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AOP Awards 2015

Optometrist of the Year 2015

Dr Martin Smith wins Optometrist of the Year award

For Dr Martin Smith, being an optometrist is a diverse and very rewarding experience. He enjoys the challenge of diagnosis and prescribing for eye conditions

Dr Martin Smith entered the profession as a receptionist in 1998, before qualifying as an optometrist in 2003. He completed his PhD at Aston University in 2014 and is registered as an independent prescriber.
 
As the owner of Martin Smith Opticians in Lincoln, the growth of the practice has been rapid since taking over 10 years ago, with increased dispensing turnover and clinical income contributing to this.

The practice recorded a 10% increase in turnover last year, with Dr Smith citing its offering of services beyond sight testing, such as his work as a practitioner with special interest (PWSI) and the prescribing service, as contributing factors.
 
He explained: “Our reputation, through the additional services we offer, has brought many new patients to the practice through word of mouth from satisfied patients. Many patients have cited the additional qualifications I have earned as a reason for them becoming a patient, as well as our commitment to sourcing innovative frames and using the best lenses.”

Eager to further his professional development, Dr Smith admits that he has spent a great deal of time in further education since qualifying. However, he also believes in the importance of raising awareness of eye health among the public, as he explained: “Public awareness of the broad scope of optometry and the new services we can offer is encouraged through the PWSI scheme, whereby patients are treated in the community by optometrists rather than ophthalmologists.”

Speaking about what he considers the best part of being an optometrist, Dr Smith said: “It is an interesting and diverse profession, and with the further clinical services in particular, a very rewarding one professionally.” 

He added: “I enjoy the challenge of diagnosis and prescribing for eye conditions, the fashion aspect of frame choice and finding exciting new frame brands, and the technical aspects of lens choice and the wonderful equipment we now have to play with, like optical coherence tomography (OCT). I also love the control I have over my working environment, particularly as an independent optometrist.”

Runners up: Dr Adrian Jones and Andrew Matheson