Contact Lens Specialist / Optometrist.
Johan Franken (50 years old) has been married for 22 years and has two children (11 and 13 years old). Passionate about his profession he is constantly looking for new challenges in his field of studies. He has been working in optics since 1987 and in 2000 he transitioned from an MBO optometrist to an HBO optometry graduate. Since then, his interest in eye research is the driving force for all his carrier development choices. For the last 20 years he has worked at Optiek Oostman in Hoofddorp as a contact lens specialist/optometrist.
This was Johan’s first ever participation in an eye health mission and, other than a short vacation in Tunisia, this was his first time really being able to experience Africa.
He described the experience as confronting because it had him working outside of his comfort zone: performing eye examinations in daylight in a small space with a corrugated iron roof on which the sun has been pounding all day as well as being exposed to mostly advanced eye disorders in adults as well as the presence of glaucomatous papilla in young children. This was a very educational, challenging and rewarding experience.
What had also contributed to this enriching experience for him as an optometrist, was the close collaboration with the three orthoptists. This has not only allowed the screenings to be performed very thoroughly and efficiently, but also promoted the mutual exchanged of knowledge that could immediately be put into practice. Johan adds: “In my opinion the collaboration between orthoptists and optometrists will be very valuable in allowing us to develop our skills within the health care in the near future!”
In closing Johan says: “Even though we were performing the field work with limited resources, we took great satisfaction in still being able to help others.”