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Research rewards

Optometrist and clinical researcher at the National Institute for Health Research, Jasleen Jolly, speaks to OT  about the satisfaction she gets from being a researcher and why optometrists make good researchers

Jasleen Jolly

“Research is absolutely fascinating, no two days are the same, you get to really use your brain and delve deep into the questions,” optometrist and clinical researcher at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Jasleen Jolly, enthused.

Speaking about her role, which sees her based at Oxford Eye Hospital, Ms Jolly explained that her work is based on trying to help improve vision therapies by better understanding the physiology of the eye and what is going on within it.

Having spent her early career as a hospital optometrist, Ms Jolly is very passionate about research position that she is now in. “I love the hope that we can give to patients,” she said.  

Sharing insight into the role, Ms Jolly explained: “A lot of the work I am doing is with the patient population that has no treatment options; no real help in the past.”

“But now we can say that there is something that we can do for you, we can come back and try and help you. It is just amazing to be able to try to do that,” she added. 

Ms Jolly acknowledges that traditionally a lot of ophthalmology research has been done by ophthalmologists. However, she highlights that optometrists are now required. “Now, because we are working with conditions where traditional tests are not good enough…we need to bring in optometry more and more into that to use our expertise in order to assess how the therapy is working,” she explained. 

Ms Jolly believes that optometrists make good researchers because: “We are already following that process within our consultations. When a patient comes in, we take a history, we try to establish what the problem is, we do assessments, we put all of the information together to come up with a solution and try to figure out what’s going on – that’s basically what research is.” And she encourages practitioners to consider this career path.