Perspectives

“Now is the time for optical professionals to evolve”

We will succeed in the ‘new normal’ if we build the confidence of our patients and embrace technology, explains Sofia Fazal

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Getty/Malte Mueller
There have been many moments in history that have shaped the world we know today. We are all united in disbelief at the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having globally, taking thousands of lives and changing the world forever.

The long-term impact of this virus is difficult to comprehend. Many of us have incurred losses. We have all been affected emotionally, mentally and economically. Many are feeling fearful, challenged and uncertain as each day unfolds.

Re-opening our practices and re-commencing our duties as eye care practitioners is something we look forward to, but there is understandably a sense of nervousness and concern as we plan for practising in the world post lockdown. What will this new era of optics bring for us and our patients?

As always, we must strive to optimise and improve our procedures and processes, to reassure our patients and strengthen our practices. Now, more than ever, we must build our patients’ trust and belief in our safe provision of eye care, and optical products and services

Sofia Fazal, optometrist and professional services manager at Zeiss Vision Care UK and Ireland


Now is the time for optical professionals to evolve and take the opportunity to redefine our way of working – to define a ‘new normal.’

When refocusing on delivering best practice, we shouldn’t look to completely change what we do, but instead to re-define it.

As always, we must strive to optimise and improve our procedures and processes, to reassure our patients and strengthen our practices. Now, more than ever, we must build our patients’ trust and belief in our safe provision of eye care, and optical products and services.

We will succeed in the new normal if we build the confidence of our patients by clearly showcasing the hygiene and social distancing processes, protocols and guidelines established within our practices at every stage of the patient journey. Clear communication about the safety measures we are taking is vital for ensuring both employees and patients feel safe and comfortable to return to practice.

Time to adapt

As we re-engage with our customers, and start to recover, gradually shaping our new normal, we need to embrace what the future holds. During this time, it has become evident that staying connected with our patients is an absolute necessity.

Where we may previously have overlooked making our businesses visible on an online platform, we should now invest in online services and embrace digital marketing. It is clear that the use of online services has and continues to be invaluable during this time, and something the public have wholeheartedly accepted. The need to adapt and become more digital is an essential part of everyday life. Being able to connect online with your patients and suppliers will be key for developing sustainable businesses for the long-term.

Selling of spectacles online has been something many of us have been opposed to, but we should now look at how we can adapt our own businesses to be more online – whether this is through conducting social media advertising, customers choosing frames virtually, provision of contactless dispensing in practice, remote consultations, or the ability to order virtually.

We must build on the forward-thinking digital and technological progress that has been made during this time and take this opportunity to transform our businesses

Sofia Fazal, optometrist and professional services manager at Zeiss Vision Care UK and Ireland


As more people will be working remotely, and with many opting to conduct business virtually, we may see an increase in patients presenting with symptoms of digital eye strain. Being able to guide these patients and suggest suitable solutions to support them will provide us with more dispensing opportunities.

We must build on the forward-thinking digital and technological progress that has been made during this time and take this opportunity to transform our businesses. This is not a time to stand still and wait to return to our previous normal. It is a time to challenge ourselves, to strengthen our service delivery and strive for excellence and growth.