I ended last week with an international call to Australia to speak to optometrist and founder of Eyes4Everest, a charity that was set up to tackle avoidable blindness in the Everest region of Nepal.
During that call I learnt about how, as a young boy, charity founder Shaun Chang had been inspired by the adventurer Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the peak of Mount Everest.
On visiting the Nepalese region in adulthood, he observed the limited eye care for those living in the region – in fact no eye care was available at all until Eyes4Everest was established.
Adamant to change this, Mr Chang established Eyes4Everest in 2014, returning to the region that same year to offer free eye care and spectacles to those in need. The charity now goes back annually to offer the service – read more about its ambitions for growth in the September OT.
Closer to home, this week I learnt about the work of the Pen Optical Trust, a charity set up by optometrist Tanjit Dosanjh that offers optical assistant and lab tech training to prisoners nearing the end of their sentence.
“The idea of proving optical training to prisoners has been around in the US for around 30 years – it’s about giving people a second chance and helping them learn the skills that will help them to secure employment once they are released,” Mr Dosanjh told OT.
Both stories demonstrate the broadness of practice that is available to optometrists outside of the testing room. However, inside the testing room there is still scope for practitioners to become ‘super optoms’ if you like, expanding their clinical skills way beyond refraction. IP and MECS-accreditation anyone?
So to all those pre-reg optometrist who are sitting OSCEs this week, think carefully about what career options are available to you on qualification and don’t be afraid to try them all.
Think big and enjoy all of what optics has to offer.
Have you gone off the beaten track? Share where optometry has taken you and what you have most enjoyed in your career so far on the AOP’s community forums