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Homemieditorialmivision Issue 197 February 2024

mivision Issue 197 February 2024

Welcome to the first issue of mivision for 2024. In this issue we draw your attention to the rewarding but challenging specialisation of paediatric eye care.

It is with thanks to Dr Sandra Staffieri AO that this issue has come together. Dr Staffieri, who is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and the Retinoblastoma Care Co-ordinator/Senior Clinical Orthoptist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria, spoke to us about the need for more eye care professionals to take an interest in paediatric care. She then nominated a number of specialists in the area who could provide their experiences and perspectives in the hope that their encouragement may tempt you down the same path.

Having spoken to others who work in children’s health, it is apparent that money is one of the main reasons why we have a shortage of paediatric eye care professionals. By nature of the younger patient, they take more time to diagnose and manage compared with the majority of adults, however Medicare rebates do not reflect this.

Additionally, many eye care professionals are daunted by the prospect of caring for younger patients. Babies, toddlers, primary school aged children, and those in their teens all require a different approach when it comes to engagement and communication. Even if you’ve had children of your own and watched them grow through these stages, finding the most effective pitch for each can be nerve racking. Of course, the child and their parents or carers are likely to be less than relaxed too – especially in the early stages of your professional relationship.

However, as you will read in this issue, working with children can be enjoyable and immeasurably rewarding – after all you are enabling a lifetime of potential to be reached and enhancing quality of life – not just for the child but for the child’s entire family and community.

And once you’ve broken through any fears (yours included), caring for children may even be better than caring for adults; and certainly a lot more fun.

As Associate Professor James Elder writes, to get started, you simply need to know whether your opening line will be ‘Oppity bopity bup, do dah day’; or whether you will speak to them in toddlarian, prepterian, or adolestonian. It’s about as simple as that.

I wish you a fun, happy and rewarding year ahead.