Optometrist of the Year

Prabhjit Boparai has been awarded Optometrist of the Year 2017

Winner: Prabhjit Boparai

Optometrist Prabhjit Boparai has been fascinated with eyes since childhood and believes that patient communication is central to a successful practice.

After working part time as a dispensing optician during her A-levels, Prabhjit Boparai decided to pursue ophthalmic dispensing as a career. Later, having started a family and citing a ‘hunger for knowledge,’ she returned to academia as a mature student to study optometry.

Ms Boparai, who works in her own independent practice in Wolverhampton, says that the most rewarding part of being an optometrist is patient satisfaction, explaining: “One of the things that makes my day is when I see a short-sighted patient’s face light up when they can see clearly for the first time.”

As a business owner and optometrist, Ms Boparai is a strong advocate of the importance of communication, both with patients and the practice team, as she explains: “I believe communication with your patients is so important. You can be the best clinician in town, but if you can’t explain what is happening to your patients, your knowledge goes to waste.”

She advises: “Always make sure to explain all your tests to patients in a manner they understand, answer questions at the end of the eye examination and offer them continuing support, not just on the day.”

She also encourages her staff to share their ideas and thoughts. “Regular meetings are important,” she says. “Every Friday I take my staff to lunch— the idea is that we can talk freely in an informal manner without any pressure. I also take them along to new training events, and make sure they are involved in what is happening in the practice.”

Ms Boparai has raised the profile of eye health more widely, recently shaving her eyebrows off to increase awareness of the importance of regular sight tests while making over £1200 for Guide Dogs. She also visits local schools as an ambassador for optics.

Looking to the future, Ms Boparai says: “Winning has encouraged me to carry on raising awareness of the importance of eye health checks and to work to improve the standards of our optical profession.”

Runners up

Finalist: Lisa Donaldson

As part of the SeeAbility team, optometrist Lisa Donaldson leads the Children in Focus project that promotes specialist sight tests in special schools

Ms Donaldson works in both clinical practice and to influence how treatment is evolving nationally. She is passionate about improving services and provisions, saying: “Trying to improve eye care for children with special needs is a very exciting thing.”

Finalist: Nicholas Rumney

Optometrist Nicholas Rumney is Chairman of BBR Optometry and a third-generation optometrist.

As an optometrist and businessman, Mr Rumney is always looking to make improvements for his staff and patients. He is a strong believer in investing in the whole practice team, advocating a lifelong commitment to staff development, explaining: “You can never offer too much education.”