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HomemioptometryOptometry Report June 2012

Optometry Report June 2012

Comment from Australia and New Zealand

SRC 2012 gave us a great opportunity to catch up with members from across Victoria and beyond. It was great to see a flock of optometrists enjoying both the lecture program and the Trade Expo.

This year’s arrangement worked really well with great feedback from delegates and exhibitors alike about the closer location of the Trade Expo. With additional points for assessment, an SRC App and a great education program there was plenty to please. And with 62 exhibitors this year it was our largest and most diverse Expo yet. Planning is well underway for SRC 2013. SRC will be pushing back into the calendar in 2013. You can add June 1–3 to your diary now.

Our free member webinar, Assessing Fitness to Drive, held in April attracted more than 100 Victorian members. We were interested to see that 54 per cent of participants had not previously participated in a webinar but loved the ease and convenience. Given your feedback we will continue to roll out webinars over the year. Feel free to drop us a line if there is something you would like to hear about.

…you need to work smarter to ensure that tech-savvy shoppers can find you when they want to buy

It’s not too late to attend one of our ‘Diabetes Workup’ travelling CPD sessions. Developed by Dr. Bang Bui, with later sessions presented by Roman Serebrianik, these comprehensive six CPD point workshops have been held across the State, covering topical information in clinical diabetes care from clinical management guidelines to the latest research. The final two workshops will be held in Wangaratta on Monday 25 June and Morwell on Monday 9 July. Just contact the office to register. Roman would love to see you there.

If you are interested in technology and its developing role in optometry you might be interested in attending our Policy Forum on Wednesday 20 June from 1pm–4.30pm at our Carlton office. Jim Kokkinakis will be one of the guest speakers on the day to get us in the mood for some group discussion. This session will help us develop ideas, policies and resources. The session will consider clinical technology in optometry but also discuss the role of technology in health records and electronic transfer of patient information.

We hope to see you soon on the other end of a webinar or at a Diabetes Work Up or at our Policy Forum. Or perhaps you’ll call or email us for information, advice or to tell us about something that has been on your mind. We always love hearing from members. You can call us on (AUS) 03 9652 9100 or email [email protected].


I recently wrote a paper for our Board which looked at the state of the market
in which our members are operating. While I knew that much of it wouldn’t
be pretty, it nonetheless made very sobering reading.

Some of the highlights –

• An ABS study released recently (29 March) reports that average household net worth declined 6.5 per cent in the past 12 months. Additionally, new business starts are down 95 per cent for the same period;

• The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Confidence has been 0 or negative for the vast majority of the past two years;

• Across Australia, retail sales rose by 0.2 per cent in November 2011, 0.1 per cent in December 2011 and 0.1 per cent in January 2012. That gives an annualised rise of around 1–1.5 per cent;

• The ABS Wage Price Index rose 3.7 per cent for the period December 2010 to December 2011;

• The EyeTalk Reference Guide publishes annual surveys on practice performance. Since 2007 there has been a 40 per cent decrease in owners’ net returns from practices surveyed.

But there is some good news:

• Retail sales in the health and beauty sectors rose 2.1 per cent in the year to 30 June 2011. Other sectors fell by up to 12.1 per cent;

• Interest rates are trending down, which should encourage consumer spending in the medium term;

• People who shop or research online still prefer to deal with local retailers if they are competitive. This means, however, that you have to have a solid web presence for your business if you want to attract buyers’ attention;

• And this is especially important for mobile media – your web presence needs to be smart-phone friendly as the growth in online searches via smartphones is exploding.

The message – in a tough market is: you need to work smarter to ensure that tech-savvy shoppers can find you when they want to buy. Put some really serious thought into your online presence and it may well pay off in spades!


North Queensland Vision

For those among us who are looking for an excuse to migrate north in the cooler months this year, North Queensland Vision 2012 is scheduled to be held from 8–10 June at the Hilton Hotel, Cairns.

With BOC Instruments hosting a tropical cocktail party on the Friday evening and Essilor sponsoring Saturday evening’s Gala Dinner at Kuranda’s Rainforestation Nature Park, all in attendance are sure to enjoy a great weekend away in sultry north Queensland.

We have also included in the registration fee a gorgeous day trip to Green Island on the Sunday, proudly sponsored by Specsavers, providing delegates with some well earned relaxation in addition to the educational component of North Queensland Vision. A special thank you is also extended to sponsors AMO and Coopervision for their support of NQV 2012.

Delegates will be treated to presentations on The Power of a Plus Lens – Prescribing Plus from Mr. Adrian Bell, Practical Pathways for Challenging CL Fits from Mr. Mark Hinds and Restoration of Vision in the Presence of Corneal Scarring – Unmasking the Possibility of Sight from Mr. David Stephensen just to name a few.

