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HomemioptometryOptometry Association Reports Mar 2011

Optometry Association Reports Mar 2011

OAA Qld / NT

Greg Johnson

What a sad, unforgettable start to the year!

During the Queensland floods crisis, the OAA locally and nationally sent regular communications to members, as did mivision, asking for reports of damage and for members to contact the Queensland office if help was required.


The OAA Board intends to dedicate a significant part of the Australian Vision Convention at the Gold Coast to remembering the Queensland floods of December/January, to pay tribute to the optometrists who suffered through it…

We have been overwhelmed by the offers of support from members and trade friends during and since the floods disaster. Labour, equipment, frames, lenses, contact lenses, safety eyewear, discounted shop-fitting, free CPD, free registration to the Australian Vision Convention (to be held on the Gold Coast from 28 April to 1 May) and more.

It is all detailed in a document titled Queensland Floods – Optometry Responds, posted on our website at www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland.

We are also aware that many members and trade friends have directly contacted flood-impacted members and have already assisted them with the clean up and rebuilding processes. In particular we thank BOC Instruments, Carl Zeiss Australia, Designs for Vision, Eurostyle Eyewear, Eyres Optical, General Optical, Health Partners Optical, Johnson & Johnson, Paul Lagos, Luxottica, Mondottica Australia, Optica Life Accessories, OptomCPD, Prescription Safety Glasses, ProOptics and Retail Industries.

The OAA Board intends to dedicate a significant part of the Australian Vision Convention at the Gold Coast to remembering the Queensland floods of December/January, to pay tribute to the optometrists who suffered through it, to acknowledge the care and generosity of the profession and the wonderful trade companies that surround it and to raise a significant amount of money to go towards the recovery appeal.

Fundraising is likely to take the form of an auction of valuable items using a high profile personality, silent auctions, direct donations from delegates and through exhibitors giving AUD$1 for each Exhibition Passport they certify for delegates. This latter initiative could raise as much as AUD$36,000 and only cost exhibitors AUD$500 each.

The OAA has slashed AUD$250 off the delegate registration fee for members in flood affected areas who have suffered or will suffer economic hardship as a result of the floods. BOC Instruments, Designs for Vision and General Optical have topped the OAA offer by offering a limited number of free registrations to the convention.

Members and friends are invited to make a tax deductible donation to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal at www.qld.gov.au/floods


Andrew McKinnon

Registration as a health professional is a great privilege that society bestows – but the privilege can seem a bit cloudy when the registration process gets the stumbles.

Everyone involved in this first round of renewals understands that matters have not gone as smoothly as everyone had hoped and we know that the people at the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) are trying their level best to get matters sorted as quickly as they possibly can.

However, it still remains the responsibility of the individual optometrist to make sure that their registration is up to date.

If you are uncertain about any aspect of your registration renewal, contact AHPRA immediately on (AUS) 1300 419 495 or use the online enquiry form at www.ahpra.gov.au.

If you can’t get through to AHPRA, call the Association and let us know – we’ll make sure that the message gets to AHPRA via other channels.


Terri Smith

The Southern Regional Congress (SRC) is fast approaching and we are pleased to see the registrations rolling in thick and fast. We return to the lofty Melbourne Connection and Exhibition Centre again in 2011 and have another terrific program planned. The program ensures you can meet all your continuing professional development requirements, with therapeutically endorsed optometrists being able to achieve the required 20 annual CPD points within the main program.

Our Education Committee has spent a lot of time developing the program to ensure you enjoy the SRC, to be held from 14 to 16 May. The OAA Victoria website at www.optometrists.asn.au has full program details as well as photos, news and hints for making the most of the SRC in Melbourne.

For members wanting to employ graduates in the coming years, there is only one week to go until our Career Expo on Sunday 6 March. Fourth and Final year optometry students from the University of Melbourne will be attending to meet potential employers. We’d love to introduce you to the students.

We are once again offering a Post Graduate International Travel Scholarship to OAA Victoria members for travel up to December 2011. The grant is to the value of AUD$1,500 and is offered to assist an OAA Vic member with international travel to present their current work at a relevant international conference or to undertake research overseas. Applications will close soon – on 14 March. Contact our office or check the website for an application form.

We continue our monthly CPR sessions bringing members together to have a good catch up while they refresh their CPR qualification. Just contact our office if you are interested in attending a CPR session.

OAA Victoria members will take to the green this year again to support Optometry Giving Sight. Our annual golf day will be held on Monday 21 March at the Yarra Yarra Golf Course, Bentleigh East. The cost for the day is AUD$110 and you will be encouraged to dip into your pocket for fabulous raffle prizes with proceeds going to Optometry Giving Sight. Registration includes a light lunch, course fees and dinner (drinks at bar prices). This year, comedian Dave O’Neill will join us as the master of ceremonies. We are grateful to Peter Lewis, Peter Stewart and David Ludowyk for once again taking on the task of organising the Golf Day.

Places are limited so if you are keen to play, contact the office quickly on (AUS) 03 9652 9100.

Looking forward to seeing you soon at one of these activities.


Libby Boschen

Are you concerned about optometry and want to be heard?

At one point or another all optometrists will be concerned about the way their profession is heading. Emotions and fears are usually stirred with legislative changes, concerns for a viable practice for the future, or closer to the heart, job security and income protection.

So we all have concerns from time to time and the passion runs deep and the hope that the incompetents will be put against the wall and shot when the revolution comes. Democracy and negotiation are just too damn slow. Crying in your beer is only any good when it is really good beer, but nothing will have changed in the morning apart from a sudden interest in the potency of whatever sits in the medicine cabinet.

