More than a DO

Zoe Witham

Eyewear stylist

How long have you been a Dispensing Optician?

I qualified as a dispensing optician in August 2017.

What made you decide to be a Dispensing Optician?

Like a lot of people, I ‘fell’ in to optics. After spending a couple of years working in banking, I realised it wasn’t a career that I particularly wanted, that’s when I saw an opportunity the start work as an optical assistant. I had been in optics around 18 months when I realised how much I enjoyed it and how much I wanted to learn. An optometrist whom I was working with at the time, had noticed that I was eager to learn more and more, and suggested to me to that I pursued training to qualify as a DO. After an evening of discussion with my closest family, I decided it was a great investment for my future. I love having the clinical and technical knowledge, but I also enjoy the flexibility of being outside of the test room.

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

There are so many amazing things about being a Dispensing Optician; being able to look at all the technical and clinical aspects of a dispense, for example lens forms and patient pathology which appeals to my geeky side, and being able to help someone find the perfect pair of glasses to suit clients appeals to my more fun and stylish side! I love that every day is different; when you open the practice doors in the morning you don’t always know what to expect from the day. I also work with the most amazing team. To be able to go in to work and know that you’re going to have a great day and enjoy every minute means everything.

Tell us about being an eyewear stylist?

I became an eyewear stylist in January 2019 after completing the Eyewear Styling Academy online course. When I completed the course, I knew it was going to have an impact on my dispensing skills but I didn’t realise quite how much. I am now able to see how a pair of glasses can quite literally change someone’s life.

The process is transformational for clients and it’s a joy to see them blossom through the styling process. The consultation allows for time to make a personal connection initiating a more in-depth styling analysis including colour and face shape analysis but most important of all, personality type. Watching clients faces light up with you at their fitting appointment is always a really proud moment for me.

Enrolling on and completing the course has changed my life personally too. I now have a deeper understanding of my own style plus the colours that suit me, and my whole family have commented on how much I have changed, for the better.  I am now much more confident, I am happier and I have a better personal style! And a lot of this is down to truly enjoying my career, having a wonderful support network around me and learning about how our style can influence so many other areas of our lives.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about training to become a Dispensing Optician?

It is absolutely well worth doing. Becoming a DO could take your career in many different directions, whether you want to be more clinical, go in to training, or become a stylist! The optical world is your oyster! I had no idea how life changing this job was until very recently, both personally and professionally. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.