The role of an optometrist
Optometrist Julia Kapov explains how an optometrist can help you on your journey to better health.
Our eyes play such an important function in our lives and optometrists take a leading role in helping us understand the link between the condition of our eyes and our general health and brain health. We ask Optometrist Julia Kabov to describe her role and what it is she loves about working for better health.
Role: Optometrist and Director of JK Eyecare
Job description: First and foremost my role is to provide primary eye care as an optometrist, addressing both eye health and vision concerns. This includes undertaking testing, assessment and diagnosis; and providing vision correction through vision training, glasses or contact lenses. I may also prescribe antibiotics or other topical treatments for ocular conditions if necessary. I may then need to communicate these results with other health providers, refer to ophthalmologists for surgery, or liaise with a GP to set up a co-management strategy to address any particular health concerns. I also have the fun job of selecting spectacle frames and fashion eyewear for my clients.
How does your job contribute to better health?
Although it's a small organ, the eye is a complex structure that is intricately linked to the brain and the body. A variety of general health and brain health issues can manifest as vision symptoms or as changes in the eye, which is something many people don’t appreciate. That’s why eye testing is important. A regular eye test using the latest imaging and diagnostic technologies can help identify early signs of ocular disease, and even save someone’s eyesight. It’s not uncommon for conditions like diabetes and hypertension to show themselves as changes in vision or the internal appearance of the eye. Eye health checks are not just about whether you need glasses.
What do you love about your job?
I love being able to help patients. Three quarters of all vision problems can be corrected or managed, so as long as people understand how important it is to have their eyes checked regularly, we will continue to be able to help. It is very gratifying to be able to improve the sight of someone who has been struggling with vision problems, or to see the smile on a child's face when they see clearly for the first time in their life.
Highlight in providing better health outcomes?
It can often happen that I detect blood vessel changes in a patient’s eyes that indicates they may have high blood pressure. I then refer them to their GP in order to check and manage their blood pressure; knowing that their hypertension will now be controlled with medication means that I have helped put them on a healthier path with reduced risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney disease as well as other serious health concerns in the future.
From your work experience what health tips do you have?
Everything that is good for your body will also be good for your eyes: Eat well, rest well, drink plenty of water, and include fish and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Many of the eye conditions that can threaten your sight don’t show obvious symptoms until the disease is advanced so you can’t afford to wait to have your eyes checked; regular eye examinations are important to protect your sight and general health and wellbeing.