Jodie trained to be a contact lens optician by combining on-the-job experience with academic study. Find out more about her work and how she has further developed her career
What degree did you study?
I graduated with an Association of British of Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) Level 6 (degree equivalent) Fellowship Dispensing Diploma (FBDO). I also have the ABDO Level 7 Advance Diploma in Contact Lens Practice.
What's a typical working day like?
My typical day involves seeing a variety of contact lens fits, routine aftercares and emergency eyecare appointments, meeting patients’ expectations and making sure they leave happy.
Certain days can be nice and straightforward with a full clinic of routine aftercares. However, on other days I can be busy with new fits and emergency eyecare appointments that can range from a contact lens being stuck in the eye to an emergency referral to the local hospital.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have a huge interest in myopia management and I love to fit myopia control contact lenses. This is my favourite part of the job, especially when fitting EyeDream, as the patient wakes up and thinks it's a miracle that they can see. I get great pleasure out of seeing the whole process through.
What are the challenges?
You can come across patients that have very high expectations of the vision level that they will get with contact lenses, but you can't always achieve this, although we do our very best.
You can come across eye conditions that you may not have seen before but it makes it all the more interesting, finding out what is going on. We are very lucky at Noakes, Habermehl & Kerr that we have a great team and there is always someone on hand to assist if required.
In what way is your degree relevant?
My whole degree is relevant to my current job. It taught me all the anatomy I needed to use in practice, all the ocular eye conditions that we may come across, how to use my clinical skills in a safe manner, and how to fit, maintain and care for all our contact lens patients.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
I started as a receptionist and gradually worked my way up to become a contact lens practitioner. I am currently in the middle of my Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS) accreditation to become a MECS-accredited contact lens practitioner. This service provides assessment and treatment for people with recently occurring minor eye problems. It is an NHS service provided by accredited optometrists and contact lens practitioners.
What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?
- Make sure, before starting your research into the career, that you're interested in doing something in the healthcare profession.
- Try and get some experience in an optics environment before doing the degree to make sure it's what you want to do, as once you've qualified your career options aren't as broad as they can be with some other less vocational degree subjects.
- If you want to qualify at Masters level, it can be easier to do it straight after your first degree as you will be able to advance your undergraduate knowledge and skills to postgraduate level while it is all still fresh in your head.