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The call of the clinic

Corneal clinic optometrist, Sophie Harper, foresees a bright future for optometrists in secondary care

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital optometrist, Sophie Harper

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital optometrist, Sophie Harper, is an advocate – and an example – of the increasing clinical responsibilities that optometrists can assume in hospital eye clinics.

Ms Harper has seen the roles of hospital optometrists evolve over the 30 years she has spent in a secondary-care setting. She now works in her hospital’s corneal clinic, managing patients with keratoconus, corneal grafts, corneal ulcers and corneal dystrophies.

In a video interview for OT, she spoke about how the independent prescribing (IP) qualification enabled practitioners to treat conditions as well as identify the signs of pathology.

“With the advent of independent prescribing, we’ve become more useful. That was why I moved across to the corneal clinic,” she highlighted, adding: “I’d encourage everybody, particularly every optometrist working in the hospital, to do their IP qualification. It opens doors.”

Ms Harper outlined her role and her advice for hospital optometrists and contact lens specialists in a presentation at the Hospital Optometrists Annual Conference (7–9 October, Stratford upon Avon).