Gillian Gervais runs Gillian Gervais Opticians and Eyewear based in Carryduff.
The mother of three boys has been running the business for 20 years. After graduating from Cardiff University she worked for several opticians before setting up on her own.
Gillian has recently moved to new premises on the Ballynahinch road.
I get up at 6.45am, get myself ready and the three boys sorted for school making sure they have their bags, kits and boots. The two eldest boys usually have pre-school rugby to go to and then I’ll take the youngest one to school on my way to work. One of my receptionists will have the shop opened by the time I arrive.
Each day will vary, as some days you will have a very busy schedule and other days you may not. That’s part of the fun and variety of being an optician.
The day is predominantly sight tests and contact lens checks/fits. My patients are aged three - 90. Some may need to be fitted for specialty lenses, like bifocals, while others may want prescription sunglasses or reading glasses. As well as instore checks I do offer home visits and these are free to people who are housebound and over 60.
In between appointments I write referral letters to patients doctors and hospital eye departments as I regularly have people with glaucoma, cataracts hypertension diabetes and even strokes and tumours.
I find the medical side of my job extremely fulfilling but I also enjoy the fashion side of glasses.
I’m always trying to keep up to date with trends and making sure we have a wide and varied range of frames such as diesel guess Roberto cavalli ray bann Oakley and soon Mont Blanc Swarovski and Prada.
I enjoy it all, everything is so varied so I rarely find myself doing the same thing repeatedly. I’m interested in the constant changes in technology that I can use to help my patients, whether it’s as part of an eye test, their contact lenses or new materials for their glasses. We also have the express option of providing you with nocturnal Ortho-K technology. This is a non-surgical method of correcting short sightedness by reshaping your eyes on a temporary basis. We’re one of the few providers of Ortho-K in Northern Ireland and are proud to offer a glasses and contact lens free choice during the day.
I really enjoy running my own business. I like helping people - vision makes a huge difference to people’s lives and sometimes they don’t even realise that until it’s fixed.