Rachel Leary

Job Title


Is your role clinical or non-clinical?


When you were in school, did you want to join the NHS?

Yes I was always interested in eye health.

Tell us about your job

A typical day for me would be working from at 8am to 6pm. Usually, I would be treating patient’s in a paediatric clinic working together with optometrists and ophthalmologists. We see all age groups of patients, but the majority would be children, especially those who have additional educational needs. These patients may be suffering with an eye misalignment or problems with their visual development. I may see patients from eye casualty who could be suffering from double vision. I also have an extend role injecting patients eyes to save their vision from macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in the UK. During my clinic I also support and teach orthoptic students.

How did you come to work in the NHS?

After completing GCSEs, a levels and an undergraduate degree in ‘Orthoptics’, which included clinical placements, I then started working in the NHS. Since then I progressed from a band 5 newly qualified orthoptist to a band 6 specialist orthoptist and then to my current role which is a band 7 advanced orthoptist and teaching lead. I have been working as an orthoptist for nearly 10 years. During this time I completed a funded masters course in ‘Vision and Strabismus’ which was funded and supported by University Southampton.

What are some challenges?

There can be high demands on the ophthalmic service, and this can mean clinics are very busy, but it does help you day go by quickly. There is always something to do.

What do you love about your job?

I appreciate the variability of patients that I treat in my job. This helps challenge me and keep my knowledge up to date. It is rewarding saving someone’s vision.

Which Clinical colleagues support you?

I working closely with optometrists, ophthalmologist’s, neurologists, nurses and clinical vision scientists.

Which Non-clinical colleagues support you?

Administration staff, cleaners and clinical booking teams.

Is there career progression in your role and how would you get there?

Advanced clinical practice routes can mean you can work at the level of some junior ophthalmologists.

What would you say to a young person thinking of joining the NHS?

Working in the NHS can be a very rewarding job for example saving someone’s sight and opportunities for job progression but it is also very demanding. It is important to know way to relax when you are not working and having hobbies.

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