See better. Look perfect.

Ian Donald


Ian Donald had a vision.

He was going to become a dentist. It seemed like a good plan, until his careers adviser gave him a brochure on optometry. It opened up a whole new world. The eye intrigued him. It fascinated him. Optometry captivated him. And so his whole focus changed.

Ian went on to do work experience in the very office he owns today. While studying Optometry at the prestigious UNSW, he spent hours working in that same office, doing all the things no one else wanted to do. Filing. Filing. Filing.

Learning, learning, learning. It’s part of who he is.

Even today he is constantly training and retraining, studying and staying up to date with the latest technology in eye health.

So what else energises Ian?

‘Riding my bike, being part of the community, and helping people see. It gives me the best feeling possible. We take it for granted, because we do it all day, every day. It’s such a gift to be able to give people peace of mind.’

His focus is as much on the child who is short sighted, and with eye-tracking problems, as the 90 year-old who needs their glasses adjusted so they can continue driving and maintain their independence.

It’s about quality care. And excellence in eye health.

Understanding the social and emotional needs of children’s eye health is also a speciality.

Ian Donald feels passionately about preventative eye health. About staying on top of current trends and about ensuring every single person who walks through the doors of Ian Donald Optometrist feels that same peace of mind when they leave.

Satisfaction is a driving force behind Ian Donald. He gets that from providing clinical excellence, family focused, reliable and positive outcomes for all patients.

Would he have made a good dentist? Probably. But he makes an even better optometrist, and that’s the main thing.

Eyes 1. Teeth 0.*

*We are in no way endorsing the importance of eyes over teeth.

Michael Kotow


Michael Kotow became fascinated with contact lenses after completing his Masters Degree in 1981. He had the privilege of working alongside Brian Holden, who became one of the leading researchers in contact lenses.

For a talented young optometrist with a passion for something new and exciting, this was an incredible environment to be in.

Fast-forward 31 years. Having recently left the corporate sector, Michael sat down with his old friend Ian Donald. Theirs was a long friendship built on trust, respect and mutual admiration. A tale of two strengths.

A proposal was made. ‘Work with me for two weeks,’ Ian said.

But Michael famously told Ian, ‘You don’t need me. I’ll ruin your business.’

Somehow he was talked into staying, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Helping people is what drives Michael Kotow.

Sometimes the simplest fix gives the most pleasure. It could be removing an eyelash that has turned in, or treating someone in the early stages of retinal detachment and being able to make a big difference. It’s so rewarding to help people.

Identifying issues, finding solutions, giving the right treatment, and saving vision. Actually, those are the key words. Saving vision. And giving patients the very best care possible. That’s what Michael does best.

And does he still have that passion for contact lenses?

Embarrassingly so. Have you seen the new multi-focal contact lenses? Come in and let him show you.

Contact us to learn more about how Ian Donald Optometrist can help your vision.

David Olver


After completing his undergraduate degree in immunology at Sydney University, Dave Olver had no hesitation when deciding what his area of postgraduate study would be.

‘Because I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 10 I’ve always been intrigued by optometry, so I chose it as my postgraduate area of study. As soon as I commenced my optometry degree at Melbourne University I realised just how passionate I was about optometry.

‘I love that every day and every patient is unique, and I love the long term relationship we form as optometrists with our patients…our patients come back to see us year after year.

‘I’m just so happy I chose this path of study…optometry really is my natural fit.’

And it seems like the northern beaches is also a natural fit for Dave, even after many years of living, studying and working all around Australia.

‘I was born in South Africa but my family emigrated here when I was 7 and I grew up in Belrose.

Since then, I’ve lived in many different parts of Australia, studying optometry in Melbourne, followed by work in the north-west of Tasmania, Port Headland in WA, and Forster, in the mid north Coast region of NSW, before finally returning to Sydney last year.

‘I just love living in Sydney, especially the northern beaches, and that’s what drew me back.’

Dave brings a unique skill set to Ian Donald, as well as a special interest in Ortho K.

