CPD author Q+A

“There are so many opportunities in the world of optometry”

Kathryn Webber on adapting her teaching methods during the pandemic, the importance of myopia management, and returning to a childhood hobby

horse riders
Getty/Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd

Tell us about your role…

I am a clinical teaching fellow at the University of Bradford, where I have worked since 2014. It’s a varied role comprising of teaching, clinical supervision and research. I have a special interest in complex contact lenses and set up the myopia management clinic at the university in 2016.

What is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced in your career to date?

When COVID-19 hit we had to very quickly figure out how to transfer clinical teaching and assessing to online formats. It was a huge challenge, but we learnt a lot and some of the changes that we put in place worked so well that we kept them once we got back to face-to-face teaching.

What is the most important change that you have witnessed in optometry during your career?

The advent of myopia management, which has changed myopia from a condition that we would simply treat with refractive correction, to something that we can actively manage. These interventions could potentially have a huge impact in reducing ocular disease for patients in the future.

kathryn webber
Kathryn Webber

What advice would you give newly-qualified optometrists?

I always tell my students to try as many things as possible. There are so many opportunities in the world of optometry now, they need to get out there and find out what they love to do.

Who inspires you?

Dr Kate Gifford, an Australian optometrist and researcher who developed the Myopia Profile platform for practitioners and also the website ‘mykidsvision’ for parents of myopic children. It’s a great resource for communicating a complicated topic to parents and children.

Can you tell OT about one of your hobbies?

I returned to horse riding when I turned 40 after a long break, I’m not very good, but I enjoy going to lessons every week and making some slow progress.

Can you tell OT something unexpected about yourself?

I completed a 26-mile walk last year to raise money for Macmillan.

What are you reading/watching at the moment?

I’ve just finished watching Dopesick, which made a serious topic very accessible. I’m now enjoying Schitt’s Creek which is a bit more lighthearted.