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Specialist eye care

Dr Louise Gow speaks to OT  about her professional passions

12 Apr 2019 by Dr Ian Beasley BSc (Hons), DOptom, MCOptom

Dr Louise Gow is the specialist lead for eye health, Royal National Institute of Blind People. She manages the eye health information service, which co-authors eye health information booklets and factsheets, and provides an eye health helpline for patients, carers and allied health professionals. She also manages the integrated optometric and rehabilitation low vision service. Dr Gow also works in primary eye care at Cole, Martin and Tregaskis Optometrists in Brentwood.

What is your professional passion?

Providing eye care for hard to reach or special need groups particularly those with learning or communication disabilities. I am also passionate about providing low vision services in the community.

What are you most proud of?

Completing my professional doctorate through the Institute of Optometry and London South Bank University, while working and bringing up two children. It has opened doors to new career options within as well as being a personal achievement that I would never have thought possible when I was training.

What do you like most and least about your working day?

I really dislike managing budgets and HR admin, which requires a strong cup of coffee and total silence. I love the variety in my work and no two days are the same; teaching, testing, and writing health literature. Most of all though, meeting people with visual impairment whose coping skills make them truly inspiring. 

How do you manage a work/life balance?

Don’t tell my boss, but my children always come first, even now they are at university and much more independent. In order to do that, I use Office 365 so I can keep on top of my emails in a flexible manner. This might mean working in the evening, but that is ok as long as my family have my attention when they need me.

What do you do to unwind?

For over 30 years I have been a fan of The Alarm and so I go to concerts when I can, but I listen to all sorts of music to unwind.

You have won the OT lottery. What are the first three things you would do with the £1m jackpot?

Fund my children’s university courses so they don’t have huge debts when they finish their undergraduate courses. There probably won’t be much left after that but, if there is, I’ve wanted to visit Iceland and see the Northern Lights. And I’d donate to Vision Care for Homeless People, which is an amazing charity providing eye care and spectacles for a very vulnerable group of society.

Do you have your next holiday booked?

Not yet, but it will almost certainly be Italy. Sunshine for my husband and sightseeing for me.

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