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New student-led orthoptic clinic established at La Trobe

Adults and children with strabismus and vision related disorders such as amblyopia and diplopia can now receive treatment at a new eye clinic within one of Melbourne’s top public universities.

La Trobe University recently opened a student-led publicly accessible orthoptic eye clinic on its Melbourne Campus in Bundoora in the city’s north-east.

According to the university, the clinic operates under experienced practitioner supervision and allows students to consolidate their clinical skills while providing health services to the community.

It features a collaborative service with the Royal Children’s Hospital whereby eligible patients are co-managed by the university and the hospital, while complementing the university’s existing allied health services including podiatry, speech pathology and audiology.

Head of the discipline of orthoptics, Dr Connie Koklanis, said the new clinic ticks several boxes.

“This initiative expands opportunities for student work-integrated learning, particularly in paediatric eyecare, whilst also delivering affordable services to the community and reducing patient wait times for orthoptic services delivered within tertiary care settings,” she said.

The clinic aims to not only provide students with opportunities to improve their clinical skills but also develop communication and leadership skills including decision making, planning and effective collaboration.

Ms Shannon Brown, a student on placement in the clinic, said it had provided final year students with essential clinical experience in a paediatric setting.

“I feel as though my confidence in this field of orthoptics has improved significantly in my time at this clinic and has better prepared me to enter the workforce,” she said.

“We are seeing a wide variety of patients and are able to conduct a comprehensive clinical assessment and develop a management plan for each of our patients. It is an experience unlike any other clinical placement we have had the opportunity to attend so far.”

The La Trobe Orthoptic Eye Clinic is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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