Central Leader - - NEWS -

Weigh­ing up her op­tions as a school leaver, Jenny Ogier chose to study an op­tom­e­try de­gree at the Univer­sity of Auck­land be­cause she liked science, help­ing peo­ple and prob­lem solv­ing. It was a ca­reer that ticked all those boxes.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing she spent a year in Christchurch be­fore work­ing in prac­tices through­out Auck­land.

In 1994 Mrs Ogier started her own busi­ness, Green­lane Pen­rose Op­tometrist. Be­ing lo­cated in a both a com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial area is good for busi­ness, she says.

Her typ­i­cal day is mainly filled up with ap­point­ments of about 45 min­utes each.

One of the most im­por­tant parts of the ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion is find­ing out a per­son’s med­i­cal his­tory, the Green­lane res­i­dent says.

‘‘I ask peo­ple about their vi­sion, gen­eral health, fam­ily his­tory and any med­i­ca­tion they are tak­ing. That sets up what tests the per­son is go­ing to need.’’

Eye dis­ease tends to af­fect older peo­ple the most but she con­ducts eye health tests on ev­ery­one.

‘‘I’m look­ing for things that prob­a­bly aren’t there but you still have to check. Things like glau­coma and mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion, which is an agere­lated de­te­ri­o­ra­tion to the vi­sion re­cep­tors in the back of the eye.’’

Vi­sion tests iden­tify what peo­ple can see and how well their eyes work as a team.

Binoc­u­lar vi­sion prob­lems are caused by eyes not be­ing used to­gether.

It usu­ally comes as a sur­prise to peo­ple who find out they have this is­sue but there are mus­cle train­ing ex­er­cises they can do which help, she says.

Some of the tests in­volve look­ing into a kind of mi­cro­scope called a slit lamp, read­ing let­ters off a vis­ual acu­ity chart and hav­ing a pho­to­graph taken of the in­side of your eye us­ing a reti­nal cam­era.

‘‘If you want to have a vis­ual record of changes to the eye over time, hav­ing a pic­ture as a base­line is re­ally use­ful,’’ Mrs Ogier says.

Find­ing the so­lu­tion to vi­sion prob­lems is not al­ways straight­for­ward and varies con­sid­er­ably.

‘‘The same


doesn’t work for ev­ery­body so you have to keep think­ing all the time.

‘‘There is al­ways a dif­fer­ent way of do­ing some­thing which might just work for that in­di­vid­ual.’’

There is a lot of va­ri­ety and you never stop learn­ing, she says.

‘‘You could think of it [eye­sight] purely as an op­ti­cal sys­tem but there is a lot more to it.

‘‘We are all per­ceiv­ing the same world but we all per­ceive it dif­fer­ently.

‘‘You can’t just as­sume that ev­ery­body sees and thinks in the same way.’’

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