With the VetPrac Ophthalmology Workshop fast approaching, let’s focus on Dr Mark Billson, whose career in veterinary ophthalmology began with researching bovine eye disease. Mark, together with Dr Martyn King and Dr Edith Hampson, will help you see many aspects of ophthalmology more clearly at the VetPrac Ophthalmology Workshop on February 8-9, 2018.
Dr Mark Billson has been a Specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology for 18 years and has practised at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital, North Ryde, NSW since 2007.
Tell us about your path from researching bovine eye disease to specialisation in veterinary ophthalmology?
My involvement in bovine eye research led to a fascination with all things ocular and being exposed to the basic sciences of anatomy, physiology, microbiology and immunology fostered a desire to better understand the clinical diseases of the eye and management of these diseases.
What is your favourite ophthalmic condition to treat or manage or your favourite procedure to perform?
I do not enjoy treating glaucoma, but I enjoy trying to get solutions for problems. While it is a challenge and we do not have all the answers, I do enjoy glaucoma surgery and placement of implants to address high intraocular pressure.
Are you working on any projects at the moment?
I am continuing to try and develop the treatment of glaucoma and refining the use of drainage implants.
What have you learned from experience that you didn’t learn from a textbook?
The biggest thing I learnt was that not every disease presentation looks the same. So just because it appears a certain way in the textbook doesn’t mean that is what it will look like in the clinic. This includes differences in environment.
What in particular do you believe general practitioners would benefit from learning about ophthalmology?
How to do a good exam. Everything in the eye is visible.
What practical tips can you share with general practitioners regarding ophthalmic exams?
Do the same approach on every case and always assess both eyes. Make sure you are familiar with your equipment and its limitations.
What advice would you give new graduates?
Don’t be afraid of eyes and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What do you like to do for fun and to unwind outside of work?
I like to spend time with my family (beach holidays and tennis) and to play golf.
Written by Alison Caiafa