Local 23-year-old Matt Tranter recently completed his pre-registration year to qualify as an optometrist at Specsavers in Bishops Stortford. Here, he tells us more about his career.
What first attracted you to a career in optometry?
I had a Saturday job at Specsavers in Bishops Stortford as a pre-tester while I was studying my A-Levels at Birchwood High School. After that I decided optometry was the field I was interested in.
Where did you study?
I studied at the University of Plymouth for three years reading optometry. I then spent just over a year at Specsavers in Bishops Stortford to complete my pre-registration year, which is a year in practice to gain experience and demonstrate competency as an optometrist. I passed my exams and was entered onto the GOC (General Optical Council) register have been testing ever since.
Why did you decide to apply for a job at Specsavers?
I spoke to an optometrist at a careers event at school and mentioned in passing to my parents that it seemed like an interesting job. Six months later my parents went for routine sight tests and I was offered an interview the same day. The rest, as they say, is history!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy meeting interesting people and being able to offer solutions to problems that have potentially been bothering people for years. I tested a gentleman who had a walk-in appointment and during the exam I asked if he had noticed any flashing lights or floaters in his vision.
These symptoms can be a sign of a retinal detachment. I put some drops in his eye to improve my view of the retina and saw there was a tear to one side. There was a lot of movement of the retina, which can cause a lot of problems. I immediately referred the gentleman to the Hospital Eye Service and he has since made a full recovery.
What are your career plans for the future?
Optometry is a particularly interesting field at the moment, as the responsibility for eye health is moving more towards optometrists, who are now equipped to be the first port-of-call for minor eye conditions, as well as finding out what someone’s prescription is.
We are a long way from the past days of "just selling glasses" and I would love to be involved in continuing this change - maybe even by owning my own store.
What do you do in your spare time?
I'm a big Manchester United fan, so I love to watch them play at Old Trafford. I'm also a keen musician and play drums, guitar and piano and enjoy the recording and sound production side of music as well as performing.