Pre-reg focus

“This is truly a reflective period for me”

Pre-reg optometrist at Vision Express Chiswick, Rochelle Anderson, discusses the pathology she has seen in the first months of her placement


I can’t believe that 2022 is nearly over and next year is approaching. This is truly a reflective period for me, just to think that I began my pre-registration journey at Vision Express almost four months ago. It’s been a fascinating experience.

Trying to balance work and study effectively has been quite difficult due to the nature of the role of a pre-reg: gaining and refining skills and elements of competence, assessments, and pre-registration status. On some occasions I have my own clinic, which I thoroughly enjoy and learn so much from. This is the reason I came into this profession: the love for caring, supporting and diagnosing eye conditions. During these clinics I can organise and prepare for any elements of competence required, sort out patients’ notes, read up on past histories for those patients, and generally organise my day.

On reflection, I believe having an organised day of patient clinics allows me to predict how the day may be, and therefore I tend to have more energy after work to study and prepare my elements of competence.

Most days my experience has been a mixture of being on the shop floor supporting the rest of the team, and testing when I’m needed. Being called to do both areas really challenges me to think on my feet, and has given me experience and many skills in adapting in any situation.

Interesting patient encounters

An interesting patient I came across was an older gentleman from Australia. He had little to no prescription in his right eye, but in his left eye he could only see hand movements and light perception. The patient had experienced a retinal detachment in his left eye, which sadly could not be reattached in time to save his sight. History and symptoms took a while, because I wanted to make sure all the relevant information regarding his previous eye surgeries had been noted. It was my first time seeing a pigment on a silicone lens and scarring to that magnitude on the fundus. The left eye also showed signs of pupillary defect.

It was really enriching to hear from the patient on her experience growing up with this condition


He was a very sincere patient, and it was unfortunate when hearing how he blamed himself for not being able to save his sight in his left eye. He had had symptoms of flashing light but chose not to seek medical attention during that time.

Another patient who caught my attention was a young woman who had attended the practice with her family since she was a teenager. She has jerk nystagmus with laevo-depression in both eyes and numerous other binocular vision anomalies, which was extraordinary and fascinating to see. I read notes made by other optometrists previously, but it was really enriching to hear from the patient on her experience growing up with this condition. She decided to fog one of her glasses, and is currently under the care of neuro-ophthalmologists who are helping with her condition.

I continue to be eager to learn and refine my technique, and am excited to continue to progress in my career. So far my pre-reg placement has given me a window of opportunity to explore how different areas of optometry effect change in patient’s eye care. I am excited to continue my development and journey with Vision Express, and I look forward to the New Year.