Tymon Yeo: University Prize Winner, Murdoch University, WA

Tymon was the recipient of one of the VetPrac’s ‘Practical New-Graduate Scholarship Prizes,’ valued at $1500, in 2015. These prizes are awarded to veterinary students who actively pursue the development of practical skills during placements and discuss their discovery in the best essay submitted to their university.

Tymon has a distinct interest in ophthalmology and used his placements to focus on the skills that would contribute to building his career goals. He has elected to use his prize money to attend the VetPrac Practical Ophthalmology Workshop on October 7-8th with Drs Martin King, Edith Hampsen and Mark Billson.

Here is an excerpt from his winning essay:

“I have learnt how to perform direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy on my placements. Direct ophthalmoscopy is performed by holding the direct ophthalmoscope against one’s brow, and examining the patient’s eye from a very close distance (approximately 1-2 cm). Direct ophthalmoscopes are very common in general practice, and the technique provides a highly magnified image. However, the examiner’s face is extremely close to the patient, and a much smaller field of view is seen, such that more time and movement is required to examine the entire fundus. As one can imagine, this can be difficult in a fractious or restless patient who does not allow the examiner an extended period of time at such a close distance.

Indirect ophthalmoscopy is performed with a light source and a hand lens; while head loupes are available that allow for binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy, a focal light source such as a penlight may be used for monocular indirect ophthalmoscopy. The benefits of this technique are that the examiner’s face is further from the animal, and a much wider field of view is achieved. Consequently, this technique is very well suited to a quick survey of the fundus. The image seen is upside-down and mirrored, however with practice one can quickly get used to driving the image in the desired direction. While indirect ophthalmoscopy hand lenses are less common in general practice, they are reasonably cheap. Since learning this useful technique on my placements, I have begun to build my own hand lens according to a guide by an American veterinary ophthalmologist. I plan to bring this tool into practice along with the technique that I have learnt, so as to allow me to further develop my skills and experience in handling ophthalmological cases.”

Tymon is sure to be a future leader in the field of ophthalmology, so we wanted to get to know him a little better. We recently asked Tymon a few questions…

You’ve been in practice a few months now. Where are you working?

I’m working in a rural mixed practice in York, Western Australia.

Is it everything you imagined?

Yes, and more! Most importantly, my colleagues here are extremely supportive and very good at their jobs, which makes it so much easier

Have there been any surprises?

Not really, as I did my best to go into the job with an open mind and without any prior expectations. Having said that, I did not expect the level of gratitude that many owners have expressed after helping them through a euthanasia.

As an immediate new graduate what are the things you wish you’d paid more attention to at uni which seem so important now?

It would be nice if I could remember everything on every topic! One thing in particular would be the little details in treatment protocols, such as how long you want to dispense a drug for – thankfully all of this can be easily found with good resources/reference material, but it definitely makes you feel slower when you are trying to keep up with consults.

Was there anything you wanted more of at uni, but simply couldn’t learn because there wasn’t the time?

Ophthalmology! I find it immensely fascinating and interesting, yet I didn’t really have that much free time to study it beyond the handful of lectures that we received at university.

What advice would you give final year vet students preparing for practice?

Pretend that you are the vet with all the cases you see – try to think up what your plan of action would be, before the clinician tells you what they are going to do. Trying to think like a vet often helps you realise what you need to learn/know to improve in a clinical setting.

If you could ask any 3 questions of any vets of any qualification anywhere – what would they be?

Do you have any tips for working with clients who are frustratingly uncooperative and non-compliant, yet demand the world?

What advice do you have for new graduate veterinarians just starting out in mixed practice?

How do you keep up to date with the latest literature and ensure best practice, when the depth and breadth of knowledge in veterinary medicine is this large and continuing to grow?

Please post any wisdom regarding Tymon’s questions in the comments section below!

Congratulations Tymon and welcome to veterinary practice!