By Elizabeth Ong Jia Li, Victoria Junior College

From 10 to 12 June 2019, I had the privilege of being attached to a highly qualified ophthalmologist, Dr Au Eong Kah Guan, at the International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, located at both Farrer Park Medical Centre as well as Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. Over the three days of my attachment, I gained deeper insight into the medical profession, observed the interactions between the patients and the doctor, as well as learned good work ethics.

During my attachment, I had the opportunity to observe the dynamics of the clinic and learned how the experienced optometrist staff, together with Dr Au Eong, worked hand in hand to ensure a smooth and thorough consultation for each patient. For each patient consultation with Dr Au Eong, the clinic optometrists would first conduct a meticulous eye screening test, using the latest state-of-the-art eye screening machines. This is to ensure that no unusual results or symptoms go undetected. Two examples of the modern technology employed by the clinic are the Optos ultra-widefield fundus camera which in less than half a second delivers a detailed 200-degree image of the retina and the IOLMaster 700 which allows for efficient and precise measurements of the length and curvature of the eye, needed for cataract surgery. Watching the well-oiled dynamics of the clinic opened my eyes to the teamwork involved to ensure the best service possible for the patients.

Over the course of my attachment, I was also able to observe the warm, yet professional consultations Dr Au Eong had with his patients. I am very impressed with the way he thoroughly and patiently explained each condition to his patients, as well as ensured that each patient understood their condition, despite any language barrier. Furthermore, Dr Au Eong took his time to explain and clarify any of the patients’ doubts as well as patiently and kindly answered any questions the patients had. This impressed on me the importance of the way doctors interacted with their patients. Moreover, I was able to observe some eye tests Dr Au Eong did in his clinic, for example the Schirmer Test, which measures the tear production of a patient, and the Tear Breakup Time Test to check for evaporative dry eyes.

The highlight of my attachment was being able to follow Dr Au Eong into the operation theatre to observe multiple cataract surgeries. I really admired the way he went the extra mile to ensure that the patients were comfortable and relaxed before the surgeries. I was utterly in awe of the precision and steadiness Dr Au Eong had in making the incisions as well as throughout the entire procedure. In addition, I really admired the way he stayed so calm and relaxed while performing the surgeries and how he even took the time to explain each step to me. To add on, I was even able to have a close up, three-dimensional view of the surgery by looking through the teaching microscope. During the surgeries, he also explained some of the different intraocular lenses he used, which I found extremely interesting. For example, monofocal lenses, toric lenses for astigmatism and even yellow-tinted lenses to block out harmful blue light.

Overall, I am colossaly grateful for this amazing opportunity that has really allowed me to learn more about the medical profession as well as taught me the importance of communication, patience and good work ethics. I would like to extend my greatest gratitude to both the kind and caring Dr Au Eong and his staff. Thank you so much for the fulfilling three days and thank you for inspiring me!