Aaron UraonOptometry BSc (Hons)
'What I gained most was an appreciation for vision, and awareness for how difficult daily tasks are when our eyesight is impaired.'
Why did you decide to study at City?
When deciding where to study Optometry, I was naturally drawn towards City, University of London, as they have consistently ranked in a high position on the national leader boards, both for student satisfaction and overall. In addition to this, I was aware of the new City Sight clinic that had recently been built with state-of-the-art equipment, which I would have access to in the 3rd year of my degree as I prepared to transition into the working world. Some close friends of mine had recently graduated from City at the time I was applying, and their positive words about the University helped confirm my decision.
Where did you do your placement?
I had the incredible opportunity to travel to India and undertake a 2-week observational placement spread across a range of specialisms at LV Prasad Eye Institute, with the majority of my time being spent at the centre of excellence in Hyderabad, Banjara Hills. This was my first visit to India, and although I initially had my own personal reservations as I delved into the depths of the unknown, my expectations in every department were well and truly surpassed throughout my trip. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity, and this would not have been possible without a bursary from the Hospital Saturday Fund.
What did you do during your placement?
The majority of my time was spent in a typical testing room setting; however, I was also able to witness some routine surgeries, ocular prosthesis and rehabilitation services aimed at helping those who’s daily lives were affected by visual impairment. It was inspiring to see how heavily involved the staff were in the continuity of patient care, providing speech, occupational and counselling therapy to those who require it – realising that many of the patients’ health concerns weren’t just ocular in origin.
I was rotated through different areas on a daily basis in a quest to try and gain as much clinical experience as possible. I witnessed rare conditions, many of which I may never see again or very infrequently throughout my career. The highlight was on my last day where I observed a case of GAPO syndrome, which was the 39th reported case in 71 years. During this appointment the patient was fitted with a prosthetic contact lens and it was touching to see how amazed both the patient and his father were to observe a relatively normal appearance of his affected eye.
What has been the most important thing gained from your placement?
I’m glad I was exposed to a range of different specialisms throughout my placement, this enabled me to gain a greater understanding of the opportunities a career in hospital optometry could present. From being in India, the country with the highest incidence of blindness on a global scale, I was able to see a lot of pathology – I think sight is something many of us take for granted, until we’re at risk of losing it. What I gained most was an appreciation for vision, and awareness for how difficult daily tasks are when our eyesight is impaired.
What is your favourite thing about City?
One of my favourite things about City is the facilities we have access to on our Optometry course, which helps prepare us for our future. The academic staff members are incredibly supportive in pushing us to develop further, not only on the course, but also outside of university life.
What do you plan to do after graduating?
After graduating I plan to pursue a career as an optometrist, however I’m not yet quite sure whether this will be in a hospital or high street practice setting. In the future I would like to possibly open my own practice or invest my time in researching any particular areas of interest I stumble across over the years to come. I would also like to support the homeless, as access to basic eye health care can be more challenging, but I want to help to make this easier through volunteering with support groups such as crisis. You really appreciate the impact of your work in these settings. Although this is a nervous time as I enter my final year of study, I’m excited to see the opportunities that the future holds.