G.T. Harvey & Partners Optometrists in Newcastle for the last 19 years.
Ms Oglethorpe is also an examiner for ABDO, treasurer of the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear local optical committee and a member of the North East Contact Lens Society.
As a proactive member of the practice team, over the last year Ms Oglethorpe has led the development of a successful initiative which has helped to both expand the role of dispensing in practice, while also expanding its bespoke frames service.
Ms Oglethorpe said: “I spent time with eyewear designer Tom Davies and his team, developing my understanding of the handmade frame, the possibilities and the limitations.” Returning to practice, she has embraced her new skills.
Discussing the initiative, the dispensing optician explained: “This venture has been hugely rewarding. It puts all my skills and knowledge into practice to achieve a unique piece of eyewear that is as individual as the patient. This allows me to elevate the dispensing function and showcase my area of expertise.”
Keen to support the team that she works within, Ms Oglethorpe has helped guide one of her colleagues through her dispensing (FBDO) qualification and another through to contact lens (CLO) qualification, as well as overseeing NVQ qualifications for two optical assistants.
“I get pleasure from seeing people better themselves and be rewarded for their hard work,” she explained. “Likewise they have supported me during various courses and projects.”
For Ms Oglethorpe, the best thing about being a dispensing optician is the diversity and variety that the job offers. “No two days are the same, and no two patients are the same,” Ms Oglethorpe admits.
However, one of the most rewarding aspects of her working life is her role as an ABDO examiner. “Not only does it keep me on my toes with all areas of dispensing, it also hones questioning techniques,” she said.
Reflecting on her time in the profession, the dispensing optician concluded: “Dispensing optics has given me some incredible opportunities. I have had the motivation to take advantage of these opportunities and expand my own knowledge and to grow as a person,” she concluded.
Runners up: Krish Hawabhay and Andrew Oliver