Xheida’s (pronounced Jada) interest in Optometry began during her very first eye exam, after experiencing a period of blurry vision that didn’t resolve after a week. Having never had an eye examination before, the combination of physics and maths during refraction and also the clinical aspects of the ocular health examination were very captivating, especially to a science based student. It was the close up studying that caused the blurry vision! 

In 2012, Xheida was accepted to study at the University of Auckland Bachelor of Optometry programme after she excelled within her biomedical science first year. During Xheida’s time in university studying Optometry she worked at Mortimer Hirst as an Optical Dispensing Assistant. It was during this time that she developed an appreciation for contact lenses of all varieties and the talent it takes to be a competent contact lens fitter. Xheida would often see the end results of such work; patients leaving ecstatic with their contact lenses and no longer hindered with poor vision. The clinical team at Mortimer Hirst gave hope to patients that had already run out of conventional options and relied on specialised contact lenses to fix their irregular corneas.

This gave Xheida extra drive to succeed, which was reflected by the numerous awards received during her training; such as First in Class Award in ‘Ocular Pathology’, as well as receiving the ‘Alcon Prize’ in Ocular Pathology. This was followed by First in Class Award for ‘Optometry for Special Populations’, and ‘Diseases of the Eye and Visual Systems’. During her fourth year of study, Xheida received the First in Course NZAO Undergraduate Award, achieving the highest overall mark for the year. 

During her externship weeks, Xheida desired to further increase her knowledge in the fitting of complex keratoconic patients, so she immersed herself in the contact lens clinic at Greenlane Emergency Eye Hospital. Through mentorship Xheida helped fit complex Keratoconic patients with hard contact lenses and semi scleral contact lenses and helped teach insertion and removal techniques to patients. 

Xheida has also completed research in the field of myopia management in children. As myopia is a rising epidemic, Xheida’s project focused on interventions in choroid thinning, a precursor to axial elongation. She continued to have a keen interest in myopia control and is committed to providing care based on research based evidence.

After graduating with First Class Honours, Xheida travelled to Australia to work in rural and urban environments. These included rural inland Queensland, Townsville, Gold Coast and Newcastle. As Xheida is therapeutically qualifies she managed complex ocular pathology cases whilst in rural practices due to her patients experiencing geographical barriers to hospital care. 

Xheida has now returned back to Auckland to study the University of Auckland Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme. Xheida has come back to Mortimer Hirst to practice part time whilst studying. She plans to fuse her prior contact lens knowledge as well as new knowledge gained during her medical degree to further improve patient outcomes as well as provide a more holistic approach to patient care.  



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