We are proud of the diverse expertise within Optegra, and would love to introduce you to some of our experts over coming months.
First off, Oliver Bowen-Thomas, lead optometrist at our Hampshire hospital.
What first attracted you to optometry?
My father was a dispensing optician and contact lens specialist who owned his own optician practice in the town I grew up in. Like a lot of kids, I never wanted to follow in his footsteps!
However at the age of 19, and not knowing what I wanted to do, I agreed to work with him on a temporary basis as an optical assistant. I never looked back!
What brings you joy in your work?
I very much enjoy helping patients towards their quest to change things about themselves or in the case of cataracts, helping them to see better. I also enjoy supporting patients in their recovery. I love discharging happy patients.
What are the most common questions that patients ask you?
Can I have surgery? Unfortunately, the answer is sometimes ‘no’ and we take great care to explain why.
Is eye surgery safe? Yes, very safe, especially when compared with other surgeries. Any risks depend upon the type of surgery and any co-morbidities the patient may have and so we are very thorough with our initial eye examinations.
Any unusual questions asked?
We are always asked when a patient can resume certain activities and sometimes these requests can be quite entertaining and surprising!!
Greatest achievement/proudest moment of your career?
Resuming my studies at the age of 40 to do the Independent Prescribing course at Aston University which I passed in March 2017.
Funniest moment in your career?
Whilst working in Cirencester, an elderly female patient asked if she could go to the loo. I went out of the consulting room to get a female member of staff to assist her. On our return, we found the patient positioned over the bin about to relieve herself!
What has the pandemic/lockdown taught you?
I like to socialise and this has reinforced to me that I enjoy interactions with other people. I also really miss shaking hands with my patients and friends.