More than a DO

Stuart Wellings

Interactive CET Provider

How long have you been a Dispensing Optician?

I qualified in 2011.

What made you decide to be a Dispensing Optician?

I originally started out in laser vision correction as a prescreener completely by accident. I enjoyed learning about the eyes and was encouraged by the optoms I worked with to progress and gain a qualification so I moved to a multiple and completed the DO course. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a career so when the opportunity came along to work and study and gain a professional qualification I jumped at the chance.

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

The optical community, I’ve learnt so much from other professionals both inside and outside of practice and especially during my training as an ABDO practical examiner. Everyone seems to be genuinely supportive of each other which is great.

You also run a CET business tell us more about that.

I started iCET in early 2017 by organising a few peer reviews for local friends and colleagues and it grew from there. A lot of people I speak to struggle to get to events so the idea was to make an accessible and affordable format where people could come and earn 12 interactive CET points during an afternoon and cover a wide range of competencies. I got my friend Hiten Gorecha involved, who is also DO and we now go all over the UK with our events. 2019 is going to be very busy with 12 events in different cities and we also been invited to run some peer review sessions at the annual Eyecare event in Glasgow. It’s really enjoyable and we get to meet so many people within the industry. We have a few events left this year in Southampton, Birmingham and St Albans. We’ll be announcing our 2019 schedule soon so check out our website

Tell us more about your new CET focussing on working with homeless people.

We met some people from the Vision Care For Homeless People charity at Optrafair and as the organisers of the Eyecare event were interested in having some charities at the event I offered the put together a workshop for them. They had already had a CET article approved so I used that as the basis and turned it into a discussion workshop. I found their article really eye opening and it made me really think about the challenges faced by homeless people. Not only the eye conditions that can be prevalent amongst them, but also the issues that can arise in them seeking treatment and help with their optical needs. There are so many factors that can affect the ocular health of homeless people such uncorrected refractive errors, trauma and infections. There are also problems caused from other health problems such as diabetes not being managed and the effects of substance abuse so providing eyecare for homeless people can be challenging. The workshop really gets people thinking outside of the box and understanding what they can do to overcome these challenges. We’re really looking forward to running the workshop and by having it at such a big event like Eyecare and taking it all over the UK we hope we can help raise awareness of Vision Care for Homeless People and the amazing work they do.

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

Go for it. With the right mind set it can be much more than just a job and the career opportunities are great. It’s a profession I’m proud to be a part of.