Why did you pursue optometry? Did you always want to go into that field?
From a young age I knew I wanted to work in healthcare, but it's really in CEGEP that my choice was confirmed. I have been wearing glasses since I was 8 years old and I always enjoyed going to see the optometrist. I decided to shadow an optometrist for a day and fell in love with the profession. I quickly realised that there was a big demand for optometrists both here and around the world. When I learned that 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment and that about half of these cases could be treated or prevented, it motivated me to want to make a difference.
What’s your favourite part of working as an optometrist?
I love that it allows for meaningful one-on-one interactions with patients and many modes of practice. It’s very rewarding to help people see better every day. I will never get used to seeing a patient’s reaction after wearing their glasses and seeing clearly for the first time!
What does a day at BonLook look like?
It is very lively and dynamic! A patient who is coming for an eye exam will be greeted by a team member who will ask them a few questions. They will then do some pre-tests before the comprehensive eye exam. Once done, they can select a pair of glasses if need be. The process is similar for every patient, but everyone’s case and particular needs are unique.
Who should consult an optometrist?
Everyone! Regular eye check-ups are important as most eye diseases progress slowly with no or few symptoms until they have progressed and become difficult or impossible to treat. It is also important to note that preschool children should see an optometrist at least once between ages two and five, or earlier if anything is suspected. Children should then consult every year until they are eighteen. Adults should undergo an exam every two years or yearly if they have any complaints or risk factors. A patient with diabetes for example should be seen at least once a year.
What are your favourite pairs of BonLook frames?
What’s a question that patients always ask you?
Patients very often ask me what to do when they feel fatigue and eye strain in front of the computer. I recommend taking frequent short breaks. A trick is to follow the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It is also important to keep in mind that we blink half as often when reading or in front of a screen, which can lead to dryness.
How does one maintain good eye health?
Having proper sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun’s UV rays and quitting smoking is very important. A healthy balanced diet with nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin (found in green leafy vegetables), vitamins E and C, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc is also key. Finally, having regular eye exams is essential for preventing or treating eye diseases, and to have the appropriate prescription.
How did you adapt your practice to the COVID era?
The first few months required a lot of adaptation as the situation evolved rapidly. We have clear guidelines and recommendations from the OOQ (Ordre des optométristes du Québec). It was important to modify my schedule to allow time for disinfection between patients and avoid overlapping. Mainly it comes down to proper screening of patients, cleaning hands very frequently, wearing masks and eye protection, thoroughly disinfecting, and avoiding unwarranted tests.