View profile

Discovering what you actually do

Discovering what you actually do
By Shivan Sivakumaran • Issue #45 • View online
Kia ora e hoa,
Five years. That’s how long it’s been since I graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Optometry degree. Five years. And I’m still learning about what I do (as an optometrist).
[Optometrists] diagnose and manage various vision abnormalities including refractive errors as well as various eye diseases
After working two jobs and in my third now, this includes:
  • multinational,
  • national-wide,
  • small independent, and
  • public.
I think I understand what an optometrist does.
Yes, we manage refractive error with glasses, use our slit lamps to look at disease. But what we really do is listen to the patient, understand their need and then make sure they understand the solution we offer them.
This took me five years to understand.
Refraction is not numbers printed off an autorefractor. It isn’t even the result of answering the ones and twos. Refraction includes the patient’s needs and their understanding of the solution.
It took me a long time to understand that a 40-year-old noticing their reading slip off, doesn’t mean they immediately need reading glasses. All they required was reassurance, the option to do nothing and come back in 1-2 years.
There is power in doing nothing but monitoring. Less work will actually improve long-term relationships rather than trying to force a quick sale.
Optometry is also about communication. I learnt this at my job working on low vision, which I started almost five years after graduating.
A lot of patients had no idea what was going on with their vision, only that they were losing it.
For example, macular degeneration, in the patients’ minds, meant complete blindness. Although the outcome from end-stage macular degeneration isn’t great, it’s doesn’t lead to complete loss of vision like what these patients thoughts. There is central vision loss, but you still maintain peripheral vision, which is important to know.
The biggest block is mental. Thinking you are going to lose your vision completely will make you give up all hope. Instead, if you know you have some peripheral vision, you have something to work with and are more willing to try low vision aids.
I also think optometrists have skills that go beyond the clinic room, but that’s for another post.
What do you think optometry is? Or what have you discovered about your career that was different to when your first started? Hit reply. I’d love to know.
Thanks for reading and all the best for the week ahead.
Ngā mihi nui,
Shivan :)

My Favourite Things
  1. Podcast How to Become a Successful Freelancer: A Podcast Interview with Marketer-Turned-Freelance-Developer Kyle Prinsloo This is a great podcast about pricing yourself as a freelancer. This doesn’t have to apply just to coders. This can be for any job that requires hiring out your time.
  2. Article Ten Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer by Haseeb Qureshi Again, from a programmer, this can apply to any job. Haseeb is or was a poker pro, and you can see the tactics and games required to get the job and be well compensated for. I wish I had this article saved when negotiating (or lack thereof) for previous jobs.
  3. Book Greenlight by Matthew McConaughey I’ve just started listening to this autobiographical tale. It’s poetic, hilarious and filled with some good life learning tips.
Blog Posts
My TubeStats App (ft. Ali Abdaal) • Shivan Sivakumaran
Kindle Highlight of the Week
If you end up staying in aetiology, you will be bound by the past and never be able to find happiness.
Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga, The Courage to Be Disliked
Did you enjoy this issue?
Shivan Sivakumaran

My life's journey talking about technology 💻, optometry 👓 and a whole variety straight into your inbox every Sunday morning NZT.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Aotearoa, New Zealand