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As well as conducting general optometric services such as eye examinations, visual screening and children’s vision (paediatrics), Grant specialises in Keratoconus, OrthoK (Orthokeratology), complex contact lens fitting and management and contact lens troubleshooting; with patients often referred to Grant by Optometrist and Ophthalmologist colleagues.


Grant regularly teaches and lectures on these specialised topics to optometry students, colleagues and the optical industry, as well as conducting research studies through the Department of Optometry and Vision Science (DOVS) at The University of Auckland.


Grant qualified as an Optometrist in 1983. After working for Barry and Beale in Auckland’s CBD, Grant travelled to the UK to gain valuable overseas experience in a more diverse market. On his return to New Zealand, Grant became a business partner at Barry and Beale. In 1987 Grant accepted the position of Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Optometry and Vision Science at The University of Auckland, training and examining optometry students.


In 1993 Grant completed the prestigious postgraduate Diploma in Contact Lens Practice from the British College of Optometrists in London and accepted the position of Councillor for the New Zealand Corneal and Contact Lens Society – a position he held until 1996, then again from 2000-2006.


Grant purchased Mortimer Hirst in St Heliers, Auckland, in 1995 and rebranded the practice Eyecare Cottage. In 1997 he completed his Optometry Master’s degree with a thesis researching aspects of the eye disease Keratoconus (conical cornea) and contact lens design for the disease.


In 2000 Grant was presented with a scholarship to study at the State University of New York (SUNY) Optometry School Postgraduate Programme, with a key focus on the co-management of glaucoma. When he returned to New Zealand, Grant published a number of peer-reviewed journal papers on aspects of corneal disease and contact lenses and presented research papers at international conferences in New Zealand, Australia and the US.


Grant was voted President of the New Zealand Corneal and Contact Lens Society in 2000 and held the position until 2002. In 2003 Grant was awarded an honorary fellowship of the New Zealand Cornea and Contact Lens Society in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the society and advancement of contact lens education in New Zealand.


Grant completed the New Zealand Certificate on Ocular Therapeutics in 2005, qualifying him to prescribe therapeutic medication for superficial eye infections, inflammations and allergies. In 2005 Grant was also promoted to Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Department of Optometry and Vision Science at The University of Auckland, teaching and lecturing in the areas of contact lenses and therapeutic drugs.


In 2007 Grant and his business partner Dispensing Optician Naomi Bicheno sold the Mortimer Hirst St Heliers practice. Grant continued to work at the practice, looking after specialty contact lens fitting, trouble shooting, OrthoK and training and teaching Optometrists within the group on these specialty areas.


Grant and Naomi purchased Mortimer Hirst in Auckland’s CBD in 2009, before purchasing St Heliers Bay Optical in 2010; rebranding it to Mortimer Hirst and relocating it to new premises, re-establishing the Mortimer Hirst brand in St Heliers. In late 2015 Grant and Naomi bought the practice of Martyn Davy Optometrist in Hurstmere Road, Takapuna and rebranded it to Mortimer Hirst.


Grant continues to attend international conferences – either as a guest lecturer or to ensure up-to-date knowledge of the latest contact lens technology and clinical techniques, giving him the necessary skills to provide solutions to patients with challenging problems.


Grant has conducted several research studies, the latest being Manuka Honey Therapy for eye lid diseases; comparing several different OrthoK lens designs and standardising treatment for Blepharitis. He has also worked with actors to help them fit and manage their special-effect contact lenses for major international films, such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Simple Creatures.


Grant sourced the SynergEyes™ hybrid lens from California, a high oxygen transmission lens with a strong bonded rigid centre, but with a soft ‘skirt’ for comfort. This lens has been highly successful in the US, Canada and now New Zealand for solving tolerance problems, particularly for Keratoconus and monocular corneal irregularities. Grant has fitted several hundred patients with the latest hybrid lens and has performed a research study through the Department of Optometry and Visual Science at The University of Auckland on the tolerance and vision with this lens.

Mortimer Hirst is currently the only practice in New Zealand chosen for a clinical research outreach programme for final year optometry students, and for the recently established Clinical Master of Science in Optometry degree in contact lenses from the Department of Optometry and Vision Science at The University of Auckland. Grant manages undergraduate student projects and currently supervises a Master’s student.

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