Melanie Lai

Melanie Lai sitting in office with optical equipment

Department Head, Orthoptics & Orthoptic advisor for South Eastern Sydney Local Health District

Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital / District Services

“I lead the Orthoptic team at Sydney Eye Hospital; we’re the largest Orthoptic department in NSW Health. We provide comprehensive assessments and treatment for patients with eye movement disorders, double vision, childhood vision impairment and also diagnostic assessments for many chronic eye diseases. What I enjoy about my role is that every day I get to lead a great team that strives to provide and improve patient care, whilst also maintaining my own patient load, which helps me keep a connection with patients.

I recently saw a high school patient from Northern NSW who was getting bullied at school because she had quite a noticeable eye turn. She’d had the eye turn all her life and her mother couldn’t afford surgery. Someone asked her mother; ‘have you taken her to Sydney Eye Hospital?’ The mother wasn’t aware that we had a clinic, so was thrilled to hear we were able to see her daughter and organise an operation for her without any cost to her. Once the patient had surgery to straighten her eyes, you could see it impacted hugely on both the patient and her mother. The patient was so excited to tell us stories about how when the bullies would say things to her, she now had the confidence to stand up to them. It was very heart-warming and I really felt like I contributed to making a difference to their lives.”