Charity or voluntary work

Working for a charity or voluntary organisation might be all about sight loss or eye care, or they might offer holistic support to individuals and patients who have a range of health needs.

Charity work can be very rewarding on both a personal and professional level. It allows you to use your skills and knowledge to help others, while expanding your experiences. 

Benefits of volunteering or charity work

  • Flexible working – you can choose to do as much or little as you wish and pick the hours that suit you
  • New experiences – from meeting new people to travelling to places you’ve never visited before
  • Personal fulfilment – by mentoring or giving back to others who are less fortunate
  • New connections – meeting likeminded people and networking with other professionals
  • Developing new skills – whether it’s business skills, or how to coach and mentor others, these skills can be applied in other areas of your work.

Andrew Miller MCOptom Higher Cert LV

My role

"My current job role is as the full-time lead on the Low Vision Team for a sight loss charity. I co-ordinate and manage the service which supports people with sight loss to make the best use of their residual vision. 

My week is varied, about four days are spent in clinic and the rest of the time is managing the service, education and training, as well as working with partner organisations."

Jasmin Patel MCOptom

My role

“My role is to raise awareness about brain tumours both within the optical community and among the public; the signs, symptoms and consequences of brain tumours and what we can be doing to help patients. I work in the Healthcare Engagement team of five people, with three nurses and a Programme Officer, for a medium sized company with approximately 100 staff. I am the sole qualified optometrist; however I work in a wider team that works on the optical project.

These might include:

  • Communication skills
  • People management
  • Public health topics, such as smoking or diet
  • Clinical and patient management skills and topics, such as diabetes, cataracts, contact lenses and using OCT equipment and interpreting results.

Training and development opportunities may be offered outside the organisation through clinical conferences and workshops, local optical committees or universities.

Some training might be offered in-house to cover policies and service delivery protocols.

College events help you learn, network and gain CPD points. We have a blended programme of both online and in-person events which include: Optometry Tomorrow - our annual national conference and exhibition; peer reviews; webinars; CPD events tailored to Independent Prescribers; and much more.

Online learning, using College and Docet materials can be an efficient way of keeping your skills up-to-date, as well as earning CPD points. The College offers training for assessor, examiner and supervisor roles.

Relevant higher qualifications, accredited by the College include:

  • Professional certificate and higher certificate in low vision
  • Professional certificate and higher certificate in paediatric eye care.