The career of Optometry in New Zealand combines elements of a constantly evolving science regarding the treatment of vision and a spiritual satisfaction of providing an experience of treating an individual.
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Envisioning an Experience
Vision is fascinating.
Vision is so crucial in our daily lives. Vision is needed to safely drive to work. Vision is what we need to learn in school. Vision allows expressions to be read on our family members’ faces.
The cerebral cortex of the human brain is composed of four regions or lobes. One of these regions, the occipital lobe1, is dedicated to processing visual information and making sense of what you see. There is a considerable amount of computing power the brain devotes vision, and this puts into perspective how important vision is to us.
Experience is another fascination.
The uplifting experience after getting a new haircut and a trimmed beard from the barber; the feeling of a mending shoulder after seeing the physiotherapist; the reward knowing that teeth are healthy after a routine check from the dentist – these are the feelings that everyone will get have after having their eyes tested.
As an Optometrist, the responsibility comes in uniting the care of vision and the experience. This can be done by providing reassurance from a routine eye examination to recommending a highly accurate prescription.
Most of the highly satisfying jobs involved creativity or significant interactions with peopleRich Enough? by Mary Holm
The bonus comes in working with a diverse amount of people.
Managing patients is based on scientific evidence but creativity comes in dealing with everyone’s individual needs. For example, if you were getting new glasses – would you prefer to be told simply that you need them or would you like to be told that certain elements of your life will be changed for the better?
The scope of Optometry in New Zealand has increased dramatically.
For many years now, the University of Auckland offers therapeutic endorsements with the Bachelor of Optometry degree, allowing prescribing of medication for eye problems.
From this, Optometrists are now able to provide so much for our patients, moving beyond the realm of prescribing glasses.
Another example of increasing scope includes Glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease that has no perceivable symptoms and early detection can only be determined through an eye examination – urging people to have their eye exams regularly.
In 2017, I undertook further education through the Australian College of Optometry obtaining an Advanced Certificate in Glaucoma. Being a Board-Approved Independent Optometrist Glaucoma Prescriber, I am able to prescribe glaucoma medication and help treat this disease not just observe and diagnose it.
I also have an interest in specialty contact lenses such as keratoconus and orthokeratology.
Keratoconus can be a challenging condition to have, especially when glasses do not offer the best vision. Being able to provide clearer vision and freedom with specialised contact lenses furthers service to our patients.
Myopia control involves reducing the progression of short-sight. Myopia is a rising cause of vision reduction and comes with detrimental side-effects to the eyes’ health. Control methods such as orthokeratology are able to reduce myopia progression while also offering freedom of no glasses or contacts during the day.
Optometry sits between providing care for individuals with regards to their vision while also providing a welcoming experience for patients.
The occupation involves heavy interaction with patients as well as being creative with managing patients’ individual needs.
The ability for care has broadened beyond the scope of just glasses, leading to treatment with eye diseases using prescriptions, glaucoma, keratoconus and myopia control to name a few.