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HomemioptometryOptometry Reports April 2014- OAA: Your Valuable Professional Resource

Optometry Reports April 2014- OAA: Your Valuable Professional Resource

From helping practices expand their scope of practice, to dealing with workplace relations, finding new staff and building knowledge, the OAA is your valuable professional resource.

OAA Vic: Terri Smith

Each day, our members are working with a wide range of health practitioners to deliver the best eye care for Victorian patients. Obviously, this includes general practitioners and ophthalmologists, but there is a wide range of other practitioners in the mix, from educational psychologists to diabetes educators to rehabilitation specialists.

Our view at OAA Vic is that the health interests of the community are best served by a care system that emphasises prevention and collaborative care. It’s always worth reminding ourselves of a few astonishing figures. Up to 98 per cent of severe vision loss from diabetes is preventable. One in two people who have glaucoma don’t know it. Smoking is the biggest, modifiable, risk factor for age related macular degeneration (AMD).

Optometrists are an important part of addressing this burden. Whether by informing patients about the link between smoking and AMD risk and prompting them into a Quit program, conducting regular diabetes eye exams, or making sure that people with a family history of glaucoma are aware of their eye health, optometry is contributing to primary eye care in a wide range of ways.

optometry is contributing to primary eye care in a wide range of ways…

To highlight this contribution, and encourage discussion and networking between health practitioners to meet patient eye care needs, the OAA Victoria is hosting a special Eye on the Future Dinner. The focus is team work, and what better place to emphasise this than at the MCG. The dinner will bring together a range of health professionals, and ensure organisations involved in the day to day operation of primary health care services (such as Medicare Locals) have a chance to come together, meet each other, and talk with optometrists about ways to work effectively to improve vision outcomes across the whole community.

Student Support
To respond to growing demand and the needs of the community requires a responsive, strong work force. An important part of fostering this is working with our students and new graduates, and informing them of the ways that OAA is there to support them throughout their careers. This month (April), we’ll be hosting our annual meeting for immediate graduate members of the Association. It’s part social get together, part update: a chance to meet and talk to our newest optometrists, and learn from them, as well as sharing information about OAA professional services. If you completed optometry studies in 2013, and practise in Victoria, join us for this complementary informal dinner and catch up.

And a reminder to all members that the friendly staff of the OAA Vic office are keen to answer your questions and concerns. We are here to help. Contact us on office@vicoptom.asn.au or call (AUS) 03 9652 9100.

OAA NSW: Andrew McKinnon

By the time you read this, we will be getting into the period where organisations like the OAA, ADOA and others will be asking you to commit to membership for another year. No doubt many members will stop and pause, asking themselves ‘what do I get for my investment’?

I was asked this recently by a member who genuinely wanted to know what they got in return for their hard-earned money. Now the typical response would have been to list the various ‘things’ that the Association provides – publications, insurance, buying discounts etc. But my response ignored all of that and offered what I see as two of the most critical things any Association can provide a member – information and knowledge.

But hang on – the world is awash with information – just Google something. Who needs an Association for ‘information’?

OK, try this quick quiz – without consulting a lawyer (at lawyer’s rates), find out whether or not you can dismiss a staff member who has given a large discount to a family member – and if so, how to go about it.

Or this – determine what an appropriate pay rate is for someone six years out in regional NSW or the ACT.

Or this – your employer offers you a new contract of employment with significantly changed conditions. Do you have to accept? What happens to your position if you don’t?

What all Associations offer their members – and what is almost irreplaceable – is specialised information and, beyond that, the knowledge to apply it in (in our case) an optometric setting.

To me that is the real, very tangible value of an Association – and why I’m sure all Associations involved in the eyecare field hope their various members will agree and continue to be just that – members.

OAA Qld/NT: Cristy Ross

Earlier this year I attended the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne to gain some insight into the future direction of conferences and events in Australia. AIME is an exhibition for those involved in organising business travel, meetings, incentives and events.

This is the largest international business expo in Australia, with more than 750 exhibitors from five continents, and I met with as many providers as I could – among them, venues, conference centres, hotels, destination bureaus, event management software providers, audio-visual and event theming companies, entertainers, speaker management companies.

What can only be described as four of the biggest and busiest days I’ve had in terms of meetings and introductions, were also four of the most exciting, inspiring and eye-opening days in terms of establishing a new sense of direction as we plan for the future of AVC, NQV and all OAA conferences and events nationally.

In Response to Feedback
All of this has come about as a result of your feedback and in response, all OAA divisions across the country are now working together more effectively to improve your CPD experiences for the future. We’ve held exhibitor and delegate focus groups, debriefed with key sponsors and speakers post event, shared resources across divisions, established a list of improvements for the future with individual education committees post event and have identified a list of desirables from other national and international conferences and events.

