Comment from Australia and New Zealand
Firstly, congratulations to our colleagues in both Queensland and Victoria who recently hosted record-breaking crowds for the Australian Vision Convention and Southern Region Congress respectively. It is genuinely heartening to see such a strong response to the new CPD requirements – let’s hope that the momentum continues to build!
The NSW Division has a strong program of one-day CPD open to all optometrists spread across the next several months. Members will find much of interest to help them meet their CPD requirements and its all on the website – www.oaansw.com.au.
This year’s conference will take our education program to new heights with another group of talented and informative presenters leading the way in new topics and ground breaking discoveries.
A reminder that the ‘Working with Children Check’ came into force in NSW on 1 May. If you are self-employed or commenced a new job after that date you’ll need to get a check. Go to https://check. kids.nsw.gov.au/ for more information.
And finally, members will be delighted to know that Nicole Smart is back in the office after completing maternity leave (Probably not as delighted as me, but anyway…). A very warm welcome back to Nicole!
In September, the Victorian Division will offer an intensive training course in aviation eye examination. The course has been developed in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Optometrists Association of Australia (OAA). The aim is to provide training on the requirements for optometrists who wish to become Designated Aviation Eye Examiners (DAEE). The DAEEs are recognised by CASA as competent to assess people needing to meet the competency standards required for pilots and air traffic controllers.
There are currently only six DAEEs across Victoria. One aim of the course is to increase the numbers of optometrists who are competent to undertake aviation vision assessments in some country and regional areas, so we particularly encourage optometrists working in rural areas to consider undertaking the course. The current DAEE’s stress it helps to have an interest in the area, and people probably need to be realistic about the modest effect the qualification has as a practice-building strategy. Most only see a small number of patients throughout the year.
The course is designed to cover a range of clinical, practical and legal/regulatory issues relating to undertaking these examinations. Optometrists will learn about the standards and how they apply, the tests which need to be undertaken, correction options, the visual environment of the pilot including distance and near tasks, colour vision tasks and peripheral vision tasks, and some of the common visual complaints pilots can experience. They will also learn about the physiological and psychological factors relevant to aviation vision. The course includes case studies.
Professor Algis Vingrys of the University of Melbourne will undertake some of the lectures, joined by experienced Victorian DAEE’s John Warren (an optometrist who is also a pilot), and Tony Gibson. Associate Professor Pooshan Navathe, CASA’s Principal Medical Officer, will also present.
The course numbers in Victoria will be limited, so those interested are encouraged to express their interest early. The Aviation Eye Examiner Training Course will be held at the OAV seminar room in Carlton on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 September. The course is expected to attract around 20 CPD points.
As we move toward the end of the year, it’s a timely reminder to members to ensure you are thinking about and planning for CPD. Remember, when you re-register this year, around November 30, you’ll need to be able to declare you have met your points quota as required by the Board. If you haven’t yet obtained your 40 points, now is the time to consider your options. To find out the CPD available between now and November, visit www. optometrists.asn.au, and keep an eye out for information from OAV about the DAEE course and other opportunities.
Therapeutically endorsed optometrists in Queensland and Northern Territory may be aware that the new Optometry Board of Australia does not have a listing of therapeutically endorsed optometrists on its website; however it does list the qualification beside individual members. We receive many enquiries from members and patients regarding the proximity of endorsed optometrists and so we decided to have a list on our website www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland. If your name is not on the list please email email@example.com to have it added. All members should go to the website to make sure their names appear in the “Optometrists Search” section on the site.
On the subject of therapeutics, the Queensland University of Technology’s post-grad course commences in July/ August each year. Over the past months the University has been dealing with applications that exceeded the 2010 intake as well as enquiries from potential new enrolments. The University will advise me in due course if more places are available and in turn I will communicate that information to members.
Sincere thanks to 80 practitioners from around Australia who completed the inaugural Aviation Eye Examiner Training Course on 27-28 April and to the Optometrists Association of Australia National office for doing a fantastic job in developing the curriculum and presentations, particularly staffers Patricia Kiely and Jane Lodge. The presenters were exceptional including CASA’s Peter Fereday and Dr Pooshan Navathe, Professor Algis Vingrys and our own Director David Bradley. Heart-felt thanks to them and to the Gold Coast Airport Tower Manager Martin Simpkins and his wonderful staff for cooperation and courtesy during our tower tour. We understand that our Victorian friends will be running the second course later this year.
Politics is in the air in Queensland with an election expected any day or at least by March 2012. We are privileged to enjoy outstanding relationships with both Minister Geoff Wilson MP and Shadow Minister Mark McArdle and both have been briefed on our ambitions for patients and the profession.
The Tasmanian Division has experienced a very busy autumn and President Karen Garner is pleased with the public response to some of the Association’s promotional activities; although she said, “there is still a long way to go in educating members of the public of the need for regular eye tests.”
