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  • 3 Nov 2017 11:01 PM | Anonymous

    Tell us a little about yourself (quirky habits or favourite things etc)

    I love playing sports like squash and snowboarding but I seem to injure myself all the time. However, It doesn’t matter that I get a new cut or bruise every time, tear ligaments and break toenails, I’ll still go back for more!

    How did you end up in optometry as a career?

    I was probably like a lot of young kids, coming out of school with no idea what I was doing. It just seemed like a clean easy course to study. How wrong was I about it being an easy course to study!

    What are you most passionate about outside of optometry?

    Probably all my sports like snowboarding, scuba diving, squash and tennis! Need that adrenaline rush!

    How would you spend your free time?

    Mostly catching up with friends either over dinner and drinks or playing the above sports!

    Most embarrassing moment?

    Forgetting patient names... it happens on a daily basis since we see so many people. But most embarrassing was probably when I forgot the patients name and called them something else in the 30 mins they were sitting outside waiting for their dilation!

    What inspired you to join YO as a subcommittee member?

    I feel like optometry is being steered too much in one direction and I don’t know if it’s a good direction. So it’s time to try even up the playing field a bit!

    If you had one superpower, what would it be?

    Probably immortality because with enough time, anything can be figured out and I’d love to see how technology and especially space travel changes with time! Maybe we can eventually figure out teleportation in the future like some of the other members picked so I wouldn’t need to wish for that!

    What is your current favourite phrase?

    Every failure is a step closer to success. I would know that the best...

  • 3 Nov 2017 10:36 PM | Anonymous

    Tell us a little about yourself (quirky habits or favourite things etc):

    I am a Korea-born Kiwi, who moved to Australia in 2012 after finishing my Optometry degree from University of Auckland. I have worked as a full time optom, travelled all over NSW as a locum as well as working for the Specsavers head office for a short while. I currently live in Sydney with my husband and two adorable dogs!

    How did you end up in optometry as a career?
    In my first year at uni, while I studied Biomedical science, I applied for Optometry as it sounded like a great profession where you get to help, problem solve for people in a clinical environment, without the crazy working hours. The more I studied, the more I enjoyed what it was about!

    What are you most passionate about outside of optometry?
    Dogs! I absolutely love dogs and I'm looking at volunteering for RSPCA.

    How would you spend your free time?
    Travelling and finding good restaurants with my husband.

    Most embarrassing moment?
    During a consultation, as I was sitting back down on my stool (it was one of those saddle chairs) I didn't sit far back enough,slipped and fell on the floor in front of a patient!

    What inspired you to join YO as a subcommittee member?
    I often heard from Melody how she enjoys working with YO and she has met so many amazing people. This got me quite interested as I love meeting new people and socialising! Also I loved the idea of YO - how it brings young optoms together and provides education as well as lots of fun!

    If you had one superpower, what would it be?
    Teleport. So I could visit my family in Korea whenever I want to!

    What is your current favourite phrase?
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

  • 1 Nov 2017 10:13 PM | Anonymous

    The anticipated Bali Wellness 2018 retreat is here. 

    Click bali wellness retreat 2018.pdf for the brochure, it contains the itinerary, information on how to sign up and more.

    It will take place between May 19th to May 26th 2018 in Ubud, Bali. It will be guided by Beata Alfoldi a renowned transformation teacher. Early bird price of $2250 if you book before December 31st ($2500) excluding flights. Freshly prepared organic vegetarian meals, accommodation and airport transfer are included. There will be workshops, yoga, salt baths, sauna and herbal steam. Open to all optometrists, family and friends but places are limited. Any questions? Email

  • 5 Oct 2017 8:29 PM | Anonymous

    Young Optometrist is a non-profit organisation aimed to assist optometrist in their first 10 years of practice and address needs specific to young professionals who are paving their path in the optometric profession. Carina, along with Megan Tu, Rebecca Li, Rajeev Naidu, Jack Phu and Chris Pooley, was actually one of the founding memberes of YO. She has been an amazing Chair and has really built something to be proud of. After 5 years, it will be sad to see Carina go, however I'm sure she has more amazing things in store for the near future.

    "YO has come such a long way since our humble beginnings in 2012, now providing quality tailored education, insightful sessions, and awesome Xmas parties year on year. As with everything in the world, YO continues to evolve. I am ever so grateful for the priceless experiences, life lessons, friends, and opportunities that YO has provided me with. I've been extremely privileged to have been able to represent YO during my term alongside incredible committee members, and could not be happier to introduce to you all our next chair: Rose Huang. 

