Ever wondered what your optometrist does outside of the office?
We sat down (sort of) with Priya Patel, an optometrist and author of a series of children’s books designed to help and encourage children who maybe nervous about healthcare
We loved the idea of what Priya was doing so much we just had to talk to her and share some of what she is doing.
How long have you been working in the field of optometry?
I have been a qualified Optometrist for 11 years now, and I am very passionate about the work I do and thoroughly enjoy working as an Optometrist as I find it a very rewarding role.
What inspired you to write “Little James visits the optician”?
I have always enjoyed Optometry; however I have always had a passion for writing so I decided to combine my passion for Optometry and my love for writing and came up with the concept of a children’s rhyming book within a series of books; to encourage and communicate health and well-being whilst also overcoming any fears or anxieties around visits.
The books provide a platform preparing children, and families by eliminating the fear of the unknown and “Little James Visits The Opticians” engages families in eyecare, which I believe is so crucial from a young age.
The best part of my journey has been working with practices and providing them with customised/bespoke books which has been amazing as it is giving back on two fronts: personalising the patient’s journey and positive association where practices can hand the books out with pride.
When I originally came up with the concept of the book I wrote it targeting children of ages 2 (assisted reading) – 7 year olds. During my process of writing the book I became aware of my 5 year old son needing to have his first pair of glasses.
“Little James Visits the Opticians” really helped his transition into wearing full time glasses due to the character association and helped him with the visits to the hospital. I am hoping that the books and the adventures that the character embarks on will help many other children on their own journeys.
What has the response to the achievement been like from people within the industry?
I am so grateful for all of the support I have had from family, friends, and people I have connected within and outside of the industry, who have all shown so much encouragement and praise after the launch of my first book. It is amazing to see how many people within the industry believe it so important to continue our roles professionally, but to also never give up on your dreams.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to do something outside of optometry?
I believe it is so important to continue to do what you enjoy, for me I still very much enjoy practicing and helping my patients but also to have a passion outside of Optometry like I have with writing, which allows for a diversified life, in turn providing a good work/life balance.
I hope that my journey can provide some inspiration to others within the industry to take that leap of faith and to never give up on their dreams, and always face any challenges head on as if you don’t you may never know what you are capable of and what you can succeed in. Are there plans to expand Little James’ journey beyond the ones currently in the series?
The first two books in the Little James’ series: Little James Visits The Opticians and Little James Visits The Dentist are both out and available on amazon, but I cannot wait as “Little James” continues to embark on many other journeys throughout the series continuing to help children as they embark on their very own journeys, with the third book; Little James Visits The Hairdressers to be released in the next few weeks.
If you have a story you want to tell, are you doing something outside of your industry, we would love to hear from you!
We would like to thank Priya for giving up time in her very busy schedule to provide us with this interview! You can buy her books here,