Recent statistics published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveal that optometry is an increasingly attractive profession for women in Australia. If current trends continue, it won't be long before there'll be more women than men practising in Australia.
Sue Sluce has practised for 25 years - 15 of them with Optomeyes. And she has her own interesting comments about the changing gender makeup of optometry. She says that when she started, some male patients were very surprised to find, when they entered the examination room, that she was the optometrist, not, as they assumed, the receptionist. Some men, indeed, asked to be treated by a man.
But that was years, ago, and it hasn't happened for the last 10 years. "Either the men have changed, or I have," she says with a smile.
Now, the boot is on the other foot. Sue says that, over the last three or four years, she's had a number of women patients who definitely want, and ask to see, a woman optometrist.
Why? Sue says they seem to think that a woman practitioner will spend more time listening to them than a man would. No one's actually done a survey on whether that's true, and no doubt male practitioners would deny it, but that's what they tell her.
For Sue, work with contact lenses provides her with most satisfaction and pleasure. Partly because they give her the chance to apply her skills in giving patient satisfaction in making them effective and comfortable. And partly because she likes the continuity of contact with her patients that contact lenses open up. The same also applies to diabetic patients who return for checks each year. And older people who often come regularly. 'I enjoy providing care for people I've come to know and like,' she says.
Asked why she joined Optomeyes, and why she stays, she gives four reasons for joining and five for staying.
The four reasons that attracted her were that she thought Greg Dennis and Finian MacCana were always progressive; always up with the latest trends; always interested in having the latest equipment and that they always involved themselves, beyond the practice, in the wider community.
And the five reasons for staying? She says they are the same four that attracted her in the first place, plus the fact that at Optomeyes "they are nice people to work for - and nice people to work with".
Sue commenced practice in Launceston in 1983, she moved to Hobart for work in 1986. Sue has worked at her current locations with Optomeyes in Collins St and Rosny since 1993. She became a partner in Optomeyes in 2003 and a director the following year. She has an interest in contact lenses but enjoys all aspects of optometry.