Pooja's student placement at IEC

25 March 2019

Pooja Bhindi

My name is Pooja and I am currently in my fifth year of Optometry at Flinders University. I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to spend the past six weeks with the amazing and talented team at Innovative Eye Care at Hutt Street.

During my placement I have been able to work with some of the highest quality equipment and talented optometrists that has allowed me to be exposed to some of the highest quality eye care in Australia. I have been able to gain knowledge and experience in areas that are not usually seen in other optometric practices, a few of which include; binocular vision training, myopia control, orthokeratology and scleral contact lenses. What I have learnt most during my placement at IEC is just how incredible the scope of optometric practice can be, and that there is no limit to always pushing the boundaries of current technology and practice to provide the best optometric care for every patient.

An area that I had never been exposed to previously was scleral contact lenses, in particular for the management of keratoconus. These patients have irregular corneas which can cause them to be legally blind without appropriate visual correction (and spectacles tend to offer little visual improvement). It was very humbling and heart-warming to see the reaction and sheer happiness of these patients when they wear their first scleral lens and see their vision go from legally blind to 6/6 almost instantly!

Another area that I found particularly interesting is myopia control. Many people are unaware of the risks of permanent vision impairment that high myopia can cause. During my time at IEC I have seen both ends of myopia, from the pathologic myopia causing patients to be irreversibly blind, to children who are only just starting to become myopic. By seeing the potential devastating effects of high myopia first hand, I now understand just how important myopia control and stopping its progression is. This can be done by using atropine eye drops or orthokeratology lenses that have been proven to slow down (and sometimes even halt) the growth of the eye.

Orthokeratology lenses was an area that I found fascinating, as I had never been exposed to this previously. These are contact lenses that are worn overnight to remould the cornea so that during the day the refractive error is corrected and there is no need to wear any spectacles or contact lenses. This is useful not only in myopia control, but also for presbyopia, hyperopia and people whose lifestyle does not suit spectacles.

I am very fortunate and grateful to have spent the past six weeks with the team at IEC. I have gained knowledge and experience that will allow me to grow professionally and become the best optometrist that I can be.