Tiri opens the eyes of optometrists during work placement

Tiri and Louise, the manager at the opticians, are sitting at a table with an enlarged plastic model of an eye. The two of them are looking at the eye, taking it apart and each of the ladies is holding a piece of eye in their hands.

Every year at RNC (Royal National College for the Blind), our students have a dedicated week of work experience where they are able to have an insight into the world of work to prepare them for what they might want to do when they leave us. When asked what industry she would like to work in, 17 year old Tiri from Devon says “I just asked for anything medical related, I know that having a visual impairment means that my choices are restricted so when I was given a placement at an opticians I was really excited.”


After obtaining permission of the customers, Tiri was able to sit in on eye examinations and she says “It’s really interesting seeing it from a different angle as I’ve met so many people with visual impairments and for the most part I’m trying to diagnose people’s conditions based on their symptoms but this week I have spent a lot of time with Alex the optometrist and learned a lot about the science behind things, which I find fascinating.”

Tiri is sat in the opticians’ examination room behind a computer desk with Alex, an optometrist, who is talking to her about something on the computer screen. In the background there is a big char for the patients to sit in, a screen with big letters on and lots of eye examination equipment.

Tiri, with Alex the optometrist, preparing for an eye examination









Louise Jelley, manager of AJs Opticians in Bromyard, Herefordshire, explains “We’ve had work experience students before and sometimes it’s difficult to find tasks for them to do, especially due to patient confidentiality. Luckily all of our patients that we asked were happy to have Tiri sit in with them, she is so bright and eager to learn. I’ve really enjoyed having her – she’s confident, chatty, gets on with things and really fitted in well.” Louise goes onto to say how worthwhile it is for her staff, having Tiri on placement with them “As an opticians we very rarely see people with lots of complex eye conditions as they are normally referred straight to the hospital so it’s been really useful for our optometrists to speak with Tiri this week and have her answer some of their questions.”


Chair of the student rep group, Tiri, who currently studies A Level Maths and Chemistry, says “I think that what I’m learning at my placement will be very useful for when I start A Level Biology next year. I love learning all about the body, how it works and the science around it.” She goes onto explain how her studies relate to the placement “We’ve been looking at medications which link to my Maths and Chemistry; calculating doses and changing doses based on eye colour for a test to dilate pupils to prepare an examination of the eye.”


Tiri jokes “In my life I’ve spent a lot of time intriguing junior doctors when they’ve been on work experience so it’s funny being the other side and being able to probe more into the patients during their eye examinations.” Looking to the future Tiri is keen to go onto university “I definitely want to pursue medicine, but I’m still unsure what field I could specialise in– having this involvement with optometry has given me a great experience and lots of opportunities to find out more. Who knows? Maybe it’s something I could consider in the future!”


If you are interested in studying with us, please view our range of courses. If you have any further questions, please call our student enquiries line on 01432 376 621 or email info@rnc.ac.uk


Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC


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