Optometrist Jessica Chi says wearing glasses was a fashion faux pas during her bespectacled teenage years.
But then hipsters happened.
It might have been thorny for some but it amounts to a blessing of sorts for optometrists, says Chi.
"I think people are more keen to wear glasses," she adds. "Not just more keen to wear them but also more keen to update their look more frequently.
"The benefit of that is they come into the practice more frequently, which means they get their eyes tested more frequently." Chi, owner of Melbourne-based Eyetech Optometrists, works in a business known for addressing challenging eye care issues associated with post-trauma, post-graft and post-surgical contact lens fitting.
Chi says she performs a lot of specialty contact lens fits for patients who have eye conditions that preclude them from obtaining good vision through glasses – due to irregularly shaped eyes.
She enjoys the patient interaction, building relationships and seeing her clients experience positive results.
"Having patients that depend on you, trust you and rely on you is immensely rewarding personally, but I guess I never realised how much I would enjoy it and how much I would value it and what a difference it's made to me in my self-perception and general happiness," she says.
Chi completed a bachelor of optometry at the University of Melbourne in 2007.
She is also the current Victorian and national president of the Cornea & Contact Lens Society of Australia, part of the therapeutic advisory board for Optometry Australia and a clinical supervisor at the University of Melbourne.
She says the mix of roles she's involved in are all complementary to her career trajectory.
"A lot of people say I do too much," she says.
"I'm aware I do a lot of things but it doesn't feel like too much.
"It all helps and it's all complementary but for me, I do it because I enjoy it and the enjoyment builds my enthusiasm for the profession." In 2015, Chi was awarded a fellowship at the Australian College of Optometry in recognition of her contribution to the profession.
Another career highlight, she says, was the week she spent volunteering at the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthamology, where she spent the time teaching a small team how to fit speciality contact lenses.
"I'm really happy where I'm at right now," Chi says. "I do enough of the professional development and I really enjoy my practice. My main focus for me, I think, is to keep working on my practice and try to give back to the optometry community as much as I can."
- Article written by Josh Jennings -