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Outreach mixes business and philanthropy


(L-R) Ed Lou, John Wysling, Anna Gatsios, Lauren Field, Elise Pocknee, Cindy Woo, Ann Wu, Thi Nguyen and Stuart Dinnison


By Ashleigh McMillan


Early Career Optometrists South Australia hosted independent optometrist Elise Pocknee to talk about how to best provide domiciliary care.

Elise, who owns Eyre Eye Centre in Port Lincoln, discussed the equipment required for outreach trips and home visits, as well as methods of record-keeping, spectacle options and procedures for disease detection outside of urban areas. Attendees received three CPD points.

ECOSA chairperson Luke Higgins says the evening was enjoyable and informative, demonstrating that you can run a successful business which also provides philanthropic care.

‘This event was organised because we know that the greatest need for optometric care is in rural and remote settings, and this event provided the opportunity to discuss how to provide these services most effectively,’ he said.

Elise said she began conducting home visits and outreach trips at the start of her career, with her practice regularly holding visiting clinics across the Eyre Peninsula.

‘Early in my career, I discovered that patients in rural and remote areas were always extremely grateful for the services we could deliver in their local community, and would happily wait and chat in improvised waiting rooms even when I was running dreadfully behind schedule,’ she said. 

‘I have met a lot of very lovely and interesting patients from many different walks of life and the resilience and resourcefulness of people living in remote areas always amazes me.

‘Luke invited me to talk to the group, because some of the members of this group were being asked to do home visits for their practice or their group but felt very underprepared. They were unsure of what to expect and what equipment they needed to take.

‘My advice to the ECOSA group was to stay flexible and open-minded in their approach to domiciliary visits and rural trips, and to expect the unexpected,’ Elise said.

The free visual acuity chart app WolfChart and the EyeSnellen app were highlighted as useful tools for optometrists providing outreach care, as the tools can be accessed on an internet browser, and downloaded to your computer or a tablet.

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