    Rose is a dedicated Optometrist, with a huge heart, fantastic leadership skills, and damn, can she lift. I have complete confidence in Rose to lead Young Optometrists NSW/ACT." 

    - Carina Trinh, Outgoing Chair 

    Carina will be passing on the baton to Rose Huang who will be our new chair. 

    "Hi guys, for those who don’t know me I’m Rose and I’m thrilled to be your new chair. Our aim has always been to help create opportunities for you guys, promote career development and facilitate networking, all whilst providing a friendly learning environment. 

    We have a fantastic team here at YO and I am excited to be a part of it. I would like to acknowledge Carina, our previous chair and one of the founding members of YO. She has helped establish such an amazing organization and her passion and hard work has not gone unnoticed. 

    YO is made up of an amazing group of people and without everyone’s hard work and dedication we would not be where we are today. We look forward to providing even bigger and better things for you and building on what we have done so far!" 

    - Rose Huang, Chair of Young Optometrists NSW/ACT

  • 3 Oct 2017 8:09 PM | Anonymous

    Introducing Anna! Anna joined YO earlier this year and is now a part of our executive committee. You might have seen her about - she MC'd at our latest workshop for foreign body removals, lacriminal lavage and double eyelid eversion. Anna is now writing our monthly newsletters, keep your eyes peeled for her latest work! 

    Tell us a little about yourself (quirky habits or favourite things etc)

    I like laughing and making people laugh. I seem to have a habit of getting myself into trouble. Good thing is I have gotten myself into trouble so many times I'm also good at getting myself out of it. I got a lot of funny stories to tell. 

    How did you end up in optometry as a career? 

    I have always wanted to do optometry.I have always enjoyed science and working with people.

    What are you most passionate about outside of optometry? 

    I am passionate about being vegetarian and animal rights.

    How would you spend your free time? 

    I'm a homebody, I like to stay home catch up on house chores. Listening to music, watching shows, going to interesting talks, swimming and yoga.

    Most embarrassing moment?

    Getting trapped in a lift not long ago. I was 45 minutes late and I walked into the wrong building and that building was closed. Managed to get myself out. I panicked even more because I watched a movie about being trapped and dying in a lift. The movie was called 'i origins". It so happened to be a movie that was about eyes too, funnily enough.

    What inspired you to join YO as a subcommittee member? 

    I think we have a great community at YO and that workshops and events were awesome. I enjoyed them especially because I was working in practice without a mentor. There are so many benefits of being a YO member. Its my way of giving back.

    If you had one superpower, what would it be?

    It would be to fly, to wherever I want to be. 

    What is your current favourite phrase? 

    Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

  • 24 Sep 2017 11:11 PM | Anonymous

    Sarah Pham has been helping plan events with YO even before she had graduated! In fact Sarah is one now one of our executive members and together with other amazing YO committee members she has been working on the YO Christmas Party (Friday 24th November 2017). Don't forget the Christmas party is free for all full members! Hope to see you there.

    Get to know Sarah a bit better and keep reading!

    Tell us a little about yourself (quirky habits or favourite things etc):

    H’yall!! I’m Sarah, a 23yo working and living in the hustling and bustling city of Sydney (more towards South West Sydney). First impressions of me are usually nice, loud, bubbly and a little bit crazy (just a little!).

    How did you end up in optometry as a career?

    To be honest it was an accident! I initially wanted to be a vet but when I did some work experience, I found out that it didn’t suit me as much even though I love animals (still do!). One day, I was just looking through the list of university degrees and I stumbled on optometry. I tried it out and ended up loving it!

    What are you most passionate about outside of optometry?

    Social psychology is really exciting to me! Soooo personality tests are always fun :)

    How would you spend your free time?

    I’m always looking for new things to do with my friends and family. This ranges from trying new cafes and restaurants, participating in different activities such as karaoke, paintball, rock-climbing and movies just to name a few! On the other spectrum, I’ll be working on developing myself so I’ll be at the gym, doing hapkido or attempting to cook (huge emphasis on attempt).

    Majority of the time, my schedule is super packed but I do love the occasional chill and lazy days where I’m at home and catching up on my favourite TV shows!

    Most embarrassing moment?  

    To this day, no one can seemingly explain how I am able to trip over absolutely nothing so often...

    What inspired you to join YO as a subcommittee member?

    It was very natural how I joined YO. It started off with me enquiring about YO’s agenda and motivations and then it followed through to me befriending them then I ended up offering a helping hand and contributing to the planing of events over the last couple of years. Afterwards the subcommittee member application was extended to me and I responded in kind.

