When people decide to work at Specsavers, they’re joining a company with a purpose to change lives through better sight and hearing – hence why more Australians and New Zealanders choose the optometry provider over any other.
As one of the largest employers in the ANZ optometry sector, Insight sits down with an employee each month to hear about their growth trajectory within the company.
Name: Amy Yu
Current position: Year 2 graduate optometrist (senior optometrist Feb 2024)
Location: Specsavers Hurstville – Metro NSW (Specsavers Wollongong Feb 2024)
Years within the business: March 2018 – present
Why did you pursue an optometry career, and how did you enter the profession?
When I was seven years old, my parents discovered I was myopic. I was then put on orthokeratology lenses for a good 15 years and had regular three-month follow-ups at my local optometrist. The practice owner offered to host my Year 10 work experience and on the first day, he let me look through the slit lamp to view corneal staining with fluorescein. I still remember feeling fascinated at what I was seeing at the time. Throughout my final year at high school, I decided that I wanted to work in the health industry to give back to the community, and with my exposure to the optical industry at such a young age, it was fitting that optometry was my passion.
How did you come to work at Specsavers, and what attracted you to the business?
This is actually a funny story. Back in 2017, I interviewed at Specsavers Hurstville for an optical assistant role to gain more experience in the optical industry. However, they weren’t hiring at the time and they referred me to another Specsavers store 10 minutes away which was hiring. I applied and got the job. I stayed and worked there as an optical assistant whilst studying, until the end of 2021, where I then interviewed back at Hurstville to be an optometrist.
Specsavers is known for its unique marketing and I wanted to represent a well-known brand. What’s even better now is that Specsavers has been recognised as a Great Place To Work, and I feel privileged to be able to work for Specsavers for as long as I have.
What was your first role within the business, and what did it entail?
I was an optical assistant at my first store, and some of my tasks included pre-testing, dispensing glasses, trouble-shooting prescriptions and administration. I was then promoted to the role of a clinic coordinator, which means I was in charge of the overall flow of the day by managing appointments and delegating tasks to optical assistants and other staff members.
Since then, what growth opportunities have presented themselves?
In my second year as an optometrist at Specsavers Hurstville, I took on a mentorship role to support our 2 graduate optometrists and optometry students on university placement. I found this role quite rewarding and it helped consolidate not only my clinical knowledge, but also any newer research and treatments that I was not aware of during my studies. I plan on furthering my career growth with the Specsavers Early Career Optometrists (ECO) program next year with the support of my new store partners.
During COVID, I reached out as a volunteer to Glaucoma Australia, and with my current qualifications, I was fortunate enough to be able to assist with patient education talks. Earlier this year, I did a live online webinar called “Understanding Glaucoma Tests”, where I discussed what is involved in the testing of glaucoma, how frequently these tests are conducted, and my own experience with clinically diagnosing and managing glaucoma in practice. I also touched on the different options that people with glaucoma have with their referral pathways and the associated costs.
I am fortunate to be a member of the Optometry Australia Early Career Optometrists NSW/ACT (ECONA) Student Engagement subcommittee, and was recently appointed to be a co-chair for next year. Being an ECONA member has allowed me to connect with early and future career colleagues to improve the future of the profession.
Can you outline your top career highlights since joining Specsavers?
This year marked five years since joining Specsavers. To top this year off, I was selected as one of five finalists for my second year graduate project. It was humbling yet rewarding to see my efforts recognised.
What excites you most about turning up for work each day?
Knowing that I can make a positive impact on someone by addressing their visual concerns and meeting their visual needs is very rewarding, even if it’s just the simple things like updating their glasses prescription or monitoring their ocular health.