Visique Eye Spy | Meet The Team - Mitchell Hopping

Meet The Team - Mitchell Hopping

Eye Spy staff member assisting a customer

Mitchell Hopping started with us in March, 2018 as our enthusiastic Optical Assistant. He enjoys helping people, constantly being kept on his toes and drinking coffee - in no particular order. Get to know more about the great work he does below.

What is an Optical Assistant’s day look like at Eye Spy?

The job of an Optical Assistant is very full-on, ever-changing, and always rewarding. The average day sees me doing a range of different things. I am one of the team out the front, answering phones, greeting people who walk in and assisting with any needs people may have. This can range from simply booking in an appointment, to doing repairs or adjustments on specs. When not dealing face-to-face or over the phone, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes that most people do not see.

Ordering in frames that have been requested, liaising with the different suppliers, providers, and government agencies to make sure things are running smoothly are just a few of the tasks that are required on a daily basis. I am also training to become a qualified Dispensing Optician which brings with it its own set of challenges and rewards. Many of my friends and family have asked me what a Dispensing Optician is as it is not a commonly known profession outside of the industry. In simple terms, if one thinks of an Optometrist like Maile as a GP, the person who prescribes, then a Dispensing Optician is like a Pharmacist who is capable of dispensing the prescription.

As I am training, I do all the same things that a qualified Dispenser does just with the oversight of Maile. These tasks, jobs and duties range from dispensing lenses, measuring up new spectacles, checking jobs that come back from the labs, doing contact lens teaches, providing advice to people on vision issues and eye health problems and being an intermediary between the practice and the labs. It is always a full-on day here at Eye Spy with new exciting challenges and experiences with every person that walks in the door.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I am fortunate enough to be in a job that is very rewarding, and narrowing that down to just one thing is not easy. However, for me, it has to be the people. In all my past jobs, customer service has been at the heart of them, and the work I do at Eye Spy is no different.

Helping people has always been a great driver of mine. I remember about a year ago a young mum brought in her 3 year old son with a prescription from the hospital. He was, sadly, born with very dense cataracts which had since been removed, and this meant that his vision was not very good and he needed to be given bi-focal lenses.

The normal process for having an eye test as a child (and especially at the hospital) is to have dilating drops put in. This can be quite uncomfortable and traumatic for kids, and this was the case for this young boy. He had chosen a frame that he really liked but was not keen on me getting close to his face to take measurements for the lenses because he was scared it would hurt like the drops did at the hospital. I thought about how best to deal with this to keep him happy but also get reliable and accurate measurements. I then remembered that he loved having his mum take photos of him wearing the frame to send to the family.

I then got the store iPad and asked if I could take a photo of him in his awesome new frame, and he was really excited about this. I put markings on the blank lens in the frame as a scale and from the photo was able to get the measurements I needed. Two weeks later he collected his glasses, a perfect fit, and the smile on his face was all the reward I needed to know that he could see properly again.

How do you start your day normally?

As I am sure all of my work colleagues will testify to this, that every morning starts religiously with a big mug of strong coffee, and this usually gets topped up a few times throughout the day!

What’s your best productivity hack?

Productivity can sometimes be hard in any job, and is something I think people suffer from almost universally. I find that I get bogged down in things which causes me to operate slower, which then allows more to pile up. My hack for getting around this is to step away for a moment. As crazy as it sounds, stepping away allows me to take a more objective look at everything I have on my plate and assess what I need to tackle first, second, third, and so-forth.

What’s the one thing you’re most proud of achieving during your time at Eye Spy?

Well this is the fun part where I get to unabashedly toot my own horn! For me the thing I am most proud of is the immense amount of things I have had to learn (and keep learning) over the last two and a half years. I was initially employed as an Optical Assistant which meant that I had to learn the basics of optics to be able to suggest frames, lenses, coatings etc to people.

I took to this really quite quickly and within 6 months I was offered to start my training to become a Dispensing Optician. This has meant taking that knowledge and adding to it in a BIG way! I am really proud of how much I have learned, from the physics of lenses, to understanding eye health conditions and the impact they have on vision.

What’s next for your career?

For now I am really happy with the work I am doing and the people I work with. In all honesty, I cannot imagine doing any other job than this one for the rest of my working life. One of these days, once I am qualified, I would like to take my skills on the road to under-developed countries to help those less fortunate be able to have access to visual aids. Something like 90% of all information we interpret is through our eyes, and I find it really saddening that not everyone has had the opportunities to have their vision assessed and helped as so many of us here in New Zealand have.

About the author

Maile Tarsau