Name: Wilson Luu
Class of: 2015
Degree: BOptom (Hons), BSc
Wilson graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Optometry (Hons)/Bachelor of Science in 2015. Since graduating, Wilson has worked as a Staff Optometrist at private practices in rural NSW and metropolitan Sydney, clinic supervisor at UNSW as well as travelled overseas to provide eye care to the Nepalese Everest community. He has also held positions on the Young Optometrists NSW/ACT executive team and has been a speaker at several of their events. He is currently exploring the application of virtual reality in patients with eye disease at the Centre for Eye Health. He has interests in ocular pathology and advancements in technology to be used in eye care.
What made you choose to study Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW Sydney?
When I was seven, I struggled to see the board in class. It unfortunately got to the point where I had to rely on others in order for me to see far away. That was when I had my first experience with an optometrist and when I understood the value of good eyesight. I was fortunate enough that a pair of spectacles improved my vision impairment. Having good eyesight gave me the opportunity to be independent again. This sense of independency helped fuel my drive to help others gain their independence from their self-limitations. I wanted to make change and felt that improving healthcare was one key to improving independence. I wanted to choose a health related field and thought Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW Sydney was a good choice in providing back to the community what I received at a young age.
What has been your journey since finishing your Optometry degree?
I have been quite busy for the past five years.
Since finishing my Optometry degree, I moved to the Hunter Valley for a couple of years and worked in both regional and metropolitan practices as a clinician. During my first year out, I joined Young Optometrists (a not-for-profit organisation created in 2012 to help shape the future of optometry) as an executive board member, of which I am now the Chairperson. I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks volunteering in the Himalayas, providing eye care to the Sherpa community through Eyes4Everest in 2017.
In 2018, I moved back to Sydney to start my PhD journey at the Centre for Eye Health and UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science in investigating how we could improve our understanding of perception and the visual system in people with macular degeneration and glaucoma using virtual reality. I was fortunate to be a recipient of a travel award to present some of my research at the Asia Pacific Conference on Vision in Osaka, Japan in 2019 and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in 2021. I was also lucky to be given the opportunity to supervise the fourth and final year Optometry students in the UNSW Optometry Clinic. I have also been involved in supervising research projects as well as lecture/teach in optometry courses.
I also started a full scope optometry practice called Lumiere Eyecare with my partner in 2018. We began this journey by setting up in a garage and providing eye care both after-hours and doing home visits. Our mission was to integrate the full scope of optometry so that we can provide holistic care to our patients. In October 2020, we moved to a shop-front in Wentworth Point.
What or who has been your biggest influence on your career?
My family has been my biggest influence on my career. My family immigrated to Australia as refugees from war-torn countries with almost nothing. I saw the hardship my family experienced and wanted to be their support as soon as I was able to. I was grateful that I was given the opportunity to have a decent education and life. I learned that the more I knew, the more I could provide and make an impact – on my family, friends and society.
Tell us a little bit about the organisations that you volunteer with outside of your day-to-day job
I am passionate about volunteering and charity work and am/have been involved in a number of organisations and charity events.
As mentioned earlier, I am the current Chairperson of Young Optometrists, which is an organisation aimed to support optometrists and students by providing both a voice and a dynamic and progressive environment to advance the profession. One of our goals is to challenge the status quo and ensure that the future of optometry is one that has been chosen by optometrists, not dictated to us.
I also volunteered and was a team leader in the Red Cross Save-A-Mate program for eight years until the program’s end in mid-2020. This program was developed to provide support and promote the health and wellbeing of young people in high risk environments, particularly where drug use and alcohol is involved.
In 2019, a group of friends and I co-founded a not-for-profit organisation called From Darkness to Light. This aims to provide orphaned children in Vietnam a fair go by providing the basic necessities for living as well as a means for education, so that one day they may create a self-sustainable environment for other children in similar situations. I am also involved with A Start in Life, a charity which assists young Australians in necessitous circumstances to overcome their barriers to education so that they may have an equal chance at life as their peers.
What advice would you like share with our commencing Optometry and Vision Science students?
How you treat others, especially those who have less than you, isn’t a reflection of others. It is a reflection of you. Kindness goes a long way. A simple smile can change someone’s world. Be mindful, of yourself and others.
Spend time setting the foundations right. Chisel the mind - like a rough stone from a shapeless mass to a thing of beauty. Continue to question and learn, take ownership of yourself, so that you can achieve your goals and purpose in life.