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HomemiprofessionActing on a Passion for Paediatric Eye Care

Acting on a Passion for Paediatric Eye Care

From a child refugee to a paediatric optometry resident, Dr Diba Rezazadeh is constantly challenging herself to step out of her comfort zone, to provide professional, supportive care to her young eye care patients.

My graduate role at the Australian College of Optometry (ACO) as a paediatric resident has been a challenge, but hugely rewarding. If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that I love interacting with children and I take pride in my ability to build an easy rapport with kids.

During my Doctor of Optometry degree at the University of Melbourne, I always enjoyed my paediatric placements and received positive feedback on my ability to communicate and consult with children. That was the reassurance I needed to pursue paediatrics further. There is something so rewarding about being part of a child’s developmental journey and playing a role in supporting their needs, or even just reassuring parents that things are tracking well.

It’s this passion for paediatric care that attracted me to the ACO’s children’s clinic. Working at the ACO, I have been able to provide comprehensive and quality eye care to those who may otherwise not have access to it, which is an incredible way to give back to the community and put my years of training to good use.

As an Afghan Muslim woman who came to Australia as a refugee with my family at age four, I can understand the value of a health service that is both professional and supportive. The ACO embodies these values that I believe in, by providing high quality clinical optometry services, supporting student and clinician ongoing education, and undertaking internationally recognised research that benefits the profession.

THE CHILDREN’S CLINIC

In addition to the welcoming, child-friendly consult rooms, we are well-equipped with the tools and equipment needed to perform comprehensive testing.

We are also fortunate to have experienced clinicians who have nurtured an environment that is supportive and fulfilling to work in. My ability to practise effectively as a new graduate has been shaped by my early experiences with paediatric patients and my colleagues, as well as the theoretical knowledge I have gained by concurrently completing the Advanced Certificate in Children’s Vision (ACCV).

MYOPIA CONTROL

I have developed a particular interest in the management of myopia. In my spare time, I have enhanced my learning through websites like Myopia Profile and focussed my ACCV case report on the management of myopia with topical low dose atropine. This helped me dive into the most current research, which provides evidence for the various treatment options available.

Alongside this, I was given the opportunity to be involved in the ACO’s myopia clinic. This clinic offers treatment that is aimed at slowing the rate of progression, including the use of topical low-dose atropine, Miyosmart spectacle lenses, MiSight soft contact lenses, and orthokeratology. We provide a personalised treatment plan for every child. We are fortunate to be allocated one-hour appointments with our myopia patients, which allows the time to educate families on the long-term benefits of early myopia control.

I am also involved in the ACO’s research trial on repeated low-level red-light (RLRL) therapy to slow the progression of myopia, with the use of the Eyerising myopia management device. This is an exciting area of research, and the results could possibly lead to an alternative and viable treatment for myopia.

The most fulfilling part of my job working in the ACO’s children’s clinic is seeing how grateful families are when I can provide a comprehensive eye test at no cost. I value their positive feedback on my ability to build trusting relationships with the children, and I find it profoundly rewarding when patients return for reviews, excited to get their eyes checked by me.

With my career in its early blooming stages, I am always looking for opportunities to further my learning and step out of my comfort zone. One of my goals for the near future is to get involved in the research that will stem from the RLRL therapy trial. I’d like to see how I can put findings into real world practice with my patients.

It has taken me a long time to finally believe in myself and acknowledge that I deserve to be where I am today, but I am proud of my achievements thus far. In 10 years from now, I see myself being just as passionate about paediatric eye care. I hope I can be as great as some of my esteemed mentors and experienced colleagues within this rewarding field.

Dr Diba Rezazadeh OD and AdvCertChVis (ACO) is a paediatric resident at the Australian College of Optometry in Melbourne.