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Work Experience - Optometry

5 July 2022

Angelu 2

I had been interested in Optometry from around the age of 8 when my Mum suggested I might consider it as a career. This was because my younger sisters were born prematurely, and we had regularly attended hospital eye appointments. I wasn’t that keen to begin with but once I thought more about it over the years, I started to think of it as a possible career option for me.

In S3 my support manager placed me into the face-to-face Specsavers workshop at school. We heard all about optometry and used VR tools to take part in interesting exercises where we looked closely at the different diseases affecting eyesight. We were also given eyedrops to put in our own eyes, this didn’t’ go so well for me and I squirted it all over my face! I was so embarrassed! This workshop really inspired me to consider this as a definite career choice for me.

I later attended a multi school event at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness where we took part in lots of activities and workshops. This is when I really started to think about the skills that I would need to become an optometrist and work with customers every day. You need to be able to talk, listen and communicate well and you need to be able to be very patient with children or elderly customers. You also need to be on-time and good under pressure, due to a packed daily schedule.

During covid there were no face-to-face workshops, but I saw some virtual Specsavers sessions offered by my DYW School Coordinator, Kirsty. Kirsty arranged the session and I really enjoyed taking part. This was a really important time for me as I was in the process of applying to Glasgow Caledonian University to study their BA in Optometry. Before taking part in the virtual session, I contacted Lucy from Specsavers to ask for more details and Lucy put me in touch with Sarah from my local Specsavers so that I could ask about work experience. This virtual session and the encouragement and chat I had with Lucy, Kirsty and Sarah really helped me shape my application for university. Sarah kindly arranged for me to visit the shop to interview the Optometrist so that I could gain some career insight and ask about his personal journey into Optometry. I also asked what the industry would look like in 10 years’ time. Not long after my visit I was delighted to be offered a weekend job with Sarah and her team. I now work there every Sunday. I have also been accepted to study the BA in Optometry at Glasgow Caledonian University this September!

These opportunities and events helped me to solidify my own aspirations of becoming an optometrist. Although I was hesitant at first, I slowly realised throughout my experiences that I have the qualities that the profession requires. Being able to visit the working environment gave me real insight into the daily tasks, rewards, and challenges of an Optometrist. I am so excited to go to Glasgow Caledonian University to study and become an optometrist!