‘I’m qualified to prescribe therapeutic endorsements, such as antibiotics, steroids, glaucoma medication and anti inflammatories to treat conditions such as red or painful eyes, conjunctivitis, etc, which means our patients no longer need to go to a doctor to obtain these scripts. And I also have a special interest in Ortho K because I wear Ortho K myself.’

Dave believes Ian Donald Optometrist is a very special practice, quite unlike any place he’s ever worked at before.

‘There’s a continuity of care here that’s unique and was already apparent after just a few weeks of working here. Some of our patients have even been coming here for over 50 years. I’m enjoying getting to know all of our patients, the wide variety of work, and just love how efficient and welcoming the entire team is, really helping me fit in.’

When Dave’s not at work he’s a keen beach person who enjoys ocean swimming and surfing, watching the Sydney Swans and the occasional round of golf.

So even though he’s only recently returned to the northern beaches, you really could call Dave a local!

Sean Castleman

Optical Dispenser Manager

Sean Castleman can still remember what he was wearing on his first day at Ian Donald Optometrist, 28 years ago.

It says a lot about the kind of man he is, and the way he feels about his job.

‘I love what I do. Helping people choose frames and feeling good when they leave. I get enormous satisfaction from it.’

When people are prescribed glasses or lenses, particularly for the first time, many aren’t sure what suits them. They need guidance, and that’s what Sean provides. Guidance and expertise.

Because besides the experience gained from 28 years in the business, Sean is a fully qualified, licensed Optical Dispenser, a title he is proud of.

‘Our industry has been deregulated, so we pride ourselves on having experienced, qualified dispensers to offer our patients quality service,’ Sean says.

Sean also manages stock control at the practice. Ian Donald Optometrist fits lenses at their on-site laboratory, where most places send them away. This allows them to deliver to their patients in a much shorter time.

When he’s not fitting glasses and lenses, Manly local Sean can often be found at the local soccer pitch. We’re sure he has no trouble seeing the ball!

Marianne Heller

Optical Dispenser

‘Our service is our brand, our point of difference.’

Marianne Heller is a problem solver. And a qualified one at that.

A 3 ½ year apprenticeship in Germany followed by 16 years in the industry there didn’t dull her passion for helping customers find exactly the right pair of glasses.

For 18 years at Ian Donald Optometrist, she’s been solving issues and ensuring people choose exactly what they need, based on their lifestyle and other factors.

‘I love how a simple thing such as knowing how to properly adjust a patient’s frames can give an instant fix to a big problem – it’s instantly rewarding and very gratifying.’

Marianne also loves the community aspect of the practice.

‘When I’m out and about in Manly, I run into happy clients all the time, and we have a chat. Working Saturdays at the practice is a real social club – customers pop in for a chat and to say hi as they’re walking past.’

Building relationships and trust. It’s what she does best.

So Marianne’s expertise, experience and knowledge sets her apart. But what does she think is the key to a successful practice?

‘The level of service we provide is our brand, and our point of difference.’

Jennifer Lust

Optical Dispenser

Jennifer decided to move to Australia from Estonia in early 2017 and she hasn’t looked back since.

“I moved to Australia to pursue a better lifestyle and yes, I admit the climate was also a large part of the attraction.

“I’m a fully qualified optometrist in Estonia, where I worked in larger optometry practices, but I didn’t really enjoy the work environment as much because they really felt more like a production line!

“Here, at Ian Donald, the standard of care is so completely different. Every client is special…and every client is treated as an individual.

“And of course, our team are also simply wonderful to work with.”

Jennifer loves living here so much she’s now preparing to sit her optometry qualifying exams, which will her allow her to practice as an optometrist in Australia.

When she’s not working or studying, Jennifer relaxes by taking long walks around the northern beaches, where she really can soak up the beautiful lifestyle and climate that she moved to Australia to enjoy.

