Practice History

McShaw Optometrists start out as McShaw Opticians - a home practice based in Alfington (near Ottery St Mary), which delivers eye care to individuals in nursing homes and their own homes. Equipment is high on the agenda and so is our small budget. So we dig deep and purchase some fancy new technology and it pays off. We see clients among a wide range of folk; individuals with learning difficulties receive glasses as adults for the first time. These are life-changing and heartwarming times.

As the number of patients coming to our home rises and the distances they are willing to travel increases too, we find ourselves making sandwiches and hosting more and more people. Soon our little home isn’t big enough. So we move into premises above Potburys in Sidmouth.

Saw us move into our current premises. The first two years are a sharp learning curve to the newly gathered team, with new advanced instruments and plenty to discover about Sidmouth. We have gathered whole streets from London, Plymouth and family networks from as far afield as New Castle. This is before the days of Google reviews, which makes this steady trickle of people from afar seeking us out, humbling and rewarding.

We conduct possibly the country’s first virtual consultation to take place from the high street. This is where images of the eye, together with other results, are sent live to Roland Ling, the Ophthalmic consultant. Roland considers the results and subsequently talks to the patient and Frederick, your optometrist. Then a procedure is booked from our consulting room and the patient leaves our practice to have the procedure later that day.

After three years of being nominated and shortlisted for numerous national awards, we are awarded two in one evening at a glittering industry-led event. The practice enters turbulent times as illness; changes in the team and the financial crash all take their toll.

Frederick garners yet another qualification as a specialist in anterior eye conditions to add to his diabetic and contact lens qualifications. More follow in the coming years as he continues to strive to deliver the best eye care he can provide. The practice itself continues to see further investment in equipment.

The practice enters its fourth cycle of investment in new equipment and we introduce further packages of care designed to meet the needs of particular conditions or levels of advanced care. The advent of our OCT (a scanner which is noninvasive and captures the individual layers beneath the surface of the eye, much like revealing the sponge and fillings beneath an iced cake ), begins to yield results on our referral accuracy and its early detection ability is well founded.

Team stability returns to the practice and further investments in training and equipment means our attention returns to our frames and to the search for ecological and fresh designers.

Awards continue with the recognition of our Style Me evening, which was such fun. Demonstrating style doesn’t stop once you pass 50 years with our clients sporting incredible chic and unique flair in our glasses.

COVID-19 hits and thanks to PPE supplies already in practice, we can remain open and see patients who have emergency eye care needs. Thanks to Frederick’s independent prescribing abilities and consultant’s willingness to continue emergency care, we do our small bit to help out. The down time does give us an opportunity to reconsider our priorities and what all this might mean for our patients and our team. Zoom consultations are added to our care packages and telephone consultations become more normal.