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Friday / July 19.
HomemioptometryDare to be Different

Dare to be Different


Andrew McKinnon

As you read this I will have just returned from a holiday in New York and Mexico – NYC to visit our daughter and Mexico because it looks really interesting. If I’m not back I hope that you will contribute to the ransom fund that Mark at mivision will be co-ordinating!

While in NYC I’ll be visiting some of our independent colleagues as I want to talk to them first-hand about their experiences of operating presumably successful independent practices in what must be the most competitive space in the world. I’ve been spurred to do this by a number of inquiries and concerns from members about how the world in Australia will look with increasing competition, more graduates and a still-underwhelming retail climate.


Optometry Tasmania agreed to extend the pilot project but will hold further talks with Red Cross and possibly seek Government assistance

When I was last in NYC I was struck by the number of independent practices

mixed in with the big names and I certainly did wonder how they survived. But as I looked around, it struck me that the independents all had a ‘something’ that they used to differentiate themselves. A couple I noticed offered ophthalmologists’ services within the practice – others were very ‘medically’ oriented themselves. But they all stood out as ‘different’ to the Walmart offering down the road.

When I talk to colleagues here I always encourage them to look for their own point of difference – ‘me too’ practices are, in my view, a sure way to a stressful and unfulfilling professional life. Dare to stand out – be radical, whether in appearance, services or attitude! Or all of them! Become a ‘destination practice’ – one where people will seek you out because of what you offer or how you offer it.

Hopefully I’ll have some more ideas to share when I get back!


Pete Haydon

As I settle into this new role and begin to better understand the sector, common themes are emerging.

Increasing competition, more graduates entering the marketplace, budgetary pressures, and rapidly expanding technology and connectedness are changing the ways optometrists work.

It’s not just us either. Ask your pharmacist; your chiropractor, your dentist. They’ll likely tell a similar story – at least that’s the feedback I’m getting from their Association CEOs.

Naturally some aspects of this transformation are positive – competition is healthy and drives change, while emerging technologies help optometrists provide patients with a faster, clearer understanding of their eye health than ever before.

So as the landscape for practitioners evolves, how do associations increase our relevance for members and provide them with value for their membership?

I think we start by looking to make membership easy. Also, we need to ask whether each component of that membership – PI insurance, CPD, advocacy, opportunities for networking – is working as hard as possible for our members and meeting their needs? How about the internal workings of the Association? Are we as lean and effective as we can be? As nimble? Can we answer member queries quickly and comprehensively?

Over the next few months I’ll be enthusiastically seeking answers to these and other questions, always with a view to providing members with the best representation we can.

Register Early for SRC 2015
Oh, and speaking of easy and fun, online registrations for SRC opened on 3 November. Among a packed, lively schedule featuring presenters from across Australia and abroad, this year we will welcome back keynote speaker Dr. Blair Lonsberry, the Professor and Clinic Director from the Portland Vision Centre associated with Pacific University in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Lonsberry, who was so popular with delegates two years ago is joined in 2015 by our other keynote speaker Dr. Chris Lievens, the Associate Professor and Chief of Staff at the Eye Centre, Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee.

If you’re thinking of coming, you should get in early! Just go to optometry.org.au/victoria and follow the SRC links.


Cathryn Baker

Thank you to all involved in North Queensland Vision 2014.

Taking place in tropical Cairns from 4–5 October, this year’s conference saw yet another strong turnout of delegates coming from across the country and New Zealand.

Feedback indicated a very well received CPD program, demonstrating that NQV continues to be a top choice for Australian optometrists looking to meet their continuing professional development requirements while enjoying an idyllic setting.

Most importantly I would like to thank our presenters for so generously giving their time and sharing their knowledge with our delegates. Without this vital support, and that of our trade exhibitors, Optometry Qld/NT would not be able to deliver these key events.

On a more personal note I must say how enjoyable it was for me to meet so many members and supporters at my first optometry conference.

Board Matters
Queensland and Northern Territory members will vote in their 2014/15 Board of Directors early this month (November). The outcome will be announced at our Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 8 November. OQNT has had strong interest from the membership for positions on the Board which, in my opinion, is an excellent sign of a healthy organisation.

As a division, the Board and professional team continue to work hard to achieve our strategic goals and objectives to ensure we deliver the utmost value to our members. We are making inroads with the government, stepping up our efforts to raise awareness around the essential role optometrists play in health care and implementing new platforms to better communicate with our valued members.