Heidi Hapl

Optometrist Assistant/Sales/Receptionist

‘I love people, but I also love all the fashionable glasses.’

Heidi Hapl isn’t sure if she’s more interested in the people who come into the practice, or the fashionable glasses she gets to look at every day. Having been at the practice since 1990, you’d think she would know by now.

She delivers a very high level of service, and is able to multitask very well. After 27 years, you would expect that.

You will instantly feel at ease with her experience and knowledge.

Heidi is an all-rounder, dividing her time between assisting the optometrists, supporting the optical dispensers (and offering the odd piece of fashion advice) and answering the phones.

She’s also there to greet you when you walk through the door.

Even after 27 years, Heidi is still energised by her role at Ian Donald Optometrist and loves to feel part of the team. As a long-time Northern Beaches resident, Heidi has seen how multiple generations come through the doors.

It’s part of why she loves it. That, and the fashionable specs.

Tracy Ward

Part time Receptionist / Bookkeeper

There’s a loyalty among the staff at Ian Donald Optometry that doesn’t exist in most places. Part time Receptionist/Bookkeeper Tracy Ward is a great example of this. She started working there 43 years ago when she was 17. Of course she had a few years off to have children, but it’s been 30 years since she returned to work after having her daughter.

Tracy lives locally and loves being part of the team, and part of the wider community. Originally employed by Wallaby legend Rob Heming, she knows and has serviced generations of families in the Manly community. Tracy strives for a good work/life balance, and is grateful for a team who were flexible with her hours when she was the parent of a young child.

And when she’s not at work, she loves spending time with her grandson!

Katarina Kevika


I love that every day is different, it’s never boring’

Katarina, a local mum, has worked at Ian Donald Optometry for over 5 years now.

She’s the friendly face at reception, and also assists with pre-testing and fitting of frames. So you could say she’s a jack of all trades.

She loves the mix of local community and the tourists… and she loves helping people. Katarina is the first to admit she enjoys a chat, and is a big talker!

When she’s not at work, she loves spending time with her young family and doing yoga.

Erica Castleman

Optometrist Assistant/Sales/Receptionist

Erica Castleman just loves delivering great customer service.

Which probably explains why she immediately slotted right in when she joined the team at Ian Donald Optometry in November 2017.

“Before I joined Ian Donald I had spent the previous 4 years working in customer service, and I realised it’s something I’m very passionate about. So coming to work every day in such a friendly environment, where everyone works together as a team to deliver the very best outcome for our clients, is really a dream come true for me.

“Not only are our clients incredibly loyal and happy to come back to see us year after year, but they’re so happy with our standard of service they also refer their friends and family to us as well!”

Erica is now planning to pursue further studies in optics, and it should come as no surprise that in her spare time she continues to help others by volunteering at a hospital.

Kaja Tiidema

Optical Dispenser

One day, Kaja attended an open day at a university. She didn’t know what to expect. But then she discovered the world of optometry. The doors burst open with opportunity and she hasn’t looked back since.

“Optometry really fascinates me. I got my diploma in England in optical science and have been in the industry since 2013. I’ve since worked in hospitals and other optical stores to help gain more experience.

While I’m not yet a fully qualified optometrist here in Australia, I’m currently studying to fulfil my goals. And working at Ian Donald is the perfect place for me.

What I love the most about working at Ian Donald is our dedication to looking after our patients. We really make our patients feel at home, and I love that that’s our number one priority.

I also love how welcoming and kind everyone is towards one another. They really are helping me with achieving my dreams!”

Kaja enjoys helping patients with pre-tests and picking the perfect glasses and lenses.

When she’s not working, Kaja relaxes by dancing, doing yoga, reading and drawing. She also loves anything to do with oceans – whether it’s swimming, surfing or walking by the beach, the ocean is her happy place.

Are you ready to take the first step towards great eye health? Call us any time.

We are open 6 days a week. You can contact us to make an appointment and you can find us here.


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37 -39 The Corso
Manly 02 9977 6700 02 9977 3402