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Home » What's New » Getting to Know our New Optometrist – Caleb Van Cooten

Getting to Know our New Optometrist – Caleb Van Cooten

caleb GSP UID 956cd489 e84d 4bc0 a285 80b2d40f58221) What brought you to Bendigo and to Kosmac and Clemens Optometrists in particular?

Raised in Melbourne, I moved to Bendigo in 2008 to commence my career in optometry. Working in Bendigo has enabled me to develop a broad range of skills in many areas of eyecare. Kosmac and Clemens is well-known as an independent optometry practice that values excellence in patient care and seemed like a great fit for me.

2) How did you become interested in optometry?

Through school, I was interested in a career in the field of healthcare. With a strong family history of short-sightedness, I was destined to be exposed to optometry as a child and I was given my first pair of glasses at 13 years of age. This began a connection with optometry that has consistently grown in ways that I would never have imagined as that child seeing the individual leaves in the trees again.

3) Where did you go to Optometry school?

I studied optometry at the University of Melbourne.

4) What do you like most about the work you do?

I love that I can care for all people from cradle to grave. Generally, I can have somebody come into my room with a problem and leave with an excellent solution; be that their first pair of reading glasses, removing a foreign body, or treating sore eye. The look on a child's face when they first see the world through contact lenses is absolutely priceless!

5) Do you have any specialties or aspects of eyecare that you are particularly passionate about?

Being short-sighted myself, I am passionate about the developing area of myopia control - slowing the development of short-sightedness. One aspect of this is orthokeratology, which (seemingly by magic) gently reshapes the cornea using a hard contact lens that is only worn overnight, enabling clear vision throughout the day without the need for regular contact lenses or glasses.

I am also interested in children's vision including binocular vision skills such as eye teaming and focusing as well as the management of ocular diseases such as dry eyes, glaucoma, age-related degeneration, and cataracts to name a few.

6) What designer frame line would you say most aligns with your personality, and why?

I love a frame that fits well, is well-made, distinctive and fun. Generally with a splash of colour.

7) What is your favourite piece of optometric technology and why?

That's like asking who your favourite child is. In optometry, we are fortunate to have so many incredible technologies at our disposal. OCT scans let us image the retina with at least 100 times more detail than an MRI. My corneal topographer enables the fitting of advanced contact lenses, orthokeratology and even assessing dry eyes. However, my most used piece of technology is my trusty ugly trial frame and lens set that is fundamental to ensuring excellent vision for each patient.

8) What interests or excites you the most in the field of optometry?

I love fixing people's eye problems and also preventing them if possible. Our eyes are so precious to us and keeping them at their best makes a huge difference to people's quality of life.

9) What trends do you see developing over the next several years in the industry and how do you stay ahead of them?

Myopia management, orthokeratology and dry eye management are currently developing at a rapid pace. I also can't wait for the day that visual field tests and vision therapy are performed with a set of eye-tracking virtual reality goggles. I think that artificial intelligence and machine learning will become part of the fabric of optometric practice. The COVID pandemic has pushed much of our professional education online and this has opened up opportunities to keep up with the latest developments in our field from experts across the world.

10) Please share a patient experience that stands out in your mind?

I recently had a young patient who came to see me for a second opinion, having been discouraged from wearing her glasses too often and also struggling with deteriorating blurred vision. Her short-sightedness had increased and after discussing her options I fitted her with orthokeratology lenses; which were very successful. Later on, she informed me that she had been becoming quite depressed about her vision and being fitted with orthokeratology was a life-changing moment for her.

11) What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my wife and three young children. I play hockey and I could talk to you for hours about my 3D printer if you're not careful.