VISIONaries: Past, Present and Future
Kicking off the end of year celebrations early, OQNT will commemorate the profession though our VISIONaries: past, present and future event on Saturday,

8 November at RUSH in the Brisbane CBD. This annual celebration will also include the presentation of prestigious awards, reunion celebrations for five, 10 and 20 year optometry graduates and a warm welcome to the next generation of graduating optometrists who will help pave our future.

AVC 2015
Preparations for yet another much anticipated Australian Vision Convention in 2015 are well underway, following the success of AVC this year. With strong exhibitor interest already, this conference is shaping up to be better than ever. AVC2015 link: www.etouches.com/avc2015


Tony Martella

Now that university exams are almost over we are seeing a number of optometry students visiting Perth to find out about potential employment opportunities for 2015. It’s encouraging to see the calibre of graduates who will be joining the optometry community in the New Year and to witness such enthusiasm.

Provision 2014
Thank you to Provision for hosting such an informative conference in Hobart in early October. Both the speaker line-up and the breath of topics covered was impressive. As a delegate to the conference I found there were plenty of great practical take home messages and I look forward to implementing some of the learnings for the benefit of OWA members and the division as a whole.

WA Homeless Connect: 12 November

The City of Perth and Volunteering WA Homeless Connect Day is an important day when we can all make a difference to the lives of homeless people living in the city. As always, we welcome optometrists, dispensers and all other members of the community to assist as volunteers on the day. Please contact the WA office: (AUS) 08 9321 2300.

Members of Optometry WA have been immersed in the usual flurry of end of year activity in recent weeks as they acquire last minute CPD points.

If you are still short on points there is one more opportunity when we stage our last CPD evening for the year on 11 November. Contact the division on (AUS) 08 9321 2300 for details.


Libby Boschen

When this hits your doormat, SA Blue Sky Congress 2014, held from the 7 to 8 November, will be just around the corner.

For optometrists: we promise sensational, quality CPD with an entertaining twist. Once again we anticipate 250 delegates from around this sunburned land, 75 per cent from independent practice. No doubt they have their psychedelic hippy gear packed and ready to chill. You’ve heard the hype. People have told you SA Blue Sky Congress is ‘different’, so come and see for yourself… mop up your points for 2014, or get ahead for 2015 with a quality Optometry Australia event… be sure to book today.

For optical dispensers and front-line teams: SA Blue Sky Congress is way too innovative, inspiring and re-energising to keep to ourselves. Optometry SA has sourced a sensational line up of experts from TAFE NSW, University of NSW, the Australian Dispensing Opticians Association and OTEN to deliver leading edge, useful and thought-inspiring information for those of you on the frontline of optical dispensing.

We already have delegates from across Australia: from independent practice (owners and employees) in addition to practice managers and dispensers from across a whole range of corporate optical businesses of all sizes. What a great opportunity to catch up and share ideas and the passion for what you do.

Thanks to our super spacious new venue, it’s not too late to book your seat and grab a flight. Bring your kids (free crèche) and your partner – fun guaranteed.


Geoff Squibb

It was a case of one North West coast member out and a new one in when Devonport optometrist Stephen Witt replaced long serving director Tim Powell at this year’s AGM, held during TLC in August. Tim Powell stepped down as a director at the end of June, following stints as state president and national director. At a subsequent board meeting Brett Jenkinson and Andrew Hogan were re-appointed as president and vice-president respectively. Joanna Lindsay was appointed secretary and long-serving treasurer, John Kingshott continues in that role.

Bridging Visa Scheme
For the past year Optometry Tasmania members have been providing free eye examinations and spectacles for bridging visa holders. Bridging visa holders are refugees seeking asylum living in the community awaiting final asylum approval. Generally bridging visa holders do not have access to Centrelink, Medicare or any other government assistance. The scheme in Tasmania is administered in co-operation with Australian Red Cross. At its September board meeting Optometry Tasmania agreed to extend the pilot project but will hold further talks with Red Cross and possibly seek Government assistance.

Member Enquiries

Contact: Andrew McKinnon EO
P: 02 9712 2199
E: [email protected]
W: www.oaansw.com.au
OA Vic
Contact: Pete Haydon EO
P: 03 9652 9100
E: [email protected]
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/victoria
Contact: Cathryn Baker EO
P: 07 3839 4411
E: [email protected]
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/queensland
Contact: Tony Martella EO
P: 08 9321 2300
E: [email protected]
W: www.optometrywa.org.au
Contact: Ms. Libby Boschen EO
P: 08 8338 3100
E: [email protected]
W: www.optometrists.asn.au/southaustralia
OA Tas
Contact: Geoff Squibb EO
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