Our findings as a collective are sure to see some new and exciting inclusions offered across our CPD events into the future and for that we thank you. Your feedback is shaping the future of CPD and that’s reason enough to celebrate with us. As you map out your plans to meet your CPD requirements this year and into the future, keep in mind that OAA conferences and events are designed by you, for you and your support is greatly appreciated.

AVC 2014 April 25–27
Your next opportunity to shape the future of CPD delivery is AVC this month on the Gold Coast.

If you haven’t yet registered to attend this year’s Australian Vision Convention on the Gold Coast, rest assured, there’s still time and we would love to see you. With an exceptional clinical program, optional online assessment, a vintage circus spectacular gala dinner, educational breakfast sessions and snippets of our exciting new plans for the future to be revealed, how could you miss it?

Register now at: www.etouches.com/avc2014 or speak diretly with Crystal via email c.presotto@optometrists.asn.au or phone (AUS) 07 3839 4411.

OAA SA: Libby Boschen

The optometry sector is experiencing significant changes as the scope of practice of optometrists expands into therapeutics and new players enter the market place. Governments across Australia are looking for optometry to step up and lighten the load for GPs and ophthalmologists so that essential eye care can be provided in a more timely and cost effective way to Australian communities. These changes have resulted in a need for practitioners to be innovative in order to remain relevant and competitive. More than ever there is a need for optometrists and optical dispensing teams to work together seamlessly, professionally and with a shared passion for optometry and what we do.

While the process of selling glasses is integral to any successful optometry business, and is primarily a retail experience, it’s important to remember that what we’re selling is unique and precious: good vision for life. Together, we should take pride in this.

Blue Sky Launches Parallel Education for Dispensing Teams
In recognition and celebration of this unique partnership, and the vital role that both parties play in the success of the optometry sector, OAA SA is very excited to invite optical dispensers and front of house staff from around Australia to join us at the 9th Blue Sky Congress in Adelaide from 6–8 November.

For our optometry delegates, it’s “business as usual” at Blue Sky with a sensational line up of quality speakers with all the usual quintessential Blue Sky frills.

This year, for the first time, and running in parallel with our optometrists’ Blue Sky education program, we will also run a stream specifically tailored to meet the needs of optical dispensers and their teams. The content and speakers for this stream will be decided by a specially-convened optical dispensing advisory committee comprising a number of experienced optical dispensers from across the sector.

All Blue Sky delegates can look forward to the usual eclectic mix of entertainment, amusement, evidence-based education, world-class speakers and thought-provoking topics. The timing of the education streams will be staggered to allow both optometrists and dispensers quality time in our trade exhibit to peruse the latest in technology, treatments, frames and lenses without falling over each other.

While the education streams will be tailored and separate, optometrists, optical dispensers and optical staff will have the opportunity to network and share in the Blue Sky trade exhibit during the Congress and the Blue Sky Play Time social event on the evening of 7 November.

The Congress will be hosted at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 6–8 November. For details go to www.optometrists.asn.au/southaustralia

OAA WA:Tony Martella

OAA WA was pleased to host a welcome event for over 20 new Association members at a function held at the Boulevard Hotel in Floreat in late February. It was interesting and inspiring to see that our new members comprise an almost equal mix of recent graduates and experienced optometrists who have moved to Western Australia from around Australia as well as from the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Already some of these new members are making their mark – one has signed up to the OAA WA homeless project which is great to see.

It’s also good to see another young optometrist, who we first began talking to at a graduate information event in Victoria last year, has now arrived, settled and is really enjoying his new home and workplace.

The Association is fortunate to have all of these new members on board, providing an excellent depth of talent, experience and ideas that can all be contributed to our profession.

The welcome evening was sponsored by New Vision Advanced Laser Centres.

Dr. Chen Presents CPD Event
The WA division enjoyed strong attendance at our first CPD event for the year, which was sponsored by Novartis Ophthalmics. The evening was presented by Associate Professor Fred Chen, who is a consultant vitreoretinal surgeon at Royal Perth Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. Assoc. Prof. Chen has also established an ocular tissue engineering lab and a functional ocular imaging lab at the Lyons Eye Institute, where he is on the leading edge of research into stem cells and other novel treatments for the various types of macular degeneration.

Dr. Chen spoke to members on the role of multi-modal imaging in assessment of vision loss. The case studies he presented illustrated the benefits of multi-modal imaging combining angiography, topography, tomography and fluorescence patterns in localising and identifying the underlying pathology. This was world class research and it was an honour to have Dr. Chen host our first CPD evening.

Our members are now helping Dr. Chen with his LEAD study – a world-wide study to identify patients with early high risk dry age related macular degeneration. OAA WA members have been asked to provide around 50 potential patients for the study which will look at novel treatments to prevent the progression of dry AMD – a disease that is currently untreatable.

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