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Introducing Clare

The team at Smith and Swepson are excited to be welcoming local optometrist Clare Holland to the practice. Previously clinical director and owner at another prominent independent practice, Keith Holland & Associates, Clare now describes herself as aiming for a better work/life balance. As well as working with us here at Smith and Swepson, Clare has also started a small specialist consultancy in Oxford, which offers vision related learning assessments. She will be offering full scope optometry services, such as NHS and private eye exams, contact lens fitting and aftercare as well as Behavioural Optometry assessments at Smith and Swepson. More about Behavioural Optometry next month.

Clare moved to Cheltenham over 30 years ago, and in 1989 she and her late husband Keith Holland launched the UK’s first optical practice to specialise in helping children who were underachieving at school by helping those who had vision related learning difficulties improve those visual skills which were making reading harder than it was for other youngsters. Keith travelled extensively to conferences in the USA, Australia and Europe and brought optometry speakers to the UK to lecture, launching the British Association of Behavioural Optometry in the early 1990s. After Keith’s untimely death, Clare continued to run their optical practice but moved on from it two years later in 2016.

Clare’s particular interests in optometry include contact lens fitting and she is one of only around 300 Fellows of the British Contact Lens Association, and she studied for a Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties at the University of Gloucestershire to increase her understanding of conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. She is particularly keen to get the message over that all children should have regular eye exams, not waiting until a problem arises. A child rarely complains as whatever they see is entirely normal to them!

“Parents are naturally conscientious about getting their children’s teeth checked and don’t wait for toothache!” explained Clare, “But many often wait until their child can’t see the board or experiences serious headaches before seeking an eye exam. So many problems could be saved and learning helped by picking up issues at an earlier stage.”

Special Needs Teachers and Educational Psychologists often refer children to Clare, typically being those who are having difficulty concentrating, and are underachieving in reading and writing compared to their verbal skills. After a full visual assessment, which takes over 2 hours, Clare may prescribe Vision Therapy and/or spectacles to help them read more easily. For more about Clare see

In the meantime I hope you will all extend a warm welcome to Clare when you see her in the practice.

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