On the way to work you will no doubt feel the need for a more powerful bargaining position and a strategy that has a chance it will work. But how can this be done? Who do you voice your concerns to, in a way that will be heard, acknowledged and considered seriously? There is barely enough time for work, family and the joys of life without doing all this research and correspondence.

If you are a member of the Optometrists Association Australia, we will do this for you. You are a member of an organisation that has a proven track record of developing positive and effective relations with government and is recognised by other health professions worldwide for the good work it has done. Legislatively, we really are the peak organisation that governments in Australia, and the Optometry Board of Australia, are obliged to consult before changing any legislation that will affect optometry.

Being an effective advocate sometimes means knowing when to make a noise and when to quietly chip away in the background. Don’t mistake lack of noise for lack of effort or lack of understanding of your concerns. We have learned there are times when it is more prudent to lie low and watch than to kick the hornet’s nest. Recently, I was explaining to a member what I was doing to get a decision changed – he assumed that because he hadn’t heard anything I had given up. The Association team doesn’t give up: we just find a different way and a different time to get the result.

One of the reasons we are effective is because more than 95 per cent of Australian optometrists choose to be a member of the Association. This is a very persuasive statistic to drop into the conversation over coffee with the decision-makers. Your continued membership lends weight to our bargaining power and we thank you. If you’re not a member: bear in mind that the power lies with your colleagues that are. They have a voice and a strategic, effective avenue to deal with their concerns.

If you are a member but don’t feel like we are doing the right thing, please take the time call us to discuss your thoughts. We welcome ideas and we need to know what you think. I wish we had the resources to personally call every one of you to pick your brains and utilise the wealth of knowledge and experience out there, but instead we have to rely on surveys and trust in your telling us. We may not choose to adopt the plan you want us to, but we would like to have the opportunity to explain why we’re doing what we’re doing and to reassure you that the matter is in competent hands.

So, if you are unhappy about the way optometry is heading, here is my advice to you:

  • If you are a member: call us and tell us what you think
  • If you’re not a member: call us, become a member and then tell us what you think
  • If you are a member and don’t have the time or inclination to call us, go to Plan B
  • If you aren’t a member and choose to keep it that way, do your research, prepare your argument, make an appointment with the policy-makers and tell them what you think. If you haven’t the time to do this, go to plan B.

Plan B? That one is up to you.

But the Association will always be here. And I do know where to find a decent beer if that’s all you can do.


Two Overseas Speakers for Tasmanian Congress

This years Tasmanian Lifestyle Congress (TLC VII) to be held in Hobart from 26 to 28 August will feature two overseas speakers for the first time in the events history. Dr. Joseph Sowka who lectured at the 2009 congress is returning by popular demand and will be joined by fellow American Dr. Lori Vollmer.

Dr. Sowka is a Professor of Optometry at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry where we serves as Chief of The Advanced Care Services and Director of the Glaucoma Service at the College’s Eye Institute. He is a founding member of both the Optometric Glaucoma Society and Optometric Retina Society and is an executive board member for both societies. Dr. Sowka is a Diplomate in the American Academy of Optometry – Disease Section, Glaucoma Subsection.

Dr. Sowka’s topics will include contemporary glaucoma management, therapeutics of interior eye disease and diagnosis and management of patients with neuro-ophthalmic disease. Dr.Vollmer’s presentation will be inherited macular disease.

TLC VII will again feature the European Eyewear Low Vision Seminar on the Saturday morning and a CPR course proposed for the Friday afternoon. The highlight of the social program will be the CooperVision Congress Dinner to be held at Moorilla Winery featuring Australia’s largest privately owned museum MONA. The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) was only opened to the public in January this year and features some of Australia’s most controversial displays as well as some of the world’s oldest and rarest collections.


Tony Martella

There are two guarantees each year in the west: summer will be hot and dry; and the New Year start will be a busy one.

Our participating optometrists have just completed the first module of our new postgraduate therapeutics drugs course, taking the final exam in mid-January. Getting back into studies can be stressful for the best of us, but the process has been generally well received by the students despite several having not been in a classroom for some time since graduation. There is a definite sense of relief and a sense of moving on, given the considerable amount of time and study that was required in completing the first module. Many have commented on this and, quite rightly, see it as another notch in the progression of the profession and their personal skills.

Participants who successfully passed this first module have progressed to second (and final) module.

We’re already up and running with this year’s CPD program for members. It began in February with a regional meeting in Bunbury, supported by Pfizer. This event was followed by the metropolitan evening, attended by more than 100 members and supported by Carl Zeiss. Both sessions involved presentations by local ophthalmology and continue to highlight the ongoing interaction between the two professions with education.

Planning for the Western Australian Vision Education expo, WAVE 2011, is well underway and the program is due to be finalised by April. We will again have another exciting line-up of informative speakers and presentations for the event, to be announced in the next issue of mivision – so stay tuned!

In line with our commitment to continually evolve WAVE to meet the needs of both delegates and the industry, this year we are trialling some exciting initiatives.

For the first time, we will conduct WAVE at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. While this will be a new venue for members that many may not be accustomed to, the change will enable us to trial some new format initiatives without compromising what delegates have come to expect from WAVE and its educational content.

WAVE 2011 will also be run over two days – a shorter period of time that we hope will help minimise the disruptions to work schedules for both exhibitors and attendees.

If you’d like to receive more information on WAVE 2011, which will be held on 20­ and 21 August, please contact our office on (AUS) 08 9321 2300.