What we’ve been up to

/What we've been up to

Research at Gerry & Johnson

Did you know Gerry & Johnson Optometrists are involved in clinical in-practice and international research projects?

Kate is busy working on her PhD, researching the optics of OrthoK and eye muscle coordination, which is due to be completed in July. All of the data for this research was collected from the practice, with our special PhD participants being involved in the key data collection phase from 2014 to 2016.

Kate and Paul are also working on an international research collaboration which will measure signs of UV damage and their effect on reading focus across a number of countries.

Kate & Paul returned back from a trip to Las Vegas in January to give presentations & learn about the latest treatments with contact lenses at the Global Specialty Lens Symposium Conference.

Paul (pictured above) is directing a new set of contact lens studies investigating new designs, for which we have been recruiting QUT School of Optometry students, who get to learn about contact lenses while participating in research. One day in February, we had 10 participants in the practice until 8pm that night trialing three different types of soft lenses for fit and comfort differences. We fed them pizza to show our appreciation!

Kate broke her ankle

On Saturday 11th February Kate, along with her husband Paul and stepson Jack, started on the Overland Track in Tasmania. After a long day climbing a mountain and trekking along thin boards in horizontal freezing rain, they were descending earth/stone steps only 15 minutes from the conclusion of the day’s walking, when Kate rolled her ankle outwards and heard a pop. Yuk. A fractured fibula.

She got a free helicopter ride to Hobart and also enjoyed her first ambulance and wheelchair ride, and now has 6 weeks in a cast. It was an adventure; just not quite the adventure she’d hoped!

If you’ve ever had crutches before you’ll know they’re mega tiring to use, so our wonderful staff will be escorting you to and from Kate’s consultation room, and Kate will also be asking some help from her colleague optometrists Felicity and Natalie.

Thank you for your patience while Kate’s mobility is impaired over the next several weeks.

By | 2017-03-02T11:49:38+00:00 2nd March 2017|What we've been up to|0 Comments

Volunteer eye exams in Mexico

VOSH International is a volunteer group that brings eye examinations and glasses to those who cannot afford eye health care in developing countries around the world. I was lucky enough to have embarked on their mission to Tecalitlan, a small town in Mexico, in November last year. The mission group included 3 Optometrists from USA and Canada, 7 optometry students from the Queensland University of Technology (including myself), 9 optometry students from the Illinois College of Optometry and several volunteers who helped in pre-testing, dispensing and translating.

Collectively, we saw over 3500 patients over 8 days with approximately 2800 patients requiring glasses. I had seen more eye disease and other ocular conditions in these 8 days than I had ever seen in Australia. Almost every patient had visible sun damage to their eyes (pterygiums and pingueculae), a large percentage of the aging patients had advanced cataracts, many had high blood pressure and diabetes with consequent damage to their retina (some were advanced and needed urgent attention), along with untreated glaucoma and macular degeneration. It was also very common to see patients with immensely high uncorrected vision, and not being able to afford glasses meant that they have lived their entire lives not knowing clear vision until the day we gave them glasses. Almost all of these patients were unaware of the current state of their eye health, all they knew was that their vision was deteriorating and they never understood why.

We live in a first world country where the luxury of health care is so easily accessible. Rarely would any of these conditions be seen so advanced in their time course due to preventative therapy, early detection and access to effective and safe treatment options. Not only was this trip incredibly eye opening, but it was also very humbling to witness how these people could be so happy and content despite the little that they had. I can honestly say that this trip had taught me so much more than I could ever imagine, and not only in the aspect of optometry, but also from the people. I will always be grateful for this experience and could only hope that our time in Tecalitlan has helped change the lives of the people we saw for the better.

For more information on VOSH International and their mission, please visit http://vosh.org/. You can also do your part to help by donating to the cause, every little bit helps!


By | 2017-03-08T09:40:33+00:00 1st March 2017|What we've been up to|0 Comments

Tasmanian Lifestyle Congress wrap up!

This past weekend, Kate, Paul and myself braved the incredibly chilly Hobart weather to attend the 11th Tasmanian Lifestyle Congress (TLC). It was a weekend sure to be filled with fun, an exciting private viewing of the artworks in the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and of course, lots of nerdy learning!

Both Saturday and Sunday were jam packed full of interesting lecture topics ranging from kids’ vision (we had particular interest in this!), retinal disease, novel lenses for people with significant vision loss and good nutrition for the eye. Sunday morning over a delicious breakfast, Paul presented a lecture on the history of orthokeratology which highlighted the improvements in orthoK technology (lens designs, assessment techniques etc) over the past few decades. Sunday afternoon, Kate presented a lecture on myopia control in kids – one of her biggest optometric passions and a lecture she has presented at conferences around the world. It was very inspiring watching and listening to two people who are so passionate about optometry and what we as optometrists can do for our patients!

Amongst all the learning, we managed to explore the sites of Hobart – including an incredibly quick visit to the Salamanca markets in the wind, rain and freezing temperatures! My Aunt and Uncle, local Hobart residents all their lives, took me to a lovely French inspired cafe in Battery Point (oldest part of Hobart) for breakfast on Saturday morning. I was excited to wander around the Salamanca markets but as it was a particularly unfavourable day weather-wise, I only lasted about five minutes before hightailing it back to the warmth of the hotel! I may be a well seasoned shopper, but even I couldn’t do much damage in that time!

Saturday was the Congress Dinner at MONA. We had an hour where the museum was only open to us so we could explore and check out the artwork. One of my personal favourite installations was the ‘Waterfall wonder’ – random words cascade down the sandstone backdrop to represent the flood of words/information we are constantly exposed to. There are some pretty ‘out there’ artworks at MONA too but I’ll leave it to you to Google search what I am talking about!

All in all, TLC was a great conference with a relaxed and welcoming vibe where I learnt lots of new things, met some wonderful colleagues around the country and got to spend some time in beautiful Hobart.

By | 2018-06-28T07:03:01+00:00 3rd September 2015|General Eye Interest, What we've been up to|0 Comments