Working in hospital optometry

OT  speaks to Emma Hewson about dividing her time between specialist contact lenses, cornea, retina and cataract clinics

Emma Hewson

Tell us about what you do

I work full time in hospital optometry. I divide my time between specialist contact lenses, cornea, retina and cataract clinics. In most clinics I work closely with a consultant and I still have a lot of learning to do – but the long-term goal is to work autonomously within those clinics.

What is your next career goal?

To become an independent prescriber. I’m part-way through my clinical placement at the moment.

What do you like most and least about your working day?

I like to know that patients have a better quality of life as a consequence of their eye care. I really don’t like to explain to patients that their sight cannot be improved.

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

Tea. I’m fairly convinced that a good cup of tea solves all problems. It certainly gets me through all the busy days.

How do you manage a work/life balance?

When I’m not at work, I make a conscious effort to switch off my work brain. I fill my time with other things: I love climbing, camping and anything else that enables me to spend time outdoors.

What do you do to unwind? 

I run. I’ve never found anything better for de-stressing.

You have won the OT lottery. What are the first three things you would do with the £1m jackpot?

First I’d quit my job and go on a big adventure. I’d like to spend a few months exploring South America. Secondly, I’d make a few charity donations to support the provision of eye care services in the developing world. And finally, I’d settle down after my travels and go back to being an optometrist, using the rest of the money to buy a big house.

Do you have your next holiday booked? Where are you going?

I have a week in the Peak District planned, which will mostly be spent walking or climbing (depending on the British weather).