More than a DO

Saima Begum

ABDO Board Member

How long have you been a Dispensing Optician?

I qualified as a Dispensing Optician 9 years ago.

What made you decide to be a Dispensing Optician?

After college I was unsure on which career path to pursue, during this time I started working at my local opticians, through this experience I developed a real passion to get more involved in optics and leadership.

What's the best part of being a Dispensing Optician?

The diverse nature of the profession means no two days are the same resulting in a rich and stimulating work environment.

The different pathways available allow you to adjust your responsibility according to your life style and situation. I started my career in management, regional management and regional training. Moving on to professional management and regional training.

Then I had my 2 girls and decided to take on flexible roles to suit my family life.

My past flexible roles include: external auditor for Anglia Ruskin University.

At present I’m working in practice part-time as a Dispensing Optician, I’m a distance learning tutor for ABDO, probationary Practical examiner, Local optical committee member, ABDO board member and ABDO college trustee.

These roles have given me an incredible insight to the world of optics. Recently I completed a Post Graduate Certificate covering topics from leadership, clinical audit, legal aspects of UK optometry, low vision theory and practical.

Tell us about being an ABDO Board Member

I was elected by the membership and I ensure that the members are at the heart of every decision. I achieve this through active contribution in setting broad goals, supporting executive duties, and ensuring ABDO has adequate, well-managed resources at its disposal to deliver existing and future goals.

Tell us about being a ABDO college trustee

This role includes to further advance the college’s mission, tradition, values and reputation with clear expectations, standards and strong governance.

You are also a ABDO Sub Regional Lead tell us more

Through this role I have engaged with local Dispensing Opticians to assist them in joining their Local Optical Committees. I regularly attend the Local Eye Health Network West Midlands meetings raising the profile of Dispensing Opticians and contributing to the future of optics.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about training to be a dispensing optician?

Firstly, a handful of courses allow you to earn whilst you learn. That been said, it is a rewarding profession where you get an opportunity to help people see, look and feel great.

You’re dealing with the latest technology, machinery and IT systems. Between bespoke frames to forever growing frame catalogues you have an opportunity to find the best frame material, dimensions, style and colour suitable for your customer. With the rapid pace of technology innovation, you now have access to incredible performing ophthalmic lenses.

I do think in this day and age of instant gratification it is vital to mention that all great things require effort. So keep moving, learning and growing.

This career pathway leads to many different avenues to suit your circumstances.