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FIRST Stop Tasmania, then onwards

Live your purpose with OPSM! For Tegan Matheson, who is following her dream to travel around Australia as part of OPSM’s Eyecare Country Connect program, they are words to live by.

Over the next year Tegan will be undertaking four three-month placements in some pretty amazing places across the country, all courtesy of the Country Connect program.

Tegan started her journey with OPSM as a casual optical dispenser at the Southland store where her passion for customer service came to the forefront. Then, while still studying optometry at Deakin University, she undertook her six month clinical residential placement divided between OPSM eye hub in Hawthorn and OPSM Adelaide.

Following her graduation Tegan was back at OPSM Southland delivering great customer service again, but this time as a graduate optometrist. She exemplifies how optometry can offer a wonderful career, as well as the opportunity to be paid to travel around Australia in the full knowledge there will always be a job waiting for you at “home”.

Rather than us explain the benefits of OPSM’s Eyecare Country Connect program we thought Tegan could tell us about her amazing journey so far.

“In March this year I decided I really wanted to see the rest of Australia and have the opportunity to work and explore an area I’ve never been before. I thought the chance to travel and get paid for it at the same time was a no brainer so I signed on and I’m so happy I did,” Tegan explained.

“My first stop was beautiful Burnie, Tasmania. It was my first time stepping foot in Tassie and the scenery and fresh produce hasn’t disappointed.”

She says that although she only graduated and began practicing optometry in August 2017, “I have gained confidence during the OPSM Eyecare Country Connect experience. I have tested and treated a broader range of ophthalmic conditions than I thought possible, every single week.

“This week alone I had five different patients who were vaguely asymptomatic go from fairly good vision on their last eye exam to dropping down to 6/45 to counting fingers. One of my cases was a lovely 92-year-old woman who comes in regularly for epilations. She was booked in for a 10-minute appointment complaining of “mild left eye irritation” and blurred vision for about five days. Unfortunately, at 92 her memory wavered and one minute she said her left was uncomfortable and next she had no irritation but blurred vision.”

Tegan explained that after a full and thorough anterior eye examination and dry eye assessment, she epilated a few lashes in the inner canthus and expressed her Meibomian glands bilaterally. She then checked her tear film and could not find any further reason for the irritation.

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“She was experiencing as was still mildly symptomatic even post anterior assessment. The patient had a history of mild dry macular degeneration. I performed a thorough Dilated Fundus Examination which indicated a suspected ischaemic Central Retinal Vein Occlusion and she was subsequently referred urgentlyfor treatment.”

Tegan added, “Mind you it’s not always this full on!”

“I’ve learned that thorough patient care and carefully listening to your patient, even if it seems routine, is key. If it’s something out of the norm you need to investigate and not brush off patient symptoms”.

Tegan Matheson is just one of the many young optometrists who have not only gained valuable eyecare experience as a result of the OPSM Eyecare Country Connect program, but have done so while travelling extensively across Australia as a form of paid working holiday.




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