At Charles Lea Opticians we pride ourselves on our patient care and the expertise of our staff. 
​Read on to meet the team!

Stephanie Lipsey – Liu
Optometrist Director

Stephanie has been an optician since 2010.  She started her training at Ipswich Hospital and specialised in low vision assessments and complex contact lenses.

She has worked for various opticians in the past but has always preferred the patient focused nature of independent opticians.  Her current focus is myopia management as she is keen to do her part in reducing the progression of short sightedness in children.  Out of work her hobbies include sewing, playing piano, singing and writing children’s books.

Aarti Assi
Optometrist Director

What starting out as a work experience placement at 15 years old, has turned into a much loved career for Aarti. She has worked in the various sectors eye care has to offer, such as laser vision correction, hospital eye services and independent practice. She has also completed a masters in clinical optometry. With having this wealth of experience it is within independent practice that Aarti now wants to dedicate her time. As it is here where she feels she can truly offer and deliver the individualised and best level of care for her patients. When Aarti is not examining eyes, she is kept super busy and totally on her toes with her 2 boys and their hobbies / activities to have any time for her own!!


Shen has been an optometrist for some 15 years. He began his career in a quaint seaside town in Wales, and moved to Nottingham 12 years ago. Where, despite being a staple of one of the biggest Optical multiples, he has always yearned to return to community eye care where tailor made, patient driven optometry is king.He holds a Professional Certificate in Glaucoma as well as being MECS accredited. In his spare time he is usually lost on the battlefield of a Bernard Cornwell novel. Or is on a court trying to will his body into believing he is as good a badminton player as he was 10 years ago.

Ann Hamilton Optometrist

Ann graduated at Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge and has been an optometrist since 2007. Since then, Ann enjoys working between practice and domiciliary home eye care.  In 2015, Ann and Stephanie formed Freedom Eyecare Nottingham, one of the first independent domiciliary opticians in Nottinghamshire. 

Since becoming a mother, Ann has also fulfilled a lifelong ambition and has written several bilingual children’s books in English and Chinese to help other families learn Chinese and embrace their heritages.

Melanie Walker Dispensing Optician

Mel started working in optics 25 years ago and after 9 years she did a distance learning degree in dispensing optics at Cambridge. This meant she joined her two teenage children revising day and night for their exams.  Mel has worked across all areas of optics, however her main interest is dispensing which bought her to Charles Lea Opticians 8 years ago, enabling her to work in a patient centred environment and get to know her customers. 

Outside of work Mel enjoys lots of walks with her boisterous, lovable labrador, meeting up with friends, travelling and visiting family up and down the country.

Karen Wightman
senior Optical consultant

Karen started her training in 2000 and received top class training to become a Senior Optical Consultant. She loves nothing more than helping customers find their perfect pair of specs and working at Charles Lea gives her the opportunity to offer that personal service. 

In her spare time she likes to get out and about, seeing live bands, and loves a good beer festival. At home, she likes to cook a lovely meal, and settle down to watch a film or tv drama. She also enjoys spending time in her garden, especially when the sun’s out. 

Elaine Freeman Optical Adviser

Elaine has worked in optics for 25 years covering roles as a receptionist, dispensing assistant and contact lens department manager where she obtained a diploma as a clinical assistant.  She has been in her current position at Charles Lea Opticians for the past 7 years as a receptionist and much prefers the more personal service and seeing the customers benefit from that.

Outside of work she enjoys waklking, holidays and reading but most of all spending time with her 5 young grandchildren.

eileen o’reilly
Optical Adviser

Eileen’s employment history has been people focused, her principal experience being in human resource management achieved mainly from working in the not-for-profit sector.   

She has a genuine interest in people-focussed businesses that make a positive difference to individuals, which is what attracted her to Charles Lea Opticians.  “Observing the positive impact of an eyesight test and corrective lenses is nothing short of magic. A magic I witness every day I’m in work.”

Outside of work Eileen has a passion for a food system that celebrates and rewards local food producers and is a source of good food for the consumer.  She is also a big fan of Parkrun, a brilliant free initiative for social inclusion offering fitness of both mind and body.