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 rounding off the first half of her placement by applying the knowledge she’s gained to her first paediatric consultation.

This month marks the halfway point of my six-month clinical residency, as well as the end of my rural placement at Specsavers Traralgon.

The Specsavers Traralgon team have made me feel like one of their own and made the first three months of my clinical residential placement an amazing and unforgettable experience. I have learnt so many things from everyone there – not only on dispensing and optometry but also many life lessons.

I am now able to more accurately and confidently adjust frames – a skill I lacked at the beginning of placement. The Traralgon practice also exposed me to patients of many ages. I was able to see patients as young as two years old as well as more elderly patients.

The optometrist at Specsavers Traralgon was well versed in assessing children and taught me to always try my best and not to get frustrated if I was unable to perform all the tests and get all the data in a single consultation. It is more important to engage the child, and build up rapport and trust with both the parent and the child.

With this knowledge, I was able to perform my first paediatric consultation with a young girl in prep. It was her first eye exam and she was a little shy, but after she saw that optometrists are not so scary after all, she opened up to me and allowed me to perform simple tests such as vision, Ishihara, stereopsis and retinoscopy. I was left with a warm feeling in my heart and an even more heart-warming picture that she drew for me.

I have seen a variety of weird and wonderful conditions and pathology ranging from keratoconus to Fuch’s heterochromic iridocyclitis, and as mentioned in my last blog post, the latter actually became my university case report topic. It was quite interesting to see that some conditions are best left untreated, such as in the case of heterochromia where the inflammation is considered low-grade, making steroid treatment unnecessary as it could do more harm than good in the long run. The presentation of the condition itself is fascinating as it presents with different coloured irises.

The last couple of weeks have been a transition period for me. I had to mentally and physically prepare myself to leave Traralgon and move into my next placement at Specsavers Karingal. I am both sad to leave and excited to meet the new team at my next practice. I know that it will be full of new challenges and opportunities that I cannot wait to dive right into!

Previous: Christmas, case reports and clinical forums
Next: Going metro from a rural practice