View from the high street: Fully integrated optical services

Judy Lea expresses a Christmas wish for a seamless connection between ophthalmology and optometry

It seems that we blinked, another year went by, and Christmas is on our doorstep. For me the Christmas lights that start to brighten our towns and villages give a welcome lift to the miserable, dreary, dark nights and winter weather. In our practice, the Christmas playlist is playing and by Christmas Eve, we are all humming along to the tunes without even thinking about it.

Christmas is a strange season in optics. While other shops are gearing up for an influx of shoppers and the queues into towns are increasing, we have historically had a quiet period. I can still remember when I was working in busy town centres as a newly qualified optometrist in the late 1980s, sneaking off to catch up on my Christmas shopping during the quiet diary times and being amazed at how busy all the other stores were. However, over recent years, there seems to have been a shift and the Christmas lull comes later and later in December. We try and use it as a time for colleagues to catch up on training and development needs. One year we did a job role swap to make colleagues appreciate each other’s roles. There was a limit as to who could take on the optometrists’ responsibilities, but all other job roles could be interchanged and I like to think that colleagues learned a lot about each other from the experience. Putting an optometrist in charge of the admin and phone calls for the day was amusing to say the least, until we tried to decipher their handwriting.

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