Domiciliary Optometrist Spotlight: Kate McMahon

Posted on November 21, 2018
Author: Lifeatspecsavers

We spoke to Kate McMahon, Director of Specsavers Home Visits, about her life as a Domiciliary Optometrist and what it means to her to make a difference to her patients’ lives every day:

What made you choose a career in domiciliary?
I moved to Bristol in 2015 and initially worked in a city centre practice. I enjoyed the quick pace but I was also looking for a change. I explored the different career options available to me and decided to carry out a day shadowing the Domiciliary Optometrist in my area. After day one, I loved it. There was a real sense of achievement in helping someone and brightening up their day.

What does a day on the road look like?
We travel in one car to be more environmentally friendly. I meet my Optical Assistant at the last location of the day, where I park my car and then we drive to our first visit, working our way back. Our job takes us all over the South West. My surroundings can vary from the sunny beaches of Clevedon, to spotting cows on the golf courses in Stroud to travelling through meandering Welsh valleys.

The variation also applies to the patients – travelling across such a large area means having a very different spectrum of patients. No two days are ever the same.

How does your work in domiciliary help you give something back in your local community?
I feel very proud to be able to provide eye care to those with mental and physical health disabilities. Not discriminating against people based on their ability to travel to a store and, instead, providing them a vital service is what I love. We can ease any worries patients may have in relation to their sight and ensure their vision is as good as possible, for as long as possible.

Where do you think you have made real difference to someone's life?
One lady we visited had lived alone for many years and her neighbours were growing increasingly concerned about her ability to do so after a series of falls. On examination of her eyes, I noted dense cataracts forming, leaving her with very little sight. I immediately referred her (through her GP) for cataract surgery and also passed on her details, with her consent, to our local Hearcare team.

On returning to the patient a year later, I discovered she had both cataracts removed and new hearing aids fitted. She was so thankful of the service we had given her and the independence she had been able to keep as a result.

What do you find most rewarding about your work as a Domiciliary Optometrist?
So many of the people we visit at home live extremely isolated lives and, while families and carers can provide great company, I really do find it rewarding to provide patients with a bit of company as well as vital eye care.

I have realised from my work in domiciliary that a friendly face and taking a little bit of time with someone can mean the world to them.

Describe the culture of Specsavers Home Visits in three words:
Caring, Respectful and Happy.

What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers Home Visits?
I never thought I would end up as a Domiciliary Optometrist, but it’s been the best career decision I have ever made. I would highly recommend trying out a shadow day with your local group to witness first-hand all the worthwhile work being done.

To discover more about the varied and rewarding world of domiciliary work:

Click here to arrange a career conversation or find out more about taster day experiences