Day in the life – Islington optometrist Bansi Dhamecha

Bansi Dhamecha, 29, is the ophthalmic director of Specsavers, Islington. She lives in West London with her husband Dipak, an accountant.

In between patients and managing the business, she gave an insight into her life.

‘I co-own the Islington Specsavers store – which means as well as testing patients I help manage the day to day running of the business. My alarm goes off at 6am. I get up and do a 20 minute workout using my training app, then shower and get dressed in a suit to look professional and so there’s no fuss choosing an outfit.

I’ll have a glass of milk and eat fruit with my husband before leaving at 7.30am. On the Tube, I update the staff rota on my mobile for the day.

Managing customer expectations
A big part of my job is making people aware of what we can and can’t do. I’m constantly trying to promote ways to help patients’ vision such as taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes if you stare at screens all day. There’s been a rise in short-sighted patients due to technology.

I will refer a patient to hospital if there is something serious which can save someone’s sight. I have patients come in who have had blepharitis for 10 years who cry because I can sort it in 20 minutes.

The worst part of my job is being the bearer of bad news – I recently had to tell an elderly man his sight was permanently degenerating. I felt so helpless.

I was inspired to be an optometrist after watching my mother as a child. She was an optometrist so from the age of 12, I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I studied optometry at Aston University in Birmingham before two years of training in Newbury with Specsavers. After finishing, I became a joint venture partner, running my own business, with Specsavers marketing and management support.

My typical day starts at 8.30am with a team meeting. We have 12 staff in-store; including two other qualified optometrists. We’ll run through the appointment bookings and whether we’re holding any events such as a charity drive or training, and discuss any patient concerns. Then I’ll see 15-20 patients a day.

People say, “I want to give you the right answer” when reading the letters, so I reassure them there’s no ideal answer. I also double check their responses with a question posed differently.

Between appointments
Outside of the clinic, I hold sessions with trainees, reviewing their performance. I’ll have lunch at 2.30pm – something vegetarian, cooked at home, such as a cauliflower bake or spinach paneer. I might also have supplier meetings, with a company who provides eyedrops, for example.

The best bits
From 4pm we test lots of children after school. You’ve got to make the eye tests fun to keep the children’s attention. This is the best part of my job – their joy at being able to see. My most memorable moment was treating an Albanian man who couldn’t speak English. He came with a work colleague who explained he needed glasses. I was just doing my job but he was so grateful. That sort of appreciation is why I love doing this.

If I wasn’t an optometrist, my Plan B would still to be in healthcare. I love being able to help people and fix their optical problems so I think I would really enjoy being a GP. They’re the first port of call, even if you just have a cold. We’re the first port of call for eyes, which is great.’

This interview first appeared at

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