Associate Professor Justin O’Day’s work as an Ophthalmologist has taken him around the world – from researching onchocerciasis (river blindness) in Sudan, Ecuador and Venezuela to teaching ophthalmologists in Myanmar, Cambodia, China and Vietnam. His African adventures include an emergency dash for liquid nitrogen in a small plane with big-game hunters in Nairobi and being introduced in a restaurant to a woman and her pet cheetah.
‘Things just seem to happen to me,’ Justin says of his action-packed life. ‘Meeting so many people in such diverse circumstances has given me the chance to witness people’s remarkable resilience and inventiveness.’ Justin works with the Victoria Parade Eye Consultants, Peninsula Eye Centre and Department of Ophthalmology, University of Melbourne; he is also Emeritus Ophthalmologist at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. Justin fondly remembers his time with the AYO. ‘Music is very democratic – it brings together people from different geographical and social backgrounds. AYO was my first exposure to a much wider community. It was wonderful to make music with such talented and enthusiastic young people. Also to be mentored by tutors such as John Bishop, who never belittled and was encouraging to everyone. This has been a good model for me to follow in my profession.’