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Optometrist launches innovative eye service to transform patient care

Photo: Optometrist launches innovative eye service to transform patient care
Leading optometry practice OCULA has launched a specialist eye service integrating three disciplines of eye care – the first of its kind in New Zealand.

The specialist orthoptic service – offered through OCULA’s Queenstown and Wanaka practices – combines the expertise of optometrist Danielle Ross, orthoptist Annie Airey and ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Dr Malcolm McKellar.

OCULA principal optometrist and director Danielle Ross says the professional collaboration ensures Queenstown and Wanaka residents have superior care in all facets of eye health, diminishing the need to travel to Christchurch and Dunedin for specialist appointments.

“OCULA’s new orthoptic service is the epitome of eye care, a one-stop-shop,” she says. “It means that local patients – including young children and their parents – don’t have to travel for private care.
“It combines both orthoptic and ophthalmological options together in a collaborative approach. It is very uncommon for these three disciplines to merge as we all have very different skill sets, however this enables us to work collaboratively on a concept to determine the best-possible solution for the patient.”

As a highly qualified optometrist, Ross specialises in primary eye care from vision testing and therapy to detecting eye abnormalities and the diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes and certain eye diseases.

Ross has employed experienced orthoptist Annie Airey, who recently moved to Queenstown from the UK, as OCULA’s in-house orthoptist. Airey is one of only 14 orthoptists in New Zealand and specialises in eye health, particularly in the areas of paediatrics, eye disease and movement disorders, and pre- and post-operative care.

Airey’s role also includes supporting Christchurch-based ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Dr McKellar during his monthly clinics in Queenstown, performing investigative tests and caring for Dr McKellar’s patients at OCULA’s Queenstown and Wanaka practices throughout the year.

Airey says the orthoptic service has been developed to ensure Southern Lakes residents have easy access to specialist eye care.

“The service is an exciting step into the future for our industry,” she says. “This level of care is unprecedented in this region and ensures patients get timely, quality care for all vision and eye health concerns. Crucially, patients can now make informed decisions after hearing the options available from all sides in an integrative approach.”

Dr McKellar adds: “I’m delighted to be joining with Danielle and Annie to offer Otago and Southland patients expanded and more accessible eye care services. Having trained as both an optometrist and ophthalmologist, and worked with orthoptists, I know how important our complementary skills are to patient care.”

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