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Into focus with Dr Edith Hampson, Specialist Ophthalmologist

Posted in Our Community @ Aug 19th 2021 - By Dr Edith Hampson & the VetPrac team
Into Focus With Dr Edith Hampson Specialist Ophthalmologist

‘Eye’ am sure many of you know this week’s very talented (and downright wonderful) featured member of our VetPrac community, specialist ophthalmologist, Dr. Edith Hampson (BVSc PhD FANZCVS). Dr Hampson is an Adjunct Associate Professor at The School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, where she continues to lecture and perform research studies and practices at VSS in Jindalee.

Dr Hampson is shaping the next generation of veterinarians and improving the lives of her patients. 

What is it about ophthalmology that piquedyour interest prior to specialization, and what keeps you inspired going forward?

My postdoctoral work looked at how retinal cells communicated with each other and how different drugs could modulate gap junctions between specific retinal cell types. The flat retinal model is perfect for understanding similar mechanisms in the brain. Towards the end of my research studies, I started back in clinical practice but mostly examining eye cases. It was most exciting. I knew I just had to specialize then. I still am fascinated and I now enjoy sharing that passion through teaching.

What is your favourite ophthalmic condition to treat or manage or your favourite procedure to perform?

I enjoy treating ocular surface diseases, particularly in pug dogs.

What have you learned from experience that you didn’t learn from a textbook?

The most important thing I have learned from experience is developing a good ocular examination technique which is a “hands on experience” and difficult to get from a textbook.

What procedure, technology, or medication have you tried that doesn’t work?

A surgical technique that doesn’t work well is a simple Hotz-Celsus for entropion repair in the cat. It fails because a lateral canthoplasty technique is also required to prevent recurrence.

What have you tried that does work and may be surprising to other vets?

I find that artificial tear replacements are beneficial not only for cases of dry eye, but in cases of poor ocular surface health, especially in geriatric patients.

What in particular do you believe general practitioners would benefit from learning about ophthalmology?

GPs can benefit most by learning how to perform a great ophthalmic examination. This is essential before making a diagnosis and treatment plan.

What is your ‘hot tip’ for general practitioners regarding ophthalmic exams?

Perform distant direct ophthalmoscopy or retroillumination. It can show you the difference between nuclear sclerosis and true cataract, as well as detecting lesions anywhere between the cornea and the retina.

Would you like to share any horror or hero stories from your experience?

Horror stories I have experienced mostly reflect cases in which tissues samples were not submitted for pathological examination or stored in formalin. As a result, the disease or masses progressed resulting in either enucleation or even euthanasia. Earlier detection of the underlying disease processes could have made such a difference in treating or managing the disease.

What advice would you give new graduates?

Ask the question – why, why, why? I would suggest that new graduates get as much information from their more experienced colleagues as possible in their first few years; have a notebook to write everything down during the day so that you can look it up at night – write little summaries to have the information at hand when talking to clients.

Also keep a check on the outcome of all your patients – get them back for rechecks or telephone. It is this feedback and review information that will tell you if you have been successful in your diagnoses and treatment plans.

Click here to visit the VetPrac website to see all of the workshops on offer

About Dr Edith Hampson

BVSc PhD FANZCVS, Specialisation: Ophthalmology

Edith Hampson is a specialist veterinary ophthalmologist who enjoys teaching undergraduate students and practitioners about diseases of the eye. She was awarded her BVSc in 1981 and PhD in toxicology in 1989, and her Membership (Medicine of Dogs) in 1998 and Fellowship (Veterinary Ophthalmology) in 2004. She has worked in mixed and small animal practices, university clinics, specialist hospitals, as well as a postdoctorate in a Vision research unit. Edith is a small animal and equine ophthalmology consultant based at VSS Jindalee in Brisbane. She continues to lecture and perform research as Adjunct Associate Professor, at The University of Queensland.


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