Parant from Hatch End Eyecare in Middlesex purchased an ultra-widefield imaging device from Optos called an 'Optomap' at 100% Optical 2018. Learn how after finding retinal holes he was previously unaware of he knew this was the piece of equipment for him. He also offers advice to our visitors when buying equipment and talks about overcoming industry challenges.
What is the name of your practice and where is it based?
Hatch End Eyecare – based in Hatch End in Pinner, Middlesex
How would you best describe your practice ethos?
Small boutique run practice – personal service and very quirky touches throughout
Patient-practitioner bond and continuity as no locums hired
What is your own background?
I qualified in 2005 having studied at Aston University, experienced in domicilary work, locumed for 7-8yrs to gain experience in multiple and independent practice and became principle optometrist in a long established independent practice
What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?
Be myself mainly! Honesty, approachable, willing to bend over backwards for patients and adopt an ‘everything is possible’ kind of mentality! I like not to be too serious and that is reflected amongst my staff and the patient journey
Describe a typical working day in your life
I get in early to list outstanding or important jobs for the day, we don’t have weekly or monthly meetings but instead a quick overview for the day ahead. My first patient is often at 9 and pres-screening now is performed by the same member of staff, including the Optomap. I conduct all clinical examinations, sight test, contact lens checks and also dispensing. My staff help take care of frame selection but each patient sees me again for lens discussions whether its single vision or multifocal.
What challenges do you see facing the optical industry in the coming years?
As an independent practice I am keen to demonstrate the difference. New technology is obviously now available in multiples and it’s more important now more than ever to keep up. Funding is obviously a huge consideration but it’s worth investing in offering patients a more personal service. Online presence of contact lenses and frames means eyeplan membership is something we discuss more frequently. Patient feedback is important and with social media following and a great start to google reviews this helps educate patients who are deciding where to visit. I would expect the industry to become more automated and more streamlined and those practices who haven’t quite found their niche are likely to struggle more, primary eyecare will always be necessary and perhaps more responsibility distributed to those who are willing to welcome the changes.
Why do you choose 100% Optical to make purchases for your practice?
Location as it’s local to reach and the diversity of what is on offer. Great innovative ideas to add to the practice as well the chance to invest in new equipment and in smaller more independent frame manufacturers and add-on items such as the Eyeshaker and Glaskar cleaning fluid dispenser etc.
You purchased an ultra-widefield imaging device from Optos at 100% Optical 2018. Tell us more about this piece of equipment.
Optomap allows us to examine a much wider field of the retina up to 200 degrees and even more with eye steering. Very useful for differential diagnosis and monitoring pathology which could potentially go unnoticed. We have diagnosed previously missed conditions in adults and children too. Our eye examine is that much more complete compared to the average high street opticians. We can now add to the professional fees income, meaning our average eye test value has almost doubled.
What advice would you give our visitors when buying equipment for their practice?
Firstly have it done on your own eyes – that’s how my two retinal holes were diagnosed and subsequently now monitored. Make use of the trial and add it to the practice in a way that delivers the wow factor – patients in this modern day want to see you move on and keep up with the latest ideas and equipment. The team at Optos are fantastic to work with and really help to tailor the delivery and fitting of your device to your practice.
What is your proudest career achievement in the last 12 months?
Having started an independent practice from scratch with zero patients it’s nice to surpass the 5 year mark and now to be able to invest in pricey equipment such as the Optomap to propel the business forward. I have a small team which is loyal and great to work with and because we all share the same philosophy I am proud to set my goals for the next year ahead with them and brainstorming new additions to the practice – we have just designed an outdoor 7ft pair of spectacles to go in front of our shop front – due to start production next week (not a surprise anymore!)