The Great Wall of China. Jon Baines' optometry study tour will visit China in April 2019.
By Rhiannon Riches
Victorian optometrist, member and practice owner, Nelly Munckhof, found her first international study tour so interesting, she’s been on three more.
‘Many years ago I saw an ad for Jon Baines Tours, and I gave Jon a call,’ Nelly said.
Since that phone call, she has been on four tours over the last six years run by Jon Baines Pty Ltd; three optometry study tours – to India, Sri Lanka and Peru – and one ophthalmology study tour to China.
Nelly is an independent optometrist and owner of Heathmont Optical in Melbourne.
‘The tours draw a number of new and repeat participants, like myself, and feature the same tour leaders. Dr David Shannon has led the optometry tours I’ve been on,’ she said. ‘When I went to China, UK ophthalmologist Professor Christopher Liu led the tour, where we heard about the new technologies relating to artificial cornea growth.’
UK optometrist Dr David Shannon has led optometry tours to China, South India, Cuba, South Africa, North India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Peru.
‘I found all the tours I’ve been on were very well organised. In each country I’ve visited, I’ve seen how they work in the optical industry,’ she said.
‘It’s extremely interesting; that’s why I’ve gone again. It also makes you appreciate what’s here in Australia.’
Photos of Nelly's optometry tour in India (above) and ophthalmology tour in China (below)
Nelly said a mix of optometrists, ophthalmologists – mostly from the UK – and dispensers take part in the tours.
‘It’s a mix of age groups on the tours, and it’s a very friendly experience.’
‘It’s fascinating seeing the examination rooms of optometry practices, hospitals, lens laboratories, teaching schools. In Peru, the optometry schools didn’t have windows – their rooms were simply empty concrete shells.’
Nelly said the tour leaders are flexible and accommodating.
‘On the trip to Sri Lanka, one optometrist from Ireland was interested in revisiting a quartz lens-making centre he had seen many years previously. David Shannon and the tour leader were able to find the place again, and we all visited it.’
The next Jon Baines optometry study tour will visit China in April 2019. Details can be found here.
Guilin Li River, China