Orthoptics Awareness Week 2018 – The Depths of Orthoptics [transcript][audio]

Guest: Breanna Ban

Presenter: Tabetha Moreto

Guest Bio: Breanna Ban is an orthoptist at Bayside Eye Specialists. Breanna has worked at a private Ophthalmology clinic as a full time Orthoptist since graduating from Latrobe University Melbourne at the end of 2015. Breanna works closely alongside two other Orthoptists and nine Ophthalmologists to perform ocular examinations, diagnostic tests, assistance in minor surgical procedures and intraocular lens calculations for cataract surgery. She completed her final placement at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in Manhattan which was a highly valuable experience for her career. She completed volunteer work in 2015 with the Rotary Medical Mission and Cataract Foundation in the Philippines, where she helped reverse preventable blindness in disadvantaged communities.

Segment Overview: In today’s interview, Breanna Ban from Bayside Eye Specialists joins the programs to promote the ongoing Orthoptics Awareness Week 2018 and the topics that are being discussed. She also talks about her passion for orthoptics and her desire to help those with various eye conditions.


Tabetha Moreto: Hello everyone, welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host for the day, Tabetha Moreto. Our guest today is Breanna Ban from the Bayside Eye Specialists. Today we’re going to talk about Orthoptics Awareness Week. Without further ado, welcome to the show Breanna. It’s so nice to have you here.

Breanna Ban: Thank you for having me today.

T: My pleasure. Breanna, please tell the audience more about yourself and the nature of your work.

B: Of course. I grew up in North Yarra, which is a country town about 6,000 North of Melbourne. I moved to Melbourne as soon as I finished year 12 and worked as a successful recipient of an Allied health scholarship which helped me to fund my living away from home expenses while studying Orthoptics full time in Melbourne. I graduated from my Bachelor of Health Sciences and Masters of Orthoptics at the end of 2015 from Latrobe University in Melbourne. Throughout my Orthoptics degree I was fortunate enough to be accepted for my final year placement in Manhattan at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary which today is the most highly valuable experience I’ve had very professionally as the Orthoptist and personally. I’ve also gone to the eye screening medical mission in the Philippines where I was involved in reversing preventable blindness in remotely disadvantaged communities. That experience has ultimately enabled me to perceive a third world country healthcare system and also build a strong appreciation for the healthcare available to us here in Australia. My first job interview with a private ophthalmology clinic in Melbourne came before I’d even received my final year exam result and I was the successful applicant for the position. I’ve now been happily working at the same clinic as the full time Orthoptist which is over 2 years now. I’ve also recently being appointed the position of Secretary of the Victorian Branch of Orthoptics Australia which involved organising continuing education event for Orthoptist and I’m really enjoying my extra curricular work with the committee.

T: Excellent. Let’s talk about the special event, what’s going on with the Orthoptics Awareness Week?

B: Sure. So this week, from March the 5th to the 9th is Orthoptics Awareness Week which is the annual event in the Orthoptics calendar. This week is when orthoptists across Australia can promote the profession and the work Orthoptists do. Orthoptists can take this opportunity to showcase the significant role we have in eye Health, raise the profile of the profession and campaign on behalf of Orthoptists and the patients to government from policy makers. Orthoptics Awareness Week gives the chance for Orthoptists to come together and unite in promoting the profession and of what Orthoptists do for their patients. The theme this year is Discover the Depths of Orthoptics, so in order to celebrate Orthoptics Awareness Week this year, I’ve created a blog called All About Eyes. The aim of my blog is to highlight the medicine use, insights and exploration of eye health care and also share my personal experiences with the eye Health care sector. I‘ll be updating my blog fortnightly with insights each my role as an Orthoptist. I’ve already found that friends and family who have read my blog this week have a greater understanding of what it is I actually do at work. I’ve tried to make the blog comprehensible for people without health or medical background as well.

T: That sounds wonderful. Can you tell us why is this event important or even relevant to other health professionals?

B: Orthoptics is relevant to other health professionals as there is an aging populations which means this go to practice if ever expanding to make the demands of higher volumes of patients for them going to ophthalmology clinics. This means the eye health care model need to adopt changes that will enable accessible healthcare to every individual. For example, there are now Orthoptic-led diabetic eye screening clinics and Orthoptic-led glaucoma monitoring clinic at various hospitals in Melbourne. These clinics have been being created in the response to the overwhelming amount of patients that need to be seen by ophthalmologists and time is not permitting them to do so. It’s also worth noting to other health professionals that orthoptists are a part of the Treasury Healthcare models, therefore in order for a patient to be assessed by an orthoptist in a private eye clinic, a referral from the GP, optometrist, another ophthalmologist or allied health practitioner is required.

T: Very interesting. If you don’t mind Breanna, I have a personal question for you.

B: Of course.

T: Why are you so passionate about eye care? Why are you so passionate about this particular field in medicine?

B: Absolutely. I feel that working in Orthoptics, we’re able to benefit people of all ages from a 6 month old to an elderly patient and also everyone in between. We’re so fortunate in Australia to have so many ophthalmological treatments available and with technology advancing we’re able to detect eye conditions earlier as well which overall it’s really rewarding to be able to see people progress and recover for certain disabilities with their eyes. So an example I can give you is a patient we can benefit that has cataract which is the crowning of the natural lens in the eyes. It causes symptoms such as blurred vision, glare, difficulty reading and driving. We’re able to perform series of scans which measures the dimension of the eye and calculate what power artificial lens would be suitable to be implanted into the eye after the cataract is removed. So I find this highly rewarding to be able to take off the patch after Day 1 after their surgery and the patient has noticeable improvement in their visual acuity. Even some patient, they describe it as the world so much brighter, more vibrant, more high definition which I think it’s an amazing being to be a part of healthcare.

T: Thank you so much for sharing that story with us. It’s nice to know that someone like you has a passion for people especially when it comes to eye care.

B: Of course, thank you.

T: Wonderful. I will love to talk to you more but we’re running out of time. Before we go for those who want to participate in this special event, how can they do that?

B: Of course. You can follow any of our social media from Orthoptics Australia. If you are an orthoptist you can also hold some talks and seminars in your workplace. You can have a roaming information booth visiting different locations in a day or over a week, if you’re in a hospital to show people around. You can hold a vision quiz, you could mentor student for a day, you could launch an email campaign or create your own Orthoptics Awareness Week YouTube video. You could also, like me for instance, I’ve created a blog so I’m trying to add my personal experiences that I’ve had in eye health care as well. Just anything that will raise the awareness of the profession and try not make the word orthoptics such a foreign word to people and make it something a bit more seen, recognized in society as a healthcare profession.

T: That’s wonderful. For those who want to get in touch with you, how can they do that?

B: You can follow us on Twitter @orthopticsau, you can like and follow us on Facebook: orthopticsaustralia. We have an Instagram page as well: orthopticsau. If want to send a personal email to get in touch with us, you can email us at office@orthoptics.org.au

T: That was excellent. Thank you so much Breanna for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.

B: Thank you so much for your time, it was a pleasure.

T: That was Breanna Ban from the Bayside Eye Specialists. We just have been talking about the ongoing Orthoptics Awareness Week 2018. If you like this interview, transcript and archive are available at www.hpr.fm. We’re on all social media platform, don’t forget to follow, like and subscribe. Show us some love by subscribing to our HPR YouTube channel. We’re also available for download on SoundCloud and iTunes. I’m Tabetha Moreto and you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.

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