My practice experience so far, what I've enjoyed and what's been challenging

Working in an independent practice is enlightening and inspiring since it not only allows you to meet and communicate with a wide range of people, but also allows you to gain a personal rapport with them.

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I feel that this is an important aspect of my duty as it allows the patients to place their trust in me. I spend time talking to the patients, not only about their eye care, but also generally about their lives and family, and I feel that this works well to put them at ease. I always ensure that they are made to feel welcome as soon as they walk through the door which is important as optometry is a profession that is tailored to suit the needs and requirements of customers. Without this, the field of optometry wouldn’t be able to thrive.

Through my personal experience I have learnt that optometry is a rewarding career. I have learnt that every member of the team is of high importance. From the optometrist to the receptionist, and everyone in between, each member plays a very important role in the patients' eye care. One time I answered a call from a worried lady complaining about seeing flashes of light. I advised her to come in straight away and after an hour she was on her way to Moorfields as she was diagnosed to be at risk of retinal detachment. Had this been left any longer, it may have been too late in order to save her vision.

Even though optometry can be challenging, it is something that fuels my enthusiasm to succeed. Multi-tasking several different jobs at once is something I am yet to master. Sometimes, several patients walk through the door at once which can be overwhelming but I have learnt to deal with the pressure and take it easy. I have learnt not to rush any jobs and tasks because it won't benefit the patient and also most customers don't mind waiting for a few minutes!

Living to care for the health of the eyes is what optometry is all about and I feel as though I'm extremely lucky to be among those who can help to save lives and promote high quality eye care for years to come.

Zahra Panjvani
City University