What does your role entail?
My current role is clinical lead for optometry at Warwick Hospital, part of the South Warwickshire Foundation Trust. This is an evolving new role that I have only been doing for five weeks.
It involves core optometry roles such as refraction, contact lenses and low vision, extended roles such as glaucoma and cataract assessment and a managerial aspect of managing a small team of optometrists, as well as our clinical workload. Lots to keep busy!
How long have you been a hospital optometrist for?
I have been a hospital optometrist for eight years and counting. It all started with my pre-reg year between the University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire.
What attracted you to the career?
While I was at university and in the middle of applying for a pre-reg job, I did a placement at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. After the placement I felt that I would get to use more aspects of my optometry degree in a hospital rather than in practice. It just seemed more interesting that the Saturdays I had spent working at my local opticians.
How do you see the job changing in future?
In the future I see hospital optometrists becoming more specialised and being involved with even more extended roles than we already are. Many hospital optometrists are already working in such roles in clinics such as glaucoma, cataract and wet age-related macular degeneration.
As always, budget pressures mean the NHS needs to do more with less, and so hospital optometrists will need to take up the slack from our medical colleagues.
This means that hospital optometrists may need to learn how to carry out intra-vitreal injections, minor lid operations, a variety of laser procedures, as well as be able to clinically assess and autonomously manage patients in ophthalmology clinics. In some trusts this is already happening.
What are the benefits of attending the Hospital Optometrists Annual Conference (HOAC)?
Attending HOAC is beneficial in many ways. There are a variety of interesting and educational lectures and workshops on various clinical aspects of hospital optometry, including therapeutics and prescribing. There is also time to swap ideas and informally benchmark different departments. There are 12 – yes 12 – CET points up for grabs, all interactive, and the event also provides a great networking opportunity.HOAC will be held on 8–9 October in the Holiday Inn at Stratford-Upon-Avon. To find out more, visit the AOP events page
Image credit: Lydia_shiningbrightly