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Optical Express expands Shadow Programme training for optometrists.

Optical Express has expanded its Optometry Shadow Programme with a new focus on Independent Prescribing (IP).

The Programme will provide optometrists that have undertaken an Independent Prescribing (IP) course and are working towards an IP Qualification the opportunity to work in tandem with experienced Optical Express IP qualified optometrists and ophthalmologists, benefiting from the in-clinic practice experience required in order to achieve their IP qualification. 

Participating optometrists in the Programme have the opportunity to partake in consultations, observe surgical procedures being delivered by world-class ophthalmic surgeons and multidisciplinary teams, whilst also working with the most advanced diagnostic technology. It will enable them to work with refractive and cataract surgery patients, teaching them about high-quality visual care at a time of acute shortages in the eye care workforce.

Optometrists will be able to undertake the Programme in one of Optical Express’s state of the art surgery centres across the UK and Ireland, making the Programme accessible to optometrists up and down the country. Optometrists undertaking the Shadow Programme will benefit from up to 24 half day (4 hour) sessions, giving them real life insight into refractive and cataract surgery, as well as the experience needed as part of their IP qualification.

Stephen Hannan, Clinical Services Director at Optical Express, said: “By expanding our Shadow Programme with a focus on Independent Prescribing, Optical Express will provide even more prospective optometrists with the chance to develop their professional skills under the guidance of world-class ophthalmic surgeons.

“Finding a placement often proves to be the most challenging stage of the qualification process. Those who take part in our Programme will have the chance to learn from IP qualified optometrists and ophthalmologists undertaking pre and post-operative consultations, as they transform the lives of patients through surgical vision correction and cataract surgery. Placement Phase IP optometrists looking to expand their professional horizons should apply today.”

The Shadow Programme is being expanded following a successful initial programme launched in 2023. With nearly 100 optometrists taking part across the 6 months in the 2023 Programme, and with 100% of participants confirming that they would recommend it to other Optometrists.[1]

Dhruti, who undertook the Programme in Optical Express’s Southampton clinic, said: “What I’ve learnt from the Shadow Programme is that ultimately, ophthalmology doesn’t stop at glasses or contact lenses. The Programme has helped me open my mind to laser eye surgery.

“I would strongly recommend Optical Express based on everything I’ve learnt, as the Shadow Programme really helped me to decide what I want to do further on in my career. It was fantastic to see fellow professionals enjoying their environment.”

Register your details to take part in the IP Shadow Programme. 

[1] Optometrist Shadow Programme Questionnaire Review, 2023