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HomemioptometryProgress Through Collaboration

Progress Through Collaboration

Continued professional development, scope of practice, a reconciliation action plan and promoting community eye health are all on OWA’s agenda for 2022.

On behalf of all of us at Optometry WA (OWA) I thank our immediate past President Roxanne Medhora and passionate board member John Palassis for their support of our profession. Their work with the OWA board was pivotal in guiding our members through particularly challenging times during 2021.

We now have a balanced representative group, covering all stages of an optometrist’s career cycle

We welcome Stephanie Bahler as our President and Yee (Ella) Teng Goh as a newly appointed board member. Stephanie and Yee will add to the already diverse expertise and viewpoints of our board members. We now have a balanced representative group, covering all stages of an optometrist’s career cycle, including strong representation from our state’s Early Career Optometrists (ECO). Special mention must go to board member Gary Crerie, who has been awarded Life Membership of OWA. As we progress through 2022, please make sure you catch up with your Board members.


Following the stellar success of our WAVE Hybrid conference in 2021, and WAVE On Demand, we are pleased to advise that WAVE Hybrid is back for 2022. The countdown is on, with only a month to go. You can attend WAVE 2022’s face-to-face sessions or watch online, as our conference program is broadcast live internationally, interstate and to remote regions in WA. If you are able to attend the physical event, we hope you will join us for our Friday CPR refresher and the often talked about Saturday Sundowner at the Fremantle Esplanade Hotel.

Our packed program is designed to meet the Optometry Board Australia’s CPD requirements, to accommodate members’ individual learning plans, and to provide interactivity.

OWA has many plans in place to ensure your education, protection, safety and well-being while at WAVE, as well as opportunities to catch up with colleagues from around the country. If you have not registered yet, we encourage you to access the member portal.

We hope WAVE will become a major part of your learning journey in 2022, supported by monthly CPD events (live and streamed to ensure access for our regional members) and national initiatives. Read our regular OWA emails for details.


OWA and National have identified four areas in which we can make a difference in the community:

  • Actively encouraging people to havetheir eyes checked,
  • Putting in place effective and consistenthospital referral guidelines, criteria andtemplates to assist with more effective triaging (this is something OWA has already been working on),
  • Updating referrals for patients who havebeen waiting some time for their firstoutpatient appointment (and encouraging hospitals to write to those patients to suggest visiting their community optometrist, as is done in other parts of the health system), and
  • Progressing successful collaborativecare models that involve optometry (e.g.management of stable glaucoma patients, post-operative care of cataract patients, and screening patients with diabetic retinopathy).

OWA continues to actively lobby to secure oral prescribing rights for therapeutically endorsed optometrists and to pressure local decision makers for significant improvements to the subsidised spectacle scheme in WA. Our work with the WA Chief Allied Health Officer Executive to provide some clarity and certainty for members on COVID-19 protocol, while challenging, has strengthened professional relationships which will create further opportunities to discuss future initiatives.

Another initiative we remain committed to is implementing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). A RAP is a strategic document that supports an organisation’s business plan and includes practical actions that will drive an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation, both internally and in the communities in which it operates. The RAP Program guides organisations in developing respectful relationships and creating meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As part of this work, OWA actively lobbied State and Federal Health Ministers during NAIDOC week and continues to push for broader recognition. We look forward to keeping you up-to-date and providing broader education on this process.

I look forward to 2022 bringing strength, resilience, balance, and a bright future for all optometrists, no matter where you are on your career journey.

Evan MacRae is the Executive Officer of Optometry Western Australia.