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Tess McCaffrey is a therapeutically qualified optometrist, with a special interest in myopia, myopia control and advanced contact lens fitting, including orthokeratology (Ortho-K). Tess holds a Bachelor of Optometry (Hons) from The University of Auckland as well as a Bachelor of Science from Otago University majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Psychology


​Tess’s interest in optometry began through her exposure to the visual system and visual processing whilst finishing her Bachelor of Science. She became fascinated with how the eyes and brain work together to produce our sense of sight. The eyes are complex and amazing structures with the retina being a central nervous tissue similar to the brain and spinal cord. Information from the retina is processed by the visual cortex as well as many other structures within our brains which intrigued Tess and made her wish to help people that suffer from eye related problems – as much as 30% of the human brain is thought to be responsible for our vision!


Once Tess gained insight into the visual system it was natural for her to pivot from the lab-based nature of neuroscience to the clinical and practical nature of Optometry. Her Bachelor of science gave Tess a strong foundation in biology and upon completion of this she began her journey toward her second degree; a Bachelor of Optometry through the University of Auckland.


Whilst studying for her Bachelor of Optometry Tess was awarded top in class for Visual Science and was awarded a summer studentship through the University of Auckland to conduct a retrospective review of ADHB glaucoma patient data. This research project compared clinical data provided with glaucoma referrals to determine what was most accurate in diagnosing glaucoma. Tess reviewed patients who were referred to the ADHB for glaucoma and compared the clinical data that was provided in the referral to establish whether this had an influence on an accurate diagnosis of glaucoma. Tess also compared patients eye pressure, cup to disc ratio, visual fields and OCT and found those with the most information i.e. all 4 pieces of information were more likely to be a correct diagnosis despite the majority not having all this data. Tess also found patients IOP’s (Inter Ocular Pressures) where not a great predictor and may be better for management than diagnosis. Finally the use of a grading system like the disc damage likelihood scale were better for grading an optic disc compared to just the ratio.


For three years whilst studying for her Bachelor of Optometry Tess undertook NCEA tutoring for students 9-13 where she taught biology, chemistry and earth sciences as well as working part-time for Mortimer Hirst.


Tess graduated with first class honours and was handpicked to join the industry leading clinical team at Mortimer Hirst. Being myopic herself, throughout her degree Tess was particularly interested in myopia and myopia control. Utilising modern technologies such as advanced contact lenses, ophthalmic lenses and medication to prevent the long-term complications for myopia is an area of clinical practice Tess is excited to continue while working at Mortimer Hirst.


Tess’s Father is a well-known international cinematographer whom worked overseas on feature films. Tess travelled with her father during her childhood living and attending schools in various different countries before returning to Auckland for high school. 


Outside of work Tess’s interests include photography, swimming and water sports. Tess’s interest in water sports took her to the US prior to completing her Optometry degree to work as a lifeguard at a children’s summer camp in New York.

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