Working life: Lynda McGivney Nolan, optometric advisor, Association of Optometrists

With three children, we’ve an early start. Christian, (12), has cystic fibrosis, so meds and physio are part of the morning agenda. 

My husband is a great help and we all dig in.

My daughter Isobella (9) has DCD/dyspraxia, which affects co-ordination, so I get her organised once Christian and Sebastian (14) have left for school. I drop Isobella to her gaelscoil in Bray before heading to work in Harold’s Cross.


I go through emails: queries from members of the association and from the general public. I give advice on clinical, ethical and governance issues.

Optometrists differ from opticians; opticians dispense glasses while optometrists provide primary eye care, testing for vision as well as monitoring eye health. Regular eye tests are necessary to pick up early signs of eye disease such as AMD or glaucoma.


A member calls for advice on a patient who has failed an eye test which will affect their ability to renew a Group 2 driving licence. 

It’s a driver of a school bus. He held his previous licence under old regulations but his eyesight does not meet current requirements.

Failing the test will affect his livelihood but public safety is paramount. I advise the optometrist he cannot sign off on the licence and to refer the patient to an eye doctor.


A member of the public has complained that new glasses are not working.

They were prescribed varifocals which allow you to see comfortably at all distances but can be tricky to adjust to.

I ring the optometrist and they agree to see the patient again to give further advice on how to use the varifocals.


Lunch is at my desk while reading research on a rare eye disease. 

Keeping abreast of latest developments is important as I also deliver lectures to members as part of our commitment to continuous professional development.


Afternoons are dominated by meetings, for example, with the HSE, the Department of Health, NCBI, Fighting Blindness. 

I make sure we are all on the same page. Eye health is not a top government priority so we need to work together to keep it on the agenda.


I collect the boys from school, where they play rugby, before facing into horrendous traffic on the route home. 

I enjoy running and swimming in my spare time.

* Lynda McGivney Nolan is optometric advisor to the Association of Optometrists


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