Rajeshwari Sagar, Doctor of Optometry, Final year
Being one of the first to offer the DOptom course in UK, Aston has raised the bar for optometry not just as means of education but as a means of harnessing a wealth of knowledge that resides in every practising optometrist and to use that knowledge to promote research in this field. The DOptom makes a sensible link between the everyday practice of optometry and ground-breaking research which helps to push the profession forward
My name is Rajeshwari Sagar and I am currently in my final year of the Doctor of Optometry Course. I live in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and am a full time self-employed optometrist in a small family owned practice. I have been enrolled on the DOptom programme since 2009, as a part time distance learning student.
I graduated with a BSc in Optometry in 1982 from City University in London, but my connection with Aston was made when my daughter studied optometry and graduated from Aston in 2009. As the Secretary (and later president) of the optometric professional body in Tanzania (Tanzania Optometric Association- TOA ) I was delighted to be able to invite Dr Hannah Bartlett and Dr Frank Eperjesi from the School of Optometry to conduct continuing professional development for Tanzanian optometrists in 2008. As a result of their trip to Tanzania, Aston and TOA have created a website that allows continuing professional development in optometry without charge to all eyecare personnel in the world.
Having both a thirst for knowledge and commitment to my practice in Dar, the launch of the distance learning DOptom programme in 2008/9 was an ideal solution to furthering my studies while still being able to work in Tanzania. Currently on the final stretch, I have found the course has boosted my confidence not only in my practice but also in teaching others. My practice has definitely benefitted, often receiving referrals from other colleagues.
The course has been tough, but with the incredible support from the staff at Aston, (not just the School of Optometry, but also the Learning Development Centre, and the Library to name a few), it has been well worth the effort. I have visited Aston during my course, and have always come away energised.
Ian Beasley, Doctor of Optometry, Graduate
Since graduating with the UKs first Doctorate in Optometry last year, the qualification has opened new opportunities for me including a post-doctoral research post and more recently led to my appointment as Clinical Editor of an optometry journal.
Having studied as an undergraduate at Aston over twenty years ago, to return as a post-graduate student to undertake a professional doctorate was a natural choice for me. Although designed as a distance learning course, being local enough to make use of the facilities at Aston was an added bonus. Nevertheless, the level of support given by the course and module leaders via the distance learning route was excellent.