I have been teaching at The University Of Manchester for many years. I love being able to share my years of experience and knowledge. I also love that I can teach the next generations of optometrists how things are supposed to be done. I feel that this benefits both me and my patients.
Benefits to me
Life as an optometrist can get a bit samey. I am in the fortunate position that I don't work for one of the big multiples where (and I talk from experience here) you are expected to be an eye test machine. It's a numbers game. How many patients can you get in and out of the testing room in as short a time as possible? That's not good for the optometrist, and it most certainly isn't good for the patient! At Edge we take a different approach. Our eye examinations are 45 minutes, more than double what you will often get at a multiple. That means we can look after you properly, talk things through in detail, and make sure neither the optom or the patient feel rushed.
Even with that said, it's a lovely thing that I can take time out from the consulting room and do something completely different. It's great to give myself the challenge of taking my many years of experience to help the students pass their exams, but also to let them know what's to come once the exams are all done and they've got real patients to see in the real world.
Benefits to my patients
There are a few ways that I think my patients benefit from the time I spend teaching. Firstly it keeps all of my testing techniques honed. I know from the times when I was qualified, but before I was teaching, that it is easy to let bad habits creep in for the sake of saving time. I'd be willing to bet that there a lot of qualified and experienced optometrists who might struggle to pass some of the exams I now invigilate, due to bad habits and cut corners.
Secondly, I need to be able to explain things in such a way that an inexperienced student can easily understand. That skill helps me to explain my findings and results to patients too. After an eye examination with me you'll almost certainly have learned something you didn't know before.
Thirdly, contact lenses. This is one of the subjects I specialise in, and that I've been teaching for the longest time. Trust me when I say that some optometrists do not like contact lenses as a subject, and therefore often aren't in a position to recommend the best contact lenses to a patient. I've lost count of the number of patients I've seen over the years who aren't wearing the best lenses for them. It's a lovely feeling when you give those patients new lenses and watch their faces light up when they realise how much better their vision is and/or lenses feel.
I've been working at the university for so long now that I actually have input into how the subjects are taught, which is particularly flattering and satisfying. Book yourself in to see me and you too can benefit from the unique perspective that both teaching and working in practice give me.