Last minute registrations for NQV are still available. Contact us on (AUS) 07 3839 4411, via email [email protected] or visit www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland

Multidisciplinary Health Symposium

The Multidisciplinary Health Symposium, co-hosted by the OAA QLD/NT Division and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Queensland Branch is scheduled to be held at Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast from the 14–15 July.

Pharmacists, optometrists, occupational therapists, social workers and dieticians are all encouraged to attend with speakers from all professions discussing a team approach to patient care. Lectures and panel discussions will feature in a dual stream approach with presentations from all participating professions.

Register now for MHS, contact us on (AUS) 07 3839 4411, via email [email protected] or visit www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland

Board Sets Strategic Direction

With the availability of the QLD/NT Division strategic plan online, members are encouraged to view and provide comment on the goals and objectives identified, based on their level of priority. QLD/NT Board Directors and Association staff attended a strategy and risk training day earlier this year, followed by a one day strategic planning day to discuss and draft the new three year strategic plan.

The new strategic plan, which includes our vision, mission, values, strategies, tactics and key performance indicators, defines the strategic direction of the OAA QLD/NT Division and will be reviewed on an annual basis. Achievements and outcomes will be published in our monthly publication SEE.


The program for WAVE, which takes place from 11–12 August at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, has now been completed and includes good strong content, especially in relation to therapeutic requirements.

I encourage all WA eye care professionals to support this conference – after all, as members of the OAA WA, this is your event and you have a stake in its success. With your support, OAA WA can continue to provide a voice for eye care professionals in this State.

Diverse Topics
Among a diverse range of topics we’ll be covering off strategies to use social media to build your business, in depth therapeutic options, and the latest on diseases such as Age Related Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma. With human trials of Australia’s own bionic eye soon to commence, Lyn Beazley, West Australia’s Chief Scientist, who is actively involved in the bionic eye program, will provide an insightful review of the technology.

As you’d expect, presentations and workshops will be made by both local and interstate speakers – some old hands and others making their debut on the conference stage. Newcomers include Dr. Nathan Walker, a Queensland optometrist who went on to become an ophthalmologist, who will speak about his professional journey and deliver presentations on topics including therapeutics and diabetic retinopathy. Ken Thomas from country Victoria will speak about the rewards and challenges of being a country optometrist and also his position as a rural optometrist dealing with therapeutics.

University of Technology Sydney Associate Professor Beata Bajorek, who is actively involved in delivering the therapeutics course through the University of New South Wales, will deliver a presentation on infection control, aptly titled ‘How many optometrists does it take to prevent infection?’ A/Prof. Bajorek will also speak on ocular manifestations of systemic disease. On the Saturday of the conference she will conduct a clinical workshop entitled, ‘Spot the difference – do you know how to select an appropriate medication for your patient?’ Sydney optometrist Liz Jackson will also present clinical workshops on the relationship between convergence and accommodation for school aged children, assessing pre-school children and prescribing for myopes.

A conference is never a conference without a social gathering and so on the Saturday evening, immediately after our final lecture, we will host a cocktail party in the Exhibition Centre.

WAVE is open to eye care professionals from across Australia. Make sure you register early to attend what will be professionally valuable and enjoyable conference this August. Email [email protected] for details.


The Tasmanian Lifestyle Congress (TLC) has a new gold sponsor, with the announcement by OAA Tasmanian Division President Karen Gardner that long-time supporter ALCON will step into the premier role for TLC VIII.

TLC VIII, which carries the theme ‘Vision in Action’, will be held at the Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel, Hobart from 24–26 August. It will also incorporate the European Eye Wear Australian Low Vision Seminar on Saturday 25 August featuring visiting American lecturer, low vision expert Prof. Robert Greer, Chief of Low Vision Services at the Berkeley School of Optometry, University of California.

Speakers include Dr. Jacqueline Beltz, a corneal and cataract surgeon at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and Associate Medical Director of the Lions Eye Donation Service. Dr Beltz has a special interest in corneal transplantation and devotes much of her time to developing, performing and researching these techniques to improve outcomes, graft survival and safety for patients. She will present two lectures at TLC: ‘Endothelial Keratoplasty’ and ‘Corneal Transplantation in 2012’.

Dr. Abi Tenen specialises in refractive and cataract surgery. She is currently the Adjunct Senior Lecturer for the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University and has been involved in research exploring new models of intra-ocular lenses. She will also present two lectures: ‘Collagen Cross-linking: Clinical Experience’ and ‘Corneo Plastics and Lens Implantation’.

The Keith Mackriell Lecture will be presented by well-known Tasmanian optometrist Daryl Guest, while the popular Ken Thomas will make a return visit to TLC. Combine this line-up with a number of other speakers, case studies and industry exhibits, and TLC VII promises to be a great event, providing the opportunity for members to obtain all their annual CPD points requirements.

