“Never say ‘no’ to progressive, constructive opportunities”
Nick Howard on fitting specialist lenses, advancing technologies, and an unforgettable day in China
06 January 2022
Tell us about your role…
Day-to-day, I fit specialty contact lenses, primarily in secondary care settings for challenging ocular conditions. My current work also includes writing, lectures, workshops and presentations in hospitals and at conferences in the UK and overseas.
What’s been the most memorable moment of your career?
Spending a day in deepest China with the President of the Hong Kong Cornea and Contact Lens Society. A truly momentous, breathtaking, exciting, entertaining, enjoyable and wholly unforgettable day.
The computerised digital imagery from corneal topography (videokeratoscopy) is now the backbone; the fundamental and essential tool in my contact lens clinic
Who inspires you?
Great leaders in adversity: Nelson, Nightingale, Churchill, Mandela.
What is the most important change that you have witnessed in optometry during your career?
The introduction and full acceptance of advanced technology and improved instrumentation, providing a far greater understanding and awareness of both complex, and low grade, sub clinical ocular conditions. For example, the computerised digital imagery from corneal topography (videokeratoscopy) is now the backbone; the fundamental and essential tool in my contact lens clinic, consigning the cumbersome, dated and largely ineffective keratometer to the annuls of 19th century history.
What advice would you give newly-qualified optometrists?
Never say ‘no’ to progressive, constructive opportunities for personal or professional development. If the answer is always ‘yes,’ the world is yours.
Tell OT about one of your hobbies
I paint. I regularly copy and improvise Claude Monet’s work and have a particular affinity with Monet’s Japanese Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lillies.
What are you reading or watching at the moment?
Three men in a boat (Jerome K Jerome).
Tell OT something unexpected about yourself?
I have been asked to leave the casino in Monaco on three separate occasions and have been physically escorted from the premises in Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas.
Nick’s 10-second challenge
- Face-to-face or Teams? Face-to-face
- Tea or coffee? Coffee
- Cats or dogs? Dogs
- Early bird or night owl? Early bird
- Staycation or vacation? Vacation
- Savoury or sweet? Savoury
- Bake off or Masterchef? Neither.