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Teenager eyeing up family optometry tradition

Updated: May 19, 2022

We’re thrilled that our daughter, Emma has gone to Cardiff University to follow in our footsteps and study Optometry. Here’s her story..


A student from Sheffield is looking to follow in the footsteps of her parents as she starts her studies to become a fully qualified optometrist.

Emma Gage, whose parents own and run Alex Gage Family Optometrist in Crosspool and Woodseats, Sheffield, has taken up a place to study a BSc in Optometry at Cardiff University having gained excellent A-level results.

Optometrists are primary health care specialists trained to examine the eyes to detect defects in vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases and problems relating to general health.

Her father, Alex Gage, bought his first optometry practice in Woodseats, Sheffield, after graduating with a degree in Optometry from the University of Manchester where he met his wife and fellow optometrist Sarah.

Alex owns another branch in Crosspool where 18-year-old Emma has been gaining work experience ahead of starting university.

“I’ve been working every other Saturday on the front desk, taking calls from customers, helping staff and assisting those who come into branch. I love meeting and helping people and I’m really looking forward to learning about optometry,” she said.

Emma, also a lifeguard for Chesterfield Borough Council, studied physics, maths and chemistry at King Ecgbert School in Dore, Sheffield, and knew she wanted to train to be an optometrist from the age of 16.

The fact that her parents have studied the same subject will be helpful, she added.

“When I was growing up, conversations around the dinner table tended to be about work, and I would pick up the odd bit of information here and there. I’ve always found optometry, and the fact that both my parents are optometrists, really interesting. With studying it, I’ll hope that I’ll finally have an idea what my parents are talking about and even be able to join in!”

With the wait for exam results over, parents Alex and Sarah are pleased Emma can begin her studies in earnest.

“We have had conversations with Emma about optometry and we’re really pleased that she has decided to pursue something that interests her.

“Having the practices has given her an advantage in terms of being able to gain first hand experience of what to expect in her future career and we’re happy that her hard work has paid off.”

The course at Cardiff University lasts three years after which students graduate as pre-registration optometrist. They then enter a final year of training under the supervision of a practicing optometrist.

“I haven’t decided if I’ll come back to Sheffield and work in my parents’ practices but it’s something I’ll consider,” Emma added.


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