Further details and registration forms are available online at: www.optometrists.asn.au/tasmania

Agfest Safety Award

The Tasmanian Division once again has provided free vision screening and eye health and safety promotion at Agfest, Tasmania’s largest rural event, which attracts about 70,000 people each year. The Association has been participating at Agfest for about seven years and this year was the recipient of one of the event’s exhibitors’ awards. As CEO of Tasmania OAA, I was delighted to receive the Best Safety Display at Agfest 2012. Our annual participation at Agfest and the accompanying media promotion is gradually having an impact on community behaviour, with more members of the public becoming aware of the need for regular eye tests.

AVC Delivers Quality

Exhibitors have reported that the Australian Vision Conference on the Gold Coast from 13–15 April attracted quality delegates over quantity. Six-hundred eye care professionals, the majority from Queensland, attended the event – down from around 800 in 2011.

Organisers said the drop in attendance was expected as numbers in 2011 spiked due to changes in Continued Professional Development (CPD) requirements for registration with the Optometry Board of Australia.

Marika MacKenzie, Communications Manager at Queensland Optometry, said while the surveys are yet to be analysed, anecdotal evidence from delegates and exhibitors alike, suggest people were happy with the conference.

Gail Hoole, Managing Director of exhibitor Mondottica, said the quality of leads was high. “AVC is always good,” said Ms. Hoole. “It’s good to show our ranges directly to the optometrists because most of the time they’re so busy conducting eye tests that they don’t have time to see all of the collections. We had quite a few optometrists asking us to give them a call after the show.”

Mark Altman, Business Development Manager for Ophthalmic Products at Device Technologies said despite the lower numbers, AVC was positive for
his business.

“In the last 18 months there has been a significant shift of focus among independents from the retail side of
the business to the clinical side. We had a number of conversations with people who specifically want to do that. So while we felt like we didn’t have the high numbers of people to our stand, we certainly had good quality conversations – from that perspective it was a good quality meeting – we’ll certainly be here again,”
said Mr. Altman.

Clinical Components

Delegates to AVC attended a wide and varied program of lectures across all three days of the convention. Highlights included a presentation by Professor Anthony Adams, who has been described as having “contributed more to the American Academy of Optometry in the last 50 years than anyone else”, a presentation by Sydney optometrist Jim Kokkinakis on how to use the internet to position a practice and Brisbane based optom David Foresto’s presentation on managing the side effects of ocular therapeutics.

North Queensland Vision takes place from 8–10 June in Cairns.

AVC Delegates Splash Out at Sea World

Many of the delegates at the Australian Vision Conference took the opportunity to attend a gala night at the world-renowned destination of Sea World, which was sponsored by Alcon Vision Care. This was an exciting event full of exhilarating rides, adorable seals, groovy dance moves and delicious cuisine – in short, something for everyone to do and enjoy.

Sliding seals stunned the audience as they humorously solved the mysterious case of the disappearing fish. One of the seals had a particular affection for Kate Johnson and gave her a huge slimy kiss on the cheek.

Following the show, guests had the option to hit the rides or start on their meal. The rides that were open weren’t as good as those at Movie World or Dreamworld but they were just as scary and most people were glad they hadn’t eaten before hopping aboard.

Back in the dining room the meal was excellent, with a choice of fish, chicken, steak and vegetarian lasagna, salads and cheese with crackers. Tons of fruit and mini cake squares were washed down with soft drinks, beer, wine and water. Loud music played the entire night and groups of people sang and danced to their favourite songs.

Finally the evening drew to a conclusion and those who had remained through to the end rode in coaches back to the Convention Centre then walked home or to their hotel rooms.

Rohanne Gifford is the 12 year old daughter of optometrist Paul Gifford. This is her first published work.

Super Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Optometry Association of Australia NSW/ACT will host a day of lectures for eye care professionals on 24 June. Super Sunday at Sydney’s Australian Technology Park will offer delegates two streams for most of the day with 45-minute lectures running back to back.

Organisers have promised all sessions will run to time. In a change to usual programming, there’ll be no dedicated meal breaks, so that you chose when to take a break..

You will be able to achieve 25 CPD points on Sunday. Also, our friends from the School of Optometry and Vision Science and the Centre for Eye Health, will offer practical workshops on the Saturday afternoon, to make it possible for you to get about 40 points in the weekend.

The Saturday workshops will be held at the UNSW School of Optometry and numbers are very limited. Super Sunday will be held at Australian Technology Park, 2 Locomotive Sreet, Eveleigh (enter via Bay 4).
For bookings and details contact the office on (AUS) 02 9712 2199 or go to: www.oaansw.com.au.