50 years and counting
Author: Andrew McClean
Dispensing optician and practice director, Ian Silverberg, celebrated 50 years in the industry after starting aged 13 at his father’s independent practice in 1972.
Silverberg worked on Saturdays as a teenager and today, aged 63, he works at the practice alongside his wife and business partner Martine.
His father, Harold, owned five Silverberg Opticians in Liverpool and the independent joined the Hakim Group in 2019.
‘Some of my patients I see now have been coming since they were 12 and now they’re bringing in their kids who are 15 and 16. It makes me feel very old. I think they keep coming back because they feel like a part of the practice. When they come in, we chat to them, have a coffee and a contact lens check-up. We talk about their families, our families; they’re definitely more like friends,’ Silverberg said.
He observed how the use of technology has grown since he started, especially in his specialism of contact lenses, and noted advancements such as orthokeratology, soft lenses and myopia management.
During the pandemic, Silverberg delivered spectacles and contact lenses to patients and donated spare visors to hospitals in the area.
He does not have plans to retire, and said: ‘I’ve always loved it and I still looking forward to coming in every day. I enjoy the fact that I can have a chat to everybody.’
Co-director at the practice, Colin Dorricott, said: ‘He may be in his 60s but his passion is still there. He’s in every morning at seven o’clock, and by midday he’ll tell you that he’s done his 10,000 steps. He’s still passionate about eyewear, loves looking at different styles and he’s like a little kid for it.
‘He has built a lot of relationships over time, he has been to lots of weddings, birthdays and funerals of patients, because he has just become friends with them over time. That is the type of personality and man he is.’