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HomemioptometryOptometry Reports Apr 2013

Optometry Reports Apr 2013

Comment from Australia and New Zealand


Andrew McKinnon

We’ve got two great events coming up that will provide you with fun and the ever important CPD points you need to meet your professional requirements.

Super Sunday
You can earn up to 30 CPD points by attending Super Sunday on 23 June and the corresponding Saturday workshops. Mark your diaries – registration forms were sent out in early March.

A couple of members who called were astounded when told that 37 or 38 did not equal 40 CPD points. Close… but not
close enough

Come Ski with Us
On Friday 19 to Sunday 21 July, we’ll be skiing from Thredbo Alpine Hotel. Come along and enjoy a great weekend and earn CPD point while you’re there. For more information call the Division on (AUS) 02 9712 2199 or email [email protected]

AHPRA Audit Issues
Now to the good bit – the recent Australian Health Practitioner Agency (AHPRA) audit of re-registering practitioners revealed some interesting things. Calls to the office from members have indicated that some have a definite problem with maths. You’re aware that the Board’s CPD requirement is 40 points per annum – or now, 80 points over two years. A couple of members who called were astounded when told that 37 or 38 did not equal 40 CPD points. Close… but not close enough.


Terri Smith

We’ve been looking at our Strategic Plan, and the Victorian Division met to talk about what is important to the Association over the coming years. The issues that will be front and centre are practical ones that we hope will support members to provide the best quality eye care for patients, and include: promoting and developing resources to encourage optometrists to develop local care networks with GPs and other providers; and working with education providers to make sure we have a highly-skilled workforce able to meet the community’s eye care needs into the future.

We held the first of our 2013 webinars in March, on low vision in optometry practice. The session was well attended and Sharon Bentley and Jonathon Jackson presented a really informative and practical session. We’ll run two more webinars throughout the year, one with a therapeutics focus, and one that will focus on strategies for effective referral networks in your area. We’ve also discussed referral issues with some of Victoria’s Medicare locals and will continue to keep plugging away at building the crucial link with GPs.

Through our Eye Health Awareness Project, we’ve had a number of local talks and sessions to get the eye health message out to communities, and had articles in publications including Melbourne’s Child, a publication for parents with school-aged children.

New Graduates Dinner
Early each year, we run a special session to check in with our recently graduated students. All newly-graduated optometrists are welcome to come to this complimentary dinner. It’s an informal session, but a great opportunity for former students to get together again, find out where their friends and colleagues are working, and to find out about the Association and how we support members.

Students are encouraged to come along, share stories about their first months in practice, and come with any questions they might have about our services, the profession, continuing education, or practical aspects of being a working optometrist.

All students who graduated in 2012 are welcome, please RSVP to [email protected]. The session will be held this month on Tuesday 16 April, from 6.30pm at the OAA Victoria office at 28 Drummond St. Carlton.

Social Media
As always, our office takes queries from members on a variety of practice matters, and one that has arisen several times lately is managing social media in your practice. We talked about this in our February edition of Scope, and encourage you to have a read and a think about this emerging issue. If you haven’t one already, you might want to consider developing a social media policy in your practice.

In this, as in other matters, we’re happy to help: give us a call if you would like to know more – (AUS) 03 9652 9100. We love talking to members.


Tony Martella

Our division welcomed new graduates and new optometrists to West Australia on 20 February at our annual New Members’ event. Despite an unforeseen clash in timing with a Specsavers’ event in Melbourne, we enjoyed a solid turnout. Many existing OAA members and other practitioners were on hand to introduce themselves, and to help our new members settle into our dynamic State and begin the journey of building professional networks.

The welcome event, which was held at the Vic Hotel in Subiaco, was sponsored by CR Surfacing. OAA WA and CR Surfacing presented each new member with a welcome kit and a gift on the night.

The Association plays an important role, especially given the distance of Western Australia from the country’s other major cities. With this in mind, new members were encouraged and reminded that the Association is there to support them and the profession at all times and should be their first place of contact when needing help.

