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"We ruined two Ishihara tests as kids": From a twin vocation to a seven-decade career, OT explores job satisfaction in families where eye health forms a common thread.

Canadian identical twins, Michael and Joshua Mandei, started studying optometry at Anglia Ruskin University at the age of 21.

Their father is a family doctor, and growing up the pair would play with his Welch Allyn ophthalmoscope, as well as a pair of colour vision tests. "We ruined two Ishihara tests as kids by colouring on the pseudo-isochromatic plates," Michael shared.

An interest in colour vision continued into their studies, with the siblings investigating the possibility of using Skittles and M&Ms to test colour vision in children for their final year project.

The clinical aspect of optometry is part of the job that Joshua and Michael value, so a key element of career satisfaction is having enough time with each patient to conduct a thorough eye examination. The pre-reg optometrists both believe that optometry is a challenging profession where there is always more to learn. They would like to see optometrists receive more recognition for their clinical training, with the potential for graduates to be called 'doctors of optometry' in the future.

The pair are often asked why they decided to study the same thing. Joshua told OT that studying optometry seemed like a good fit for both considering their interest in technology and the eye. "Our friends and distant family have quite a few sets of siblings who studied the same thing so it seemed like a natural progression," he explained.

Having a sibling studying the same subject was useful around exam time, Joshua said. "We both find it useful to have someone to bounce ideas off," he added.

While having a twin sibling working in the profession may have the potential to create confusion, the pair have had few issues with colleagues struggling to tell them apart.

Making a difference

In terms of highlights in their careers so far, Michael described seeing the impact fitting a keratoconus patient with scleral contact lenses had on the patient's vision, while Joshua talked about the first contact lens fit he did on his own. "The patient had felt self-conscious as a spectacle wearer and was very happy with contact lenses," Joshua shared.

Both siblings were drawn to optometry as a career where you can help to improve the lives of patients in a tangible way. "Our parents are very happy that we both found something we really enjoy doing and are passionate about. Optometry is an amazing career," Michael emphasised.

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Title Annotation:Johnson&Johnson VISION
Publication:Optometry Today
Article Type:Cover story
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Dec 1, 2017
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