    It all happened so naturally that I cannot pinpoint my exact inspiration, it all just fell into place.

    If you had one superpower, what would it be?

    It would be amazing if I could teleport! Think about all the possibilities! I would be able to get to anywhere at anytime. Also, cutting down travel time means that I would have so much more time to spent on more valuable things.

    What is your current favourite phrase?

    The number of mistakes and the regrets in your life are not what define you. It is how you learn from it and move that is important :)

  • 18 Sep 2017 10:11 PM | Anonymous

    Abdul was our amazing presenter at the Foreign Body, Lacrimal Lavage and Double Eyelid Eversion Workshop. He has now joined our executive team and is an integral part in our YO family! Keep reading to get to know him a bit better...

    Tell us a little about yourself (quirky habits or favourite things etc):

    I’m a pretty stress-free take it easy kind of guy. I like spending quality time with people; one on ones or with a small bunch of friends rather than large groups. Habits and hobbies include being meticulous and taking my time inspecting and deciphering new things.

    How did you end up in optometry as a career?
    Thought it would be a chill career, not having to worry about taking work home while still being in a respected field.

    What are you most passionate about outside of optometry?
    I am passionate about family and keeping an active life.

    How would you spend your free time?
    Enjoy playing all different kinds of sports. You name it and I’m up for it!

    Most embarrassing moment?
    Embarrassing moments are plentiful, but it’s always sheepish trying to think of something while answering these types of questions.

    What inspired you to join YO as a subcommittee member?
    I’d like to broaden and deepen my understanding by committing myself to an educational role to both help myself and my peers excel.

    If you had one superpower, what would it be?
    I think if you’re going to have a superpower, you’ve gotta go big, so i’m going to say immortality.

    What is your current favourite phrase?
    My current favourite phrase is “Be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it.”

  • 11 Sep 2017 10:15 PM | Anonymous

    You may have noticed we have recently been introducing members of the YO Subcommittee (see here for the last one). These members are dedicated, working countless hours voluntarily to shape YO and provide the best possible experience and opportunities for you!

    Introducing Sarah Tait! Sarah joined us earlier this year and her passion and dedication is absolutely amazing. Want to know more about Sarah? Keep reading!

    Tell us a little about yourself?

    I am from NZ and moved to Australia a little over 3 years ago. I love living on the Central Coast NSW. I spend a lot of time at the beach. The relaxed lifestyle is great! I love chocolate, Grey’s Anatomy and my boyfriend’s dog Gary.

    How did you end up in optometry as a career?

    Straight after school I spent 12 months in Italy. I applied for uni when I was still in Europe and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I ended up doing a science degree which I really enjoyed but I realised that I didn’t want to go into research full time. When I finished my BSc, a friend of mine had just finished her first year of Optometry. She was loving Optometry and suggested that I apply. I am very glad that I did, I love working as an Optometrist. It is a great mix of science, health care and problem solving.

    What are you most passionate about outside of optom?

    Volunteer work, but I as I volunteer as an optometrist that isn’t really outside optometry! I am also passionate about travelling. I go on at least one overseas trip a year (not including going back to NZ to visit friends and family). This year I went to China in April and I am going to Cambodia in November.

    How do you spend your free time?

    I love to brunch! I also like to catch up with friends, my boyfriend, go to the beach and walk the dog. At lot of my time off is also spent travelling back to NZ.

    Most embarrassing moment?

    Honestly can’t remember, must have been so traumatic that I blocked it out!

    What inspired you to join YO as a subcommittee member?

    I really enjoyed going to YO events and hanging out with other YOs. I saw how hard the people on the committee worked and I wanted to do what I could to help them out so that YO can continue to deliver great events and advocate for young Optoms.

    If you had one superpower, what would it be?

    Teleportation, travelling would be so much cheaper if I didn’t have to pay for flights! Also it would be great to be able to teleport back to NZ at short notice!

    What is your current favourite phrase?

    No one ever died wishing they had done more housework!

    Along with everyone in the team (especially the lovely Teresa Bui!), Sarah has been an integral part in the planning of the Mix and Mingle. Following the success of last year’s Mix and Mingle this year’s will be held on Saturday 16th September 7pm at the Mercure Sydney. This is an unique event to YO which aims to provide young optometrists with insight into different scopes of practice. Have you ever wondered what the future holds for optometry, or even for your career? Have you been thinking of cutting your hours, or increasing your hours to suit your lifestyle? Are there certain areas of practice that really interest you but you just don’t know who to ask? If you answered yes to any of these, this is the perfect event for you! It will feature renowned, experienced optometrist who have specialised in certain areas, business owners and/or lead exciting lifestyles that may appeal to you. 

