Specsavers Clacton-on-Sea team members Mina Nazari and Keryn Harrison are coming to the end of the pre-registration period and getting ready for their exams to become fully qualified optometrists.

Canadian-born Mina moved to the UK seven years ago with her husband. She studied a BSc in Optometry at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge for three years before starting at Specsavers in Clacton-on-Sea in May 2016.

The 27-year-old, who now lives locally in St. Osyth, said: ‘I always wanted to do something in the medical field, so it was about narrowing down my options to find what I was really interested in – optometry was a great fit.’

A career in optics

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Keryn has worked at Specsavers in Clacton-on-Sea since she was 16. She first decided she wanted a career in optics at a young age and began working on a Saturday at the local opticians in January 2013.

After passing her A-Levels, the Clacton local also attended Anglia Ruskin University to study optometry. She said: ‘I have wanted to work as an optometrist since I was 14 years old, so what better way to gain experience than working at my local Specsavers. When I was at university in Cambridge I would come back every weekend and during every holiday to work in the store and learn as much as I could.’

The pre-registered optometrists have been supervised and taken examinations since they began working full-time and will complete their course with Observed Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) taken this year – Mina in January and Keryn in July.

During their time at Specsavers they have seen some interesting cases, including a retinal detachment and glaucoma. Both cases were caught quickly and the customers were referred to the hospital immediately, where they received the medical attention needed to save their sight.

Mina said: ‘People think going to the opticians is just about prescriptions and glasses but, because of the equipment we have available, we are able to check more quickly and easily for a lot of medical conditions – everything from sight-threatening problems to diabetes and issues with blood pressure. It’s so important for people to visit at least once every two years.’

Planning for the future

Once qualified, both Mina and Keryn will continue working at Specsavers in Clacton-on-Sea and begin to think about which path of optometry they see themselves following in the future – whether clinical, research or pathology.

Keryn is considering training. She said: ‘It really helped me having a sympathetic supervisor when I was studying and so I think, I would like to go back to university and help the students just starting out.’

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