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Thursday / July 7.
HomeminewsDoor Opens to Overseas Optoms

Door Opens to Overseas Optoms

Overseas trained optometrists will find it easier to practice in Australia, following recent changes made to registration standards announced by The Optometry Board of Australia (OBA). This move may come as a surprise to the industry, as in the past, optometrists from overseas have found it almost impossible to overcome the hurdles to practice.

In essence, the OBA’s new standard says that overseas optometrists who have not completed an approved program of study will be able to apply for limited registration for postgraduate training or supervised practice and practice within a Board approved supervised practice plan.

To be eligible for supervised practice the overseas optometrist must first successfully complete the written component of the Competency in Optometry Examination (COE) conducted by the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand (OCANZ). Overseas optometrists can then sit the clinical component and, from 1 December 2014, complete the required postgraduate training in ocular therapeutics to qualify for general registration.

Therapeutics Qualifications

The OBA has also announced that all those applying for registration for the first time from 1 December 2014 must hold qualifications in therapeutics. Optometrists who are already registered with the Board prior to this date do not need to undertake further study to maintain their registration but will have a notation stating: “the optometrist is not qualified for endorsement for scheduled medicines and is not able to prescribe schedule 4 medicines for the treatment of conditions of the eye” added to their registration. According to the OBA, this notation does not affect the practitioner’s scope of practice and can be removed from their record on completion of an approved post graduate program in ocular therapeutics.

Genevieve Quilty, CEO of Optometrists Association of Australia (OAA) said OAA actively participated in the consultation processes for both registration standards on behalf of members of the Association and welcomes their release.

“The OAA believes that both registration standards and the guideline related to supervision strike the right balance between a fair outcome for members; and the overall protection of the public through national registration in relation to the supervision of optometrists undertaking supervised practice,” said Ms. Quilty.

For details visit: www.optometryboard.gov.au.

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