During April and May a comprehensive public awareness campaign featuring Clark and Davis TV commercials, radio and press advertising was conducted in co-operation with Glaucoma Australia and part funded by the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services. The campaign’s effectiveness will be evaluated following analysis of data collected in phone surveys conducted prior to and following the campaign.It is proposed that a similar campaign be staged next year. The Department of Health and Human Services have provided $100,000 for the two-year campaign.
Ms. Garner said that if preliminary observations at Agfest, Tasmania’s premier rural field day held in May, were any indication, the awareness campaign is vital in the quest to reduce avoidable blindness. The Tasmanian Division has conducted free vision and eye health screenings at Agfest for the past six years. Although public awareness of the need for regular eye tests is improving, about half of the patrons who undertook the eye screenings had not previously had an eye test or had not had one for many years.
Interest in this year’s Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress (TLC VII) is at an all-time high according to Tasmania CEO Geoff Squibb. This year there is increased interest from as far away as Western Australia and New Zealand. Mr. Squibb expects to have to close off registrations at the end of the month due to limitations with the venue’s capacity. TLC VII offers up to 38 CPD points, 21 of which qualify as therapeutic. The European Eyewear Low Vision Seminar has again received support from other eye health professionals and two CPR courses will be offered.
In Western Australia, our focus is firmly on putting the finishing touches to WAVE 2011 (20-21 August).
After many years at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, this year WAVE has moved to the centrally located Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. The well known centre is within easy walking distance of hotels, restaurants, and shopping precincts, which we know will make the total conference experience much more enjoyable for our delegates. For those still keen on the sights and sounds of Fremantle, its still only a 20 min drive away or 30 minutes by train.
Public transport is very accessible from the Centre with the free CBD Blue Cat service, the Perth Esplanade city bus port and train station at the door.
An Exciting Program
Speaking of plans for WAVE, our president of the Optometrists Association of Australia in WA (OAAWA), Darrell Baker, recently said “in the west we pride ourselves on hosting an exciting and informative program for all delegates… this year’s conference will take our education program to new heights with another group of talented and informative presenters leading the way in new topics and ground breaking discoveries.”
When you look at the line up of speakers, you’d have to agree. Along with insights from favourites that include Dr. Celia Chen, Dr. Laura Downie, Darryl Guest and Mark Hinds, we have Matthew Wensor from Zeiss, Queenslander David Foresto, Charles McMonnies from Sydney and academic Roman Serebrianik from the Australian College of Optometry.
To provide you with some details on these speakers…
Charles McMonnies practiced optometry from 1966 -1977 and is perhaps best known for his 1986 Dry Eye Questionnaire which spawned several other related questionnaires as well as the wide spread use of dry eye questionnaire data in research, diagnosis and the clinical management of ocular surface disease. Charles will present on meibomian gland disfunction; glaucoma – intra-ocular baropathic pressure and compliance with contact lens care as well findings from his recent research paper on intraocular pressure spiking.
David Foresto debuted at WAVE in 2008 and is back by popular demand. A therapeutically endorsed optometrist with special interests in ocular allergy and inflammation, David is a Board Director for the OAA QLD/NT Division and works alongside acclaimed contact lens specialist John Mountford. He will lecture on the role of
optometrists in managing corneal graft rejection.
Roman Serebrianik is a Lead Optometrist – Primary Care at the Australian College of Optometry (ACO)
and is actively involved in the ACO’s Outreach program; providing optometric care to aged care facilities, crisis centres, visiting disability services, homeless shelters and special residence facilities. At WAVE 2011, he will present in the popular clinical workshop format WAVE has become known for on ‘Why am I crying – common disorders of the lacrimal system and their management.’ This workshop should be of great interest to those WA optometrists beginning to use and work with therapeutic agents as a part of their day-to-day practice and treatment regime. Finally, Matthew Wensor, Product manager Ophthalmic Systems at Carl Zeiss, will present clinical workshops on advanced perimetry using the Humphreys Field Analyser. Additionally, he will run a clinical workshop on tracking glaucoma progression using OCT and perimetry. As the uptake and use of OCT technology by optometry continues to grow and become more a part of day-to-day practice these workshops will be popular and most importantly very much in demand by delegates.
That’s just a taste of what we have on offer at WAVE, but rest assured there is plenty of content to get our delegates thinking and importantly, to earn much needed CPD points before registration in December. For those optometrists who still need to get their CPD points requirements, WAVE does have something to offer for everyone and has over 40 points on offer. So if you’re looking for an education program that’s got more than just the norm and is value packed with content, come and be a part of the WAVE 2011 experience. The entire program and information on the speakers can be viewed at www.optometrists.asn.au/wave.
Building on the success of the Southern Regional Congress and Australian Vision Convention, WAVE is filling fast. Contact OAA WA on (AUS) 08 9321 2300 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.
I’m looking forward to seeing you there and being a part of the WAVE experience.