Cowra’s Business Faces: Rob Webster | Keeper Cowra

Since 1960, Webster optometristsThe name is well known throughout Cowra and the district and has helped generations of local residents.

As part of our ongoing series, the Keeper Cowra talked to well-known optometrist Rob Webster about following in his father’s footsteps.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how long have you been an optometrist?

I was born in Cowra in 1970 and joined my dad here in 1994 and graduated from the University of NSW in 1992 so quite a few years.

What made you want to become an optometrist?

I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work in the family business.

I naturally turned to health care and optometry seemed like a good choice.

What does a typical day look like?

There is the eye health examination and the prescription of glasses and contact lenses, that’s the main thing.

But I’m more and more assessing whether people are fit to drive because that’s become an increasingly important part of our responsibilities, that kind of testing.

And also over the past 30 years, not only to detect eye disease, but we’ve gotten the right to prescribe a broader list of drugs – eye drops to treat things like glaucoma, dry eye.

I also work very closely with our closest ophthalmologists in Orange and Bathurst.

Dr Basil Crayford comes and we are lucky that he has cataract surgery once a month at Cowra.

Do you have any advice for those considering a career in optometry?

It’s a great advantage, it’s bloodless and there are no afternoons in the normal course of things.

But I fear for them how hard it is to get in, it’s more competitive in terms of numbers than in my time.

Remember there are more universities offering it now.

There were three in my day, I think there are six now.

It’s also a good way to meet a wide range of your local community.

This is all about solving problems and reassuring that there is nothing wrong in their eyes.

Especially when they get older and know someone in the family or a friend who has lost their sight.

But fortunately, even in just 30 years, we can do a lot more for things like macular degeneration.

It’s not as unpleasant a diagnosis as before.

Is there anything people could do to take better care of their eye health?

Apart from giving up cigarettes, but a balanced diet.

It is difficult to draw a direct link between general health and eye health, but diabetes has an alarming rate of young people with serious vision-threatening additions because of it.

Certainly, diabetes seems to be linked to processed foods and our lower dietary standards.

What is it about you that people may not know?

In fact, I like to score in cricket.

I have always enjoyed my participation in junior Cowra cricket.

My son is a bit too old for that at 17, he still plays junior cricket but not Cowra.

Anything else people should know about the life of an optometrist?

One thing about the country in its favor is that you are required to familiarize yourself with a much wider range of illnesses and conditions.

Because you don’t have the number of specialists on hand that you get in city practices.

You have to become a jack-of-all-trades like general practitioners.

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