CONVERSATIONS WITH… An Optometrist

This vision care specialist describes what she does and why it’s important to take your toddler for an eye check!

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Impressed with the optometry booth at a local polytechnic, Iryn Gan, (now 34), decided to pursue this career option.

“The course is very specialised and it covers detection of eye diseases, management of eye complications, the prescription of eyewear and more,” Gan says.

After graduating with a diploma in optometry, Gan decided to get a degree in the subject at Cardiff University in the UK.

Today as a consultant with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (Acuvue) Singapore, Gan provides training to optometrists, opticians and optometry students. She helps them improve their skills and updates them on the latest contact lens technology in the market.

In particular, Gan says it’s important to stop childhood eye problems from progressing. “Singapore has one of the highest rates of childhood myopia in the world, even though the Health Promotion Board recently reported that the rate has remained stable over the past decade,” she notes.

Hi Iryn, could you tell us more about your job scope and what a typical day is like for you?
As a consultant, I visit optometrists in optical shops to share my experiences and practice management techniques, so as to enhance their clinical skills. I am also a visiting optometrist at United Eyecare (@unitedeyecare), and through this, I am able to keep in touch with the optical retail industry to better understand the challenges faced by optometrists and opticians. I’m also a mum of two, so I’m constantly trying to juggle work and family life!

 

Young children who develop myopia early in life tend to have higher eye degrees and face a higher risk of eye problems later in life.

Indeed, since you’re a mum yourself, what are some of the most pressing eye issues/problems you see with kids today?
Young children who develop myopia early in life tend to have higher eye degrees and face a higher risk of eye problems later in life. It is very important to control the progression of childhood myopia as it can progress very quickly.

Strabismus (squint), amblyopia (lazy eye) and color vision deficiency are also quite common in children. Early detection is important because treatment tends to be more effective when the child is younger. Untreated strabismus and amblyopia may lead to permanent visual impairment.

Since you mentioned myopia, is there any way to stop it from progressing?
The ways to control myopia progression includes practising good eye care habits, wearing myopia control glasses or special contact lenses, and using atropine eye drops. Parents should talk to their eye care professional to decide which method best suits their needs.