Alison Rosum began her career in optometry 21 years ago. Here, she tells us what life is like running her own business, and how optometry has changed during the past two decades.

How did you get into a career in optics?

I left school at 18 and went on to study Optometry and Vision Science at Cardiff University. I graduated in 1996 and joined Newbury Specsavers the following year as a graduate optometrist – and I’ve never looked back!

When did you become a director?

Having worked my way up the ranks in Newbury, I became a store director in August 2008. I’d always wanted to run my own business, and becoming a co-owner of the Newbury store, where I started my career, was a dream come true.

What does your role involve?

Every day is different, which is why I love my job so much. As well as carrying out eye health tests on a daily basis it’s my job to make sure everything runs smoothly. That means looking after the team and ensuring they strive to offer the best care to customers in store, making sure all business operations work effectively and stay on top of what our competitors are doing.

Have you seen a change in the industry over the past 21 years?

Definitely, the improvements in technology have driven the industry forward. We now use digital precision technology on iPads to help fit customers’ frames. We’ve also just had a state-of-the-art Optical Coherance Tomography (OCT) scanner installed in store.

This is an advanced eye scanning system, which is usually only found in hospital eye departments and can help detect eye conditions such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. The industry has certainly come a long way.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

I’m married and have two teenage sons so I love spending time with my family. We also two ducks, a cat, and a dog called Emmy, who I love going on long walks with. I’m also a keen photographer so I enjoy experimenting with my camera that my husband bought me a couple of years ago. One of my photographs was selected to be included in the BBC Countryfile 2018 calendar in aid of Children in Need, so that was an amazing feeling.

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