  • 28 Aug 2017 11:25 PM | Anonymous

    Interview with Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute

    by Kevin Shaw

    Last week I was fortunate enough to catch up with Professor Kovin Naidoo over Skype. Below is an invaluable insight for Young Optometrists looking to get more involved in the public health sector. His story epitomises a life dedicated to giving vision to everyone, everywhere. 

    Richard: Thank you for taking the time to have a chat. Firstly, you are obviously very passionate about eye care. Have you ever wanted to get involved in other aspects of public health? For example clean water projects, vaccine programs etc.

    Kovin: Given my roots in South Africa I think I would have been involved in the HIV/AIDs campaign. It has devastated a large portion of our population. When I was choosing between Optometry and general medicine, if I chose medicine I would have got involved in HIV/ AIDs.

    R: How much do you currently travel as CEO of Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI)? Where are you based?

    K: I am now based in Sydney. Our other major office is in Durban, South Africa so I do go back and forth. The job involves a lot of travel as the BHVIhas worked in 54 countries.

    R: You currently serve on the board of many organisations, how much overlap is there between being on the board of the World Council of Optometry, Vision 2020 and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) for example? To what extent do they work together?

    K: The good thing about the eyecare space is that it is a fairly defined community, there is a great deal of overlap, you meet different organisations in different forums etc. The bad thing about it is that it is mainly eyecare people and increasingly the main discussion is how do we create campaigns and efforts that interface with the broader community and civil society. Whether it is organisations involved in child rights or labour issues or organisations worried about road safety because at the end of the day vision is not a narrow health issue, it has other socio economic implications whether it is education for children or work for adults. So it makes sense for us to really go outside that box. 

    R: Over the years have you seen a change in the dynamics between Ophthalmology and Optometry in the public health space?

    K: I think the positive thing in the public health space is that Optometry and Ophthalmology are working very closely together. When I was elected chair of the IAPB in South Africa, the majority of IAPB members were from Ophthalmology. Since we worked so closely together the issue was not what profession you were from it was about what you can bring to the table for our collective purpose. All my co-chairs except one were ophthalmologists. As a result of that cooperation, almost all of the schools of optometry that the BHVI helped set up were supported by local ophthalmologists. I think it’s a good thing. I think in the private sector there is always a contestation and an issue in terms of relations but in the public sector we have worked together very successfully.

    R: You have a Masters in Public Health and a PhD from UNSW, are these necessary for Optometrists who want to work in the public health sector? 

    K: I think it is very important to have a broader understanding. I did my Masters in Public Health in the USA. It was very much around understanding epidemiology, program planning and evaluation, health promotion and within that it was about how you advocate for better health and health systems management. These are skills that help you to define strategy within eyecare. For example, increasingly we have come to realise we cannot solely be providing service delivery; we need to look at health promotion. If you look at the myopia crisis that the world is facing, in developed countries such as Australia, the solution is not us as non-government organisations going and providing services, people already have easy access to Optometric services but there is a huge importance for health promotion campaigns to get parents more sensitive to the fact that myopia progression is a major public health issue of our time and that they need to do something about it. I think a Public Health degree allows you to see health in a more holistic way.

    The PhD is usually something that allows you to focus more on your core influence of study. So I did my PhD on epidemiological studies within that space because I wanted to learn more and take that skill to another level. 

    R: Did you yourself think a PhD was a good idea or did someone like Professor Brien Holden encourage you to do it?

    K: Actually at that time I did not want to do a PhD because BHVI was growing so fast, we were on the road perpetually; the challenges on us were enormous. The university system demands a PhD of you. If you do not have a PhD you cannot lecture and supervise students and we were recruiting a lot of students to do socially relevant research and I needed to supervise. The masters gave me a lot of skills. If I had a choice at that time I would not have done it. I think doing a PhD forces you to subspecialise, it allowed me to stop and focus on what I am interested in, to go deeper and that has become my research focus now.

    R: What can Australian Optometrists in private practice do to support sustainable optometry in other countries? Maybe get involved in teaching at universities? What would be a good first step in the public health sector?

    K: Volunteering for a sustainable effort is good. If you want to go overseas, make sure you link up with the local optometry school, impart your knowledge and help the students. Make sure that there is some sustainable outcome from your trip. Just going and providing eyecare services for a small number of people and leaving is not the most ideal thing. Getting involved with projects that talk about sustainability and empower the people in those countries to make a difference is a great thing to do. 

