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School of Optometry and Vision Science

Postgraduate Profiles

Jason Dhana, BOptom (Hons)
Jason Dhana, BOptom (Hons)

Jason Dhana

A current Taught Masters’ student explains why he is pursuing postgraduate study.

“I completed my BOptom (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 2007. Since then I have had experience in community optometry, as well as my current positions both as an optometry clinical supervisor at the University of Auckland (one day a week), and working at Greenlane Clinical Centre’s Ophthalmology clinic.

I have always wanted to pursue further study, and the new clinical Masters appealed to me as I was interested in a clinical specialty – to be able to apply my acquired knowledge directly to my patients.  With the recent changes allowing optometrists to become ‘Authorised Prescribers’, the shift toward glaucoma management has changed our scope of practice for the better. I jumped at the opportunity to undertake my MSc in glaucoma. This has allowed me to be at the forefront of my field by keeping up with the latest research and seeing hundreds of specialty glaucoma patients at Greenlane. What’s more I still manage to keep my social life!”

Dr Phil Turnbull
Dr Phil Turnbull

Dr Phil Turnbull

A recent PhD graduate tells how he came to enrol in a PhD and what he learnt.

“I was part of the first class to graduate with therapeutics in 2006 from Auckland. Following graduation I worked in private practice for a couple of years. The most common disorder I came across was myopia, and people were asking for help. I contacted Dr John Phillips in the Myopia Lab at the University of Auckland and this led to me starting my PhD in 2009.

“One of the most interesting aspects of a PhD is how quickly and abruptly it can change direction. Initially I was interested in atropine in children, then I was testing octopus vision, and then determining whether squid eyes are in focus! This called upon my fundamental knowledge of optics, anatomy, pharmacology, and psychophysics taught as part of the undergraduate course at Auckland, I went onto learn new skills as part of the PhD programme; critical thinking, experiment planning, academic writing, programming, presentation skills, and even cephalopod husbandry.

“While it is a significant decision to make, I would highly recommend the PhD program to others. It has been a highly enjoyable and rewarding experience.”

Zoe Smith
Zoe Smith

“I did my undergraduate training in the UK at Cardiff University, and completed my degree in 2002. After successfully qualifying with the UK Optometry Board, I worked for a year in Wales before moving to New Zealand in 2004.

“In the last ten years I have worked in various roles such as Optometrist Store Manager, Optical Dispensing Co-ordinator and Optical Dispensing ssessor for Dispensing Opticians. Currently I am employed in a part-time role as the Institute of Learning Coordinator for Luxottica. This involves encouraging continuous learning and organising CPD activities for optometrists around New Zealand.

“I completed my ocular therapeutics in 2013 and loved studying again. I have thus decided to undertake a taught masters’ degree. I have chosen paediatric optometry which covers a wide range of relevant topics and is practical for everyday work as an optometrist.

“The masters course will help me with my CPD role. All of the staff are really helpful and encouraging and I would recommend the clinical masters to other optometrists.”

Jyoti Hari
Jyoti Hari

“I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Optometry from The City University, London in 1988 and passed the Professional Qualifying Examinations for The College of Optometrists (UK) in 1989.

“I have worked as an optometrist in Wellington since 1991 and have owned my own practice since 2005.

When I decided to do the three paper Ocular Therapeutics course offered by the University of Auckland, I anticipated that it may be difficult to balance work, family and study and cope with the stress of coursework and exams. However, I found the course content very relevant to everyday optometry and enjoyed the challenge of studying.

“I became especially interested in dry eye disease because it is so prevalent and optometrists can play an important role in its management and thus help improve the quality of life of their patients. This inspired me to continue studying for a PGDipSci by researching the role of meibomian gland evaluation in guiding treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction.

“I would encourage other practising optometrists who are considering postgraduate study to embrace it as the process is rewarding on so many levels.”

Postgraduate Students