In this monthly blog, final year Deakin University optometry student Yvonne Koh shares her experiences as she undertakes her clinical placement with Specsavers. This month, she talks about the Clinical Forum Specsavers held for placement students prior to Christmas and the other responsibilities she’s had to juggle alongside her time in-store.

It was good to be able to spend time with friends and family and take a well-earned break over Christmas, but after a restful and satisfying festive season, it was time to return to placement. The residency has flown by so fast, with the first term nearly over. In the past two months, there have been weekly online cases to complete and case reports to write for university, Specsavers forums to attend, and daily record-keeping of patients via our university logbook – in addition to in-store work.

It has been quite challenging having to balance work, placement and university, but at the end of the day, it has taught me to become more organised and prepared. For example, knowing my university case report was due two weeks from the Christmas break, I made sure to keep my eyes peeled for an interesting case during placement. Initially, I was quite stressed out waiting for a suitable case to come up, but luckily, I was able to observe an interesting case of Fuchs’ heterochromic iridocyclitis, which will be the basis of my report.

Just before Christmas, Specsavers held a Clinical Forum at its Port Melbourne Support Office for all the placement students. It was great to see fellow peers’ faces again and be able to share our experiences.

The forum provided me with tips on recognising and diagnosing glaucoma, including the ‘4-3-2-1’ rule. This rule, which can help improve inter-practitioner consistency when it comes to identifying the risk and progression of glaucoma, involves starting from the inner disc and moving towards the outer area as you assess key features to form an opinion on the risk for the eye disease. I thought that this practical and systematic approach was great as it is applicable and easy to follow in an everyday clinical setting.

Number of features to look for starting with 4:

  • 4 – PPA, size, tilt, shape of the disc (colour of rim was also discussed)
  • 3 – Notching, CDR, depth
  • 2 – NFL, haems
  • 1 – Risk of glaucoma: yes, probable, possible, no.

The forum also discussed the future prospect of working for Specsavers as a graduate optometrist. It was all very exciting because it meant that we are that much closer to becoming fully qualified and being able to enter the workforce.

The year has only just begun but it looks to be an exciting and busy one!

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