First CPD Event of the Year
On Monday 25 February we kicked off our year of CPD with a presentation by the internationally-renowned ophthalmologist, Professor Ian McAllister who spoke on acute central vision loss, macular degeneration, leakage and other disorders. Professor McAllister is the Director of Clinical Services at the Lions Eye Institute and a consultant ophthalmologist for four Western Australian hospitals. He developed the first successful treatment for retinal vascular occlusion in the world.

The CPD event, which was sponsored by Novartis Ophthalmics, attracted 100 eye care professionals from around the State.

With such a strong turn out, it was fortunate that we were able to return to our ‘traditional home of CPD’ for the evening at the last minute (the original venue we had booked had capacity for just 60 people!). The FJ Clarke Lecture Theatre complex at the QE2 Medical Centre, Nedlands, with its capacity for 140, has been closed until recently, due to extensions being carried out at the new Children’s Hospital and general hospital buildings.

The fact that we’ve been able to return to the FJ Clarke Lecture Theatre for all of our 2013 CPD events is great news for everyone. Not only is it a central and popular venue with members, but there has been a substantial upgrade to the technology and equipment in the lecture theatre complex. We will now be able to record and upload each CPD presentation held there, for members to access online at a later date. This will not only be an important resource for members to utilise but also marks the beginning of the
next phase of OAA CPD evolution and delivery to members.

Thanks to everyone who turned out for Professor McAllister’s lecture, to Professor McAllister himself and to Novartis Ophthalmic for getting on board as a sponsor. This was an excellent way to start the year of professional development.

Acacia Prison Specs Project
Our spectacle recycling program, operated through Acacia Prison, continues to gather steam. It’s encouraging to discover that more and more eye care practices are keen to be involved by donating spectacles that their patients no longer need or want.

To provide a collection point in each practice, we’ve now had collection boxes made up – please call to arrange for your box. Phone: (AUS) 08 9321 2300.


Cristy Ross

Earlier this year the Association put out a request to members across the country, seeking information on their international aid efforts. The aim was to have the contributions of optometrists formally recognised as part of a Vision 2020 review. The response from QLD/NT members although small, was by no
means insignificant.

The efforts of our members, both public and private, are truly amazing and without a doubt should be recognised and supported. To that end, I thought it fitting to highlight some of the submissions we received as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for your contributions.

Bob Lees, Kenmore
On 26 December 2004, nine countries in the Indian Ocean were hit by a massive tsunami as a result of an earthquake measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale. Indonesia and Sri Lanka were among the hardest hit. While the true death toll will never be known, it is estimated that more than 230,000 people died.

Kenmore optometrist Bob Lees, spent September 2005 in Sri Lanka as part of an ICEE project, funded in part by Optometry Giving Sight. The efforts of aid workers in countries recovering from such a massive natural disaster are ongoing and essential in restoring not only people’s health, but most importantly, their hope for the future.

Bob Lees continues to play his part. In September 2010 he spent time in East Timor, as a member of the ProVision Optometry team, which is also funded by Optometry Giving Sight. He hopes to return to East Timor again this year under the same program.

Natalie Rokic, Mackay
Mackay optometrist Natalie Rokic spent two weeks in Southern India in February 2012, as a member of a multidisciplinary team called Equal Health. Perth based practice owner Paul Clarke established Equal Health in response to a fact-finding spectacle aid initiative conducted in 1997. He and dentist Simon Shanahan proposed the formation of an organisation that would encompass a multi-disciplinary approach to health aid. Consequently, Equal Health was founded on 17 April 1999.

During Natalie’s trip last year, she was responsible for organising cataract surgery and taking patients through the process from pre-surgery to post-surgery with a local ophthalmologist. Natalie’s experience of sleeping with mosquito nets, living with power shortages in extreme heat and having bucket showers didn’t worry her at all. In fact, she has enrolled to assist the Equal Health team again.

