The Australian College of Optometry (ACO) is supporting Optometry Australia’s (OA) call on the government to invest AU$1 million to pilot a collaborative care model between optometrists and ophthalmologists.
The ACO believes a collaborate approach will improve the access and equity of eye care to millions of Australians, reducing the risk of drop-out from routine intravitreal injections, often caused by geographic isolation and the cost of specialist ophthalmologist care.
The ACO believes a collaborate approach will improve the access and equity of eye care to millions of Australians
The proposed pilot would see locally-based optometrists support the provision of ophthalmology-led care of patients with sight threatening, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macula oedema across two locations, including a remote Indigenous community.
“As an organisation, the ACO already has experience of a successful partnership between optometrists and ophthalmologists. For the past six years, we’ve worked with the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital’s Glaucoma Collaborative Care clinic to alleviate pressure on in-demand ophthalmologists and, most importantly, ensuring access and equity for patients in a timely manner,” said Pete Haydon, ACO CEO.
As a leading provider of the Visiting Optometrists Scheme (VOS) in Victoria, the ACO is also supporting OA’s call for investment of $18.1 million into the scheme over five years.
“The ACO have first-hand experience delivering care through the VOS and we know that the scheme is an integral part of closing the gap in eye care for First Nations People. Further funding is certainly needed to better support these communities and we look forward to reaching more people who need our help,” said Mr Haydon.
Rodney Hodge, ACO President, also recognised that the rise in demand for public eye care is further evidence of the profession’s need to adapt.
“Gaps in competence and knowledge can be overcome with the support of our ophthalmology colleagues and the development of appropriate training for the profession. I am confident that we can rise to meet those challenges and provide the clinical care required to make a collaborative care model effective for all involved,” said Mr Hodge.