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FYidoctors Spotlight: Keith Richardson, Regional Optical Services Manager, Peace River Country

Posted on June 14th, 2016

With over 280 locations across Canada, FYidoctors employees are some of the most dedicated and passionate eye care professionals working in the industry. Meet the people who make us who we are.


What’s your current role with FYidoctors?

I’m the Regional Optical Services Manager for the Peace River Country and am currently based in the Grande Prairie office. I provide product and optical staff training and support the dispensary team with complex dispensing issues and optical problem solving. I also assist with managing and reviewing the processes in the dispensary and regional lab to ensure the best possible patient service and experience.


What is it that made you want to work in eye care?

Like a lot of people I fell into optics by chance. After leaving college I was looking for a career that was both challenging and one that offered the potential to develop further. I happened to get my first job as a part-time laboratory technician in an optical store in the U.K. and after 22 years in the industry, the rest as they say, is history.


What do you love most about your job?

I love delivering an exceptional experience for the patient right from the start of their store journey to the eyewear that they’ll wear each day for the next few years. I’m lucky to work as part of great team, and helping them to achieve the same goal by supporting and developing their skills is incredibly rewarding for me and benefits each patient visiting our office.


What’s one of the most challenging parts of your job?

Time. Or to be more precise, the lack of it, is one of the most challenging parts of my role. Providing ongoing staff training to ensure the whole team is proficient to the same level in regards to both their general dispensing and product knowledge is a consistent on-going requirement. The Grande Prairie office is nicknamed “The Beast” and for good reason, as it's one of the busiest eye care locations in North America. The practice is open five days a week and on three days from 8:00am – 9:00pm with a constant stream of patients coming through the door. Our staff actually starts at three different times throughout the day, and it can be especially difficult to arrange meetings and schedule the necessary amount of time for training.


What’s one of your favourite moments from working at FYidoctors?

Working in the Grande Prairie office on Halloween last year was a great experience. Halloween in the U.K. isn’t celebrated to the same extent as it is here in Canada, and when I walked into the practice and saw the wide array of costumes and the effort people had gone to, that is something I’ll remember for a long time. It was a great atmosphere that day and all the staff, patients and kids really enjoyed themselves.


What services do you offer at the FYidoctors Grande Prairie location?

In Grande Prairie we focus on tailoring eyewear to suit each patient and their lifestyle needs. We believe frames must not only look great, but also fit exactly to the person's face. That's why we use all of the latest in measurement technology to place the areas of most precise vision right where the patient needs to see. With over two thousand frames on display, from safety eyewear to premium designer brands, we have something for everyone from children to seniors.


What do you love most about where you work?

Having only moved to Canada a matter of five months ago following a 22 year career in optics back in the U.K, simply being here and experiencing optics “Canadian style” is something that I’m very much enjoying. The Grande Prairie office is quite unlike anywhere I’ve previously worked from a geographical perspective. We serve a variety of demographics up here as the office has a very large catchment area and serves many communities.


What’s the most important thing people should know about their eye health?

Never take the most valued of our senses for granted. Have regular eye examinations as recommended by your doctor, and always use eye protection for any activity which could easily result in an eye injury, such as DIY repairs, working on a vehicle and playing sports. Having been a victim of an ocular trauma myself, and subsequently having secondary on-going issues for several years afterward, I know only too well the level of intense pain you experience from a damaged cornea and ultimately just how precious our vision really is.


What do you see in the future for the eye care industry?

I see a further commercial differentiation between the large optical businesses that focus on selling low cost eyewear to price sensitive consumers and those practices that are more clinically orientated. While price is important to some people, not everyone is concerned about getting the cheapest possible set of glasses. Many people value the peace of mind of having a regular primary health check, especially as they get older and they are interested in products which not only look good, but also offer a higher performance and deliver a greater wearing experience. These types of products and service aren’t achievable through businesses focused exclusively either on price, a one-hour service or selling via the internet.


To book your next complete eye exam, visit an FYidoctors clinic near you.