Alan Cheung Ka-wing, an optometrist with part-one qualification at a local practice in Kowloon, is working to fulfil his dream of opening his own clinic. I qualified 10 years ago as a part-one optometrist, graduating from Polytechnic University. I now work for a local doctor in private practice in Kowloon. The university course I took lasted four years. In the first year, I did basic training such as ocular and head anatomy, vision physiology and optics. In the second and third years, I did more practical subjects such as ocular pharmacology, ocular pathology, clinical optometry, contact lens studies, ophthalmic lenses and dispensing. During my studies I had the opportunity to practise as a student optometrist at the university's optometry clinic, seeing real patients. Once I graduated I was qualified to register as a part-one optometrist. My work makes me very happy because every day I see people and can help them. People regularly come into our clinic complaining about blurred vision and it is down to me to find the reason, of which there can be many. Some people have eye diseases, others might have the wrong glasses, or need glasses. I work with our doctor and help determine what they need. Usually I start with a basic eye check to find out how clearly a person can see. Then I check the eye to find the correct refraction for glasses they may need. I then make up a prescription for the most suitable eyewear for that patient. My work puts me in lots of different situations. For instance, sometimes a child might wake up unable to see clearly. It can be something we call 'lazy eye' and it happens when one eye has lost its ability to see clearly. As optometrists, we know this is because children have under-developed visual pathways in their nervous system, making the connection between the eye and the brain less effective. I would correct this with glasses and may refer them to an eye doctor for visual training and eye exercises. I also see people with very poor vision. They might have minus 20 dioptric vision which means they need extremely powerful glasses. When I work with people like this I find it very satisfying because it is so meaningful to be able to give a person good vision again. We work with both soft and hard contact lenses. Hard contact lenses are rigid and gas permeable. They are healthier for the eyes because they allow more oxygen in - our eyes need oxygen to be healthy. Soft lenses do let oxygen pass through but at a lower level. I have to take all this into consideration when I am testing, and work out what is best for my client. I fit the glasses and the contact lenses and then pass the client to the opticians at our optical department who advise on frames. Sometimes I need to make recommendations to other specialists such as eye surgeons who perform Lasik treatments. In these cases I do the testing, work out the refractive error and refer the patient to the surgeon. In future I hope to start my own clinic and work for myself - that is my dream.