Ingrid Metsing received her Phd on the 17th October. Her thesis was entitled: Strategies to improve school vision screenings at primary health care level in Gauteng (South Africa). Vision had a chat with her to learn more about this remarkable achievement.
Ed – Where do you hail from?
IM – I am originally from Vereeniging, but I am now staying in Glen Vista.
Ed – How did you end up in the profession Optometry?
IM – I actually initially wanted to do medicine, but ended up doing Optometry because of the low number of black optometrists in the country.
Ed – Where did you do your undergraduate degree?
IM – At the University of Turfloop, now called the University of Limpopo
Ed – Do you have any siblings who have followed an academic career as you have?
IM – I have a younger brother and older sister and they are both academics. I actually come from a family of academics because both my mom and dad were educators.
Ed – Who was your mentor or inspiration?
IM – My parents.
Ed – Tell me about your working experience?
IM – After getting my undergraduate qualification, I worked for Mellin and Partners in Vereeniging for approximately 2 years. Thereafter, I worked for Prof Selwyn Super who eventually sold me his practice. As a solo practitioner I got bored and ended up applying for a vacancy at the then Witwatersrand Technicon as a lecturer. I found working as a lecturer to be mentally stimulating and very interesting because I learned a lot related to my profession. It also gives me pride to see the students graduating. This to me indicates that I have managed to contribute towards making the future brighter for the others. Being a lecturer at UJ has motivated me to study further for my postgraduate qualifications, M.Phil and D.Phil.
Ed – What is your position at UJ now?
IM – I am a lecturer.
Ed – If you had a magic wand – what would you change about optometry in South Africa?
IM – I would encourage optometrists to work in the rural areas where they are needed the most. In addition, the payments by medical aids made towards optometrists for the services and devices provided to the patients is not fair. There are middle institutions that have hampered the fair payment to the optometrists, whereby discounts are negotiated and no full payments are made to the optometrists. If I had a magic wand I would definitely ensure that optometrists are paid for a full range of professional services and products they provide to the patients.
Ed – What do you do in your spare time?
IM – I read inspirational books, go to the gym, do fun walks and runs and love listening to the music.
Ed – What are your future plans?
IM – To encourage and avail myself to the optometrists requiring supervision for their postgraduate studies in research. I further want to do post-doctoral research, because there is a lot that still needs to be done in this country. For example, the epidemiological data on the prevalent visual anomalies amongst children and the elderly appears to be lacking.
Ed – On behalf of Vision Magazine, congratulations on receiving your Phd.