Getting To Know Lead Optometrist, Alexandra Lyons: Part I
From the time that Hippocrates wrote his famous oath sometime in the late 5th century BC– across all cultures and generations – medicine has always been a profession to be proud of.
In any language, in any part of the world, to announce to friends and family that your son or daughter is a doctor is a reason to stand tall and bask in reflective glory.
I can vividly recall picking up my daughter’s end of school results and realising that her marks were high enough to study medicine and then the subsequent disappointment when she made it crystal clear that she had another future in mind. Instead, it was unremarkable biology that beckoned – a university course which unsurprisingly almost entirely comprised reluctant students whose first choice had been medicine. But she would not be persuaded – although later she switched to a degree course in food science and, after obtaining an international masters degree in diet and nutrition, is now happily following her chosen career in Barcelona.
So there you are … being a doctor is not everybody’s dream, even if all their qualifications point them in that direction.
This was also the case for London Vision Clinic lead optometrist Alexandra Lyons.
After a sparkling academic record at Cheltenham Ladies’ College in Gloucestershire, Alexandra was accepted at Medical School (at London’s Royal Free).
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“I am not from a medical family and my perception of medicine was not what it turned out to be. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should be doing it”, she explained, “and I dropped out.”
“Looking back, I certainly didn’t lose anything in that year – I made friends and gained a lot of knowledge as well as continuing rowing, a sport which I had loved at school.”
During her gap year, Alexandra worked in Harrods (the souvenir department and ladies’ fashions) and also as a nanny for a member of the Gucci family in Italy (a strange co-incidence as I would chose this designer family as my specialist subject on Mastermind – should the need ever arise – having ghost written “Gucci Wars” for Jenny Gucci).
Alexandra’s god mother is an optometrist; and it is perhaps noteworthy that her new chosen career was at the medical pinnacle of the profession. Alongside the scientific side of optometry, Alexandra was also attracted to the “people element”.
“I really like chatting to people”, she explains (somewhat redundantly for anyone who has met her).
After qualifying at the City University, London, Alexandra gained practical experience working for an independent optician in Eastbourne, Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea. Many of her customers there were retired and the work was mostly focussed on prescribing reading glasses.
Returning to London, Alexandra found herself involved in laser work at Boots flagship Regent’s Street store.
She had heard about the London Vision Clinic and its growing reputation and decided to send her CV alongside a “rather cheeky” email asking if there might be a job.
That was four years ago and the rest, as they say, is history.
More follows this Thursday.