    If I was a young Australian optometrist, I think we are at a junction in our history as a profession where we should be asking what should we be doing in Australia first because if you look at the myopia epidemic we have a major crisis looming in the world and I think there is an opportunity for young Optometrists to ask what can we do to become knowledgeable about myopia control. It is more than just about being a private practice income generator.What can we do to create greater awareness of myopia control? To invest in school programs to educate kids and parents? What can we do to influence public policy to increase children’s time spent outdoors?Of course if you are interested in working in poorer communities in Australia or globally you can take that forward as well.

    R: What about getting involved in BHVI?

    K: There are many different things that Optometrists do interfacing with us. Firstly there is postgraduate work such as PhD etc. Some work in public health programs, implementing programs either clinically or managing programs. Then we have research Optometrists in our clinics that see patients as part of our myopia research or our presbyopia research or our ocular comfort research etc. So those are the various levels of interaction. And now we are also interested in developing entrepreneurship models that can increase access to eyecare. So some optometrists we have working with us have a good business sense and they combine that with a public health sense to be able to support entrepreneurship for development.

    R: Is funding the main thing holding back optometry in developing countries? What about the Haiti Optometry School project, how was that funded?

    K: Funding is a major issue. The Haiti project is a culmination of various schools of optometry that we have set up in different parts of the world, the first one we did was in Malawi followed closely by Mozambique and it costs us in excess of 3 million dollars to do each one. The problem is that funders do not find that sexy. Funders like projects where you do an eye camp and you take nice pictures where the children are smiling etc. The reality is that we at BHVI decided to do this because it is the right thing to do. What it has done is create a generation of optometrist in Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya, and Mali as well as in Vietnam. It is creating generations of optometrists who would be able to serve their people on their own and would be able to make our services obsolete.

    This is the true approach to development. Development is not about dependency; it is about creating independence for those you interact with. They get the skills and resources to do it on their own. We see the BHVI as a catalytic organisation rather than an organisation that wants to entrench itself in these projects. Governments are very keen, as I told you through the IAPB collaborations we are getting a lot of support from Ophthalmology for this but the issue is that we need more funding. That’s why in Haiti it was important to bring a coalition of organisations together and hopefully with Optometry Giving Sight we can get the kind of money we need for that.

    R: I am very happy to hear that countries which have never had optometric coverage before are finally getting it.

    K: Unfortunately it is the reality for many African countries even LatinAmericancountries; you have millions of people who do not have access to an optometrist.

    R: Which countries currently stand out as having the poorest access to eyecare?

    K: Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. We do a lot of work in PNG as well. We have a presence in India as well as many Africancountries, which is where I would say the biggest need is. We also have an office in Bogotá, Columbia because there are some Latin American countries that don't have access to Optometrists so we provide assistance to them in different ways.

    R: What does the next 10 years look like for the BHVI?

    K: One of the things we have done is we have focused our efforts around a key strategic priority and that key strategic priority is myopia. We see ourselves expanding our research in the myopia space both in spectacle lenses and contact lenses. We have launched a global campaign called Our Children's Vision where we hope to reach 50 million children by the year 2020. We have 70 plus organisations who have joined that coalition including non-eye care organisations like Save the Children etc. So we want to expand that collaboration and opportunity. Through those efforts we can expand the impact that we can make.

    We have come to the realisation we need to be more focused and you may have seen the paper that we published where we found 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050 and 20% of those will be greater than -5.00DS which comes with it increased risk of glaucoma, cataracts etc. So we think the world is on the cusp of one of the biggest public health challenges of our time and its unique compared to all the campaigns for malaria, trachoma etc. because it affects both the developed and developing world so this is a truly global crisis we are facing. Lifestyle changes are happening all over the world so we see ourselves focusing on that with our research as well as education through our myopia education programs.

    R: Thank you for your time Professor Naidoo.

    Links you may be interested in:

    Brien Holden Vision Institute:

    World Council of Optometry:

    International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness:

    Vision 2020 Australia:

    Our Children’s Vision campaign:

  • 8 Jul 2017 5:26 PM | Anonymous
    By now, you've been seeing the name Rose Huang a lot, but you may be wondering, who is this person? Is she for real? Does she actually exist? Well, we are proud to say she is! And she is a super star in YO. Would you like to learn more about Rose? We interviewed her recently and would love to share what we found out about her, which you can read all about here
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