My First Three Months Back In Optometric Practice

back in optometric practice after a career break

I’ve been back in optometric practice for three months now and, in the main, it feels like I was never away. I’ve found my feet and testing eyes feels like second nature once more. However, there is so much more to being an optometrist than just refraction, that is finding what spectacle prescription a patient needs. We screen for glaucoma and other eye diseases. We must act appropriately and in a timely manner and know whether our clinical findings are indicative of a sight or even life-threatening condition. This determines the nest steps. Do we refer our findings to a General Practitioner or to the emergency eye department? And how urgently? There are protocols, regulations and guidelines to follow. These differ depending on which area (health authority) you practice in. And in common with many scientific and medical fields, we need to keep up to date with the latest research.

When I first went back into optometric practice, I was rusty to say the least. My sight test routine didn’t flow and I felt “clunky.” The non-contact tonometer (NCT, the puff of air machine we use to measure the pressure in the eye), is a model I hadn’t used before. At first, I couldn’t get to grips with it, despite numerous attempts on the practice owner and my willing parents. I felt frustrated and rather stupid.  However, a quick look at a You Tube video that evening explained how to use it, and the next day, I got readings first time.

back in optometric practice after a career break

Getting to grips with the NCT

back in optometric practice after a career break

My dad

We are incredibly fortunate to have an OCT in the practice I work in. This is an optical coherence tomographer which scans the retina. It’s very much like an ultrasound scan but it uses light instead of sound. Interpreting the scans takes some doing. I’ve spent hours watching videos and reading up about it and went on a dedicated course. I’m much more confident, but there’s still so much I’d like to learn.

back in optometric practice after a career break

Topcon OCT

back in optometric practice after a career break

The owner of the practice is absolutely brilliant and for the first six weeks, I had one hour for each appointment. Now, I see a patient every half hour. This seems like a luxury compared to the practices I worked in before my career break, but it is completely necessary. I show and talk through the patient’s OCT scan, take an in depth history, perform the sight test, measure the intra-ocular pressure and do a visual field test.

back in optometric practice after a career break

Yellow, blue and black flippers and fixation (budgie) stick are gifts from Louis Stone Optical

I’ve always enjoyed learning and expanding my knowledge, so the mandatory Continuing Education and Training, (CET), is never a chore. I’m doing as much as I possibly can, alongside everything else. Courses, articles, books and papers, whatever form it takes, I love. I want to be the best practitioner I can.

back in optometric practice after a career break

On a personal note, I feel more fulfilled in my overall career than ever before. It is, hands down, the best practice I’ve ever worked in. Every member of staff is not just excellent at their job, but lovely to work alongside. We have top quality equipment and three frame rooms, full of high-end stylish eyewear. Going back into optometric practice was, without question or caveat, the right decision. It felt like a long road back at times, (read about it here), but it’s one I’m very glad I took.

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This is not a sponsored post which means I have not received any payment. The blue, black and yellow confirmation flippers along with the fixation (budgie) stick are gifts from Louis Stone optical, as captioned in the photograph. All opinions are 100% honest and all content is my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support my blog.

7 Comments

  1. February 6, 2019 / 10:11 am

    So pleased to hear you are settling back into work and now feeling more confident with the new equipment. I am just off to the pharmacist as struggling with very itchy eyes after having a lash tint and curl – I hasten to add that I was given a 24hr patch test and showed no reactions. However a few hours later and although not red my eyes became very itchy and after bathing regularly they have still not improved so hope to get sorted soon. Have a lovely day. Love – Jill x

    • elizabeth
      Author
      February 6, 2019 / 11:49 am

      Hi Jill. Itchy eyes are awful aren’t they. It sounds like an allergic (or sensitivity reaction). I’d advise Optichrom eyedrops for the reaction and also a lubricating drops for comfort too. Keep bathing them in warm water too. I hope they settle down soon xxx

      • February 6, 2019 / 12:07 pm

        Thank you. I will pop out for those on my way to the gym. It has been 6 days now and there is a slight improvement from bathing. At their worse when central heating is on x

        • elizabeth
          Author
          February 6, 2019 / 12:14 pm

          Oh it sounds like a dry eye problem in that case that has been exacerbated by the tint. Mine have been terribly dry of late. The best thing to do is to use a hot compress on the eyes for 10 minutes. After that massage the eyelids, especially at the margins. Then put a lubricating drop in. repeat as often as you need to. It might take a few days, but that will really help with the dryness. Plenty of blinking too. Good luck xxx

          • February 6, 2019 / 12:20 pm

            Thank you for all your help. Will now put it all in practice x

  2. Diba Choudhury
    March 10, 2019 / 10:15 am

    Hi Liz, love your articles, love how you are making Optometry stylish! I, too am an Optometrist, and always look forward to your columns in OT every month. I am so happy your enjoying Optometry again, as it’s an incredible profession to be part off. I hope one day, I can collaborate on an article with you.
    Warm wishes
    Diba Choudhury

    • elizabeth
      Author
      March 10, 2019 / 9:02 pm

      Hi Diba, oh thank you so much and it’s lovely to “meet” you. I’m absolutely loving being back in practice- I’d missed it! And yes, it would be lovely to collaborate sometime in future. Have a lovely week, Lizzy x

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