“The appreciation you get from helping someone with the most simple of needs, such as refractive error is enormous. Like any population, the Indians have a spectrum of refractive disorders but in the rural area where we were, most were moderately hyperopic with presbyopic changes being the most frequent complaint,” said Natalie.

Michael Hare, Gold Coast
Gold Coast optometrist Michael Hare spent a week on Chuuk Island and another on Pohnpei Island in the Federated States of Micronesia. He spent a further week on the Polynesian island of Tonga in 2012. Michael travels with a group of health professionals consisting of an ophthalmologist, a theatre sister, an administration assistant and an optometrist.

The missions are requested by the Federal Government as part of the Foreign Aid budget and are organised and coordinated through the Australian College of Surgeons. Michael’s commitment to international aid work has seen him return earlier this year to spend another week in Pohnpei and a week on the more remote island of Kosrae, also in the Federated States of Micronesia.

Michael has also visited Yap and Western Samoa as part of his commitment to the provision of international aid.

Although these are just a few examples of the international aid efforts of our members, I would like to say thank you, on behalf of all OAA members, for the outstanding efforts of optometrists in delivering eye care to those less fortunate than ourselves.


Geoff Squibb

Tasmanian members will again volunteer to operate the Agfest Eye Centre at Agfest – Tasmania’s largest rural exhibition, which will be held at Carrick near Launceston from 2–4 May. The Tasmanian Division has provided free eye and vision screening along with eye health and safety promotion at Agfest since 2005. A very important component of the promotion in recent years has been the survey of patrons conducted over the three day event. Tasmanian OAA president Karen Garner said, “despite the promotion at Agfest and the associated media coverage and advertising, it is hard work getting the message across”. “Although awareness of the need for regular eye vision tests is gradually improving, there are still far too many people not having their eyes tested on a regular basis.” Once again this year retinal photographs will provide the major screening resource.

The full program for the ninth annual Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress – “Celebrating a Centenary of Optometry” along with the registration form are available for download from the Association’s website: www.optometrists.asn.au/tasmania. TLC IX will be held at the Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel, Hobart from 23–25 August. The social highlight of TLC IX will be the Congress dinner, which will be held at the world acclaimed MONA. This year the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia will hold pre-TLC workshops with an emphasis on therapeutics on the afternoon of Thursday 22 August and the morning of Friday 23 August. Details of these workshops and the Thursday evening dinner are also available from the above website.

Cosmetic Contact Lenses
In Tasmania, the sale of contact lenses without a current prescription is illegal – whether they are powered or cosmetic. Despite this, retail outlets from time to time are seen advertising and allegedly selling cosmetic lenses without requiring the presentation of a prescription. Although the Department of Health moves very quickly to contact the sellers once they are alerted to a problem, the Association is concerned that stallholders and novelty shop proprietors are outlaying funds to purchase stock, which they are unable
to on-sell.

The OAA Tasmania is currently in discussions with Department of Health officials and looking at ways to build awareness of the issues surrounding contact lens sales among stallholders and proprietors. Strategies may include working with Local Government environmental health officers, who are often involved in the issue of permits for new businesses and market stallholders.

Member Enquiries

Contact: Andrew McKinnon CEO
P: 02 9712 2199
E: [email protected]
W: www.oaansw.com.au

Contact: Terri Smith CEO
P: 03 9652 9100
E: [email protected]
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/victoria

Contact: Ms. Cristy Ross CEO
P: 07 3839 4411
E: [email protected]
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland

Contact: Tony Martella CEO
P: 08 9321 2300
E: [email protected]
W: www.optometrywa.org.au

Contact: Ms. Libby Boschen CEO
P: 08 8338 3100
E: [email protected]
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/southaustralia

Contact: Geoff Squibb CEO
P: 03 6224 3360
E: [email protected]
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/tasmania
Contact: Grant Firth
P: (NZ) 04 473 2322
E: [email protected]
W: www.nzao.co.nz