NewOptometrist.ca puts the spotlight on Zero to Five Pathfinders
University of Waterloo, 2019 Graduating Class
By Jaclyn Chang, OD
Jaclyn: Tell us about your education and internship experiences.
Jocelyn: I graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2019, and I currently live and practice in Toronto, which is also where I grew up. I was fortunate enough to have a quite diverse experience during my internships, and that gave me a different perspective on optometry. These included a single doctor private clinic, a multi-doctor private clinic, and a clinic that specialized in dry eye therapy, glaucoma co-management, and myopia control.
Jaclyn: Is there an area of optometry that you’re particularly interested in right now?
Jocelyn: I really like dry eye therapy. It’s a growing field in research and new treatment options, which changes the way that we manage our patients. Dry eye is very, very common nowadays with device usage and screen time, and the treatment is personalized for each patient. This gives us the opportunity to talk to our patients and help them figure out the status of their eye health and best treatment. I am also interested in aesthetic optometry, such as IPL and RF therapy, which pairs up nicely with dry eye.
Myopia control is another area of interest of mine as myopia becomes more prevalent globally. The treatment options are soft contact lenses, ortho-K, atropine, and specialty spectacle lenses. This area of optometry, like dry eye, also involves a personalized plan for the patient and is one of the reasons I’m drawn to it as a specialty.
Jaclyn: How was your start in optometry – can we talk about your first day of work?
Jocelyn: My first day of work was in September in 2019, and the first day is definitely nerve wracking because it’s your first day seeing real patients on your own. You have a responsibility to give them the best vision you can, and it’s also a new setting.
To mitigate that stress in the beginning, I would recommend going into the office ahead of time before you see patients, whether it’s a few hours or a day before. Learn the EMR, equipment, fees, the staff’s names and roles they play in the office. If the office is dispensing, learn the type of frame lines that you carry and the lenses you offer so you can have that conversation with your patients. For referrals, ask the other associates and the owner of the practice who they typically refer to for cataract surgery, or even other specialties like vision therapy within optometry. Familiarizing yourself with the names of other healthcare professionals in the area, such as pharmacists and family doctors, is very helpful.
There’s also no need to jam-pack your schedule the first day. Take your time with the patients and make sure that everything in terms of procedure is seamless, because you don’t want show that it’s your first day at work to the patient.
Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself – you’ve been trained for this. Do your best and enjoy that you’ve picked a great profession and are just at the start of an amazing career.
Jaclyn: I can definitely relate to that first day feeling! Of course, a lot has changed since then. How have or will things change with COVID?
Jocelyn: With COVID, people are more conservative about traveling and going to do things in person. Since people are staying at home more, convenience is a big thing for everybody. We have one day Amazon shipping, and everything is at our fingertips through apps and the internet.
Utilizing technology is so important post-COVID. Having an online store for contact lenses, drops, even sunglasses is becoming an essential. Communicating via email or text also helps with patient convenience and ensures patients aren’t feeling that they’re forgotten after COVID.
Tele-health was big during the first lockdown. Tele-health can be a great platform to discuss care – to discuss testing or visual field results instead of having the patient come in. However, there are also times you would want to see the physical eye to make a diagnosis.
Jaclyn: Let’s switch a little bit from optometry and talk more about you! What do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
Jocelyn: Pre-COVID, I loved working out in the gym. I love weight training and powerlifting. Now I have a makeshift garage gym with some weights, but it’s not the same feeling. I do look forward to going back to the gym because it did help to de-stress and help me feel a bit more accomplished throughout the day.
I love travel – I already have a list as to where I want to go next. I want to go to Japan again. And I’m a big Disney fan, so I definitely want to go to Disney World.
Jaclyn: What’s your favorite food?
Jocelyn: Sushi! Good sushi with good quality fish is something that I really love and associate with good memories. Back in university, I used to go for sushi with my friends, and it was always a good time.
Jaclyn: What’s your favorite TV show?
Jocelyn: I love reality TV dating shows, but I also like intense storylines such as Game of Thrones, or any sort of action lines. I love Food Network shows that include traveling and eating different foods or cooking challenges.
Jaclyn: Great to learn more about you! Thanks so much for taking the time to have this discussion with me.