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Sunday / August 7.
HomeminewsOA Calls for Urgent Policy Changes

OA Calls for Urgent Policy Changes

As Federal pre-election campaigning commences, Optometry Australia (OA) is calling on all major parties to commit to investing in a collaborative care model to enable the more effective use of the highly skilled optometry workforce, and significantly improve eye care access for those in need.

The model involves optometry supporting the provision of ophthalmology-led care of patients with age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular oedema, and will support the health needs of socially, geographically, and financially disadvantaged Australians.

Optometry Australia is seeking Government support to establish a pilot that would allow patients to access this care through a collaboration of locally-based trained optometrists and ophthalmologists

“Although these patients require regular treatment, often administered by intravitreal injection, access can be difficult if ophthalmic care is not readily available due to location or cost. It is therefore understandable that there is a 20% drop out rate for intravitreal injection treatment,” said Murray Smith, OA President.

“Optometry Australia is seeking Government support to establish a pilot that would allow patients to access this care through a collaboration of locally-based trained optometrists and ophthalmologists.”

Australians who are socially and geographically disadvantaged are more likely to suffer from significant vision loss or blindness resulting from avoidable and treatable eye disease. As well as this, our aging population means chronic health conditions are on the rise, exacerbating the prevalence of eye disease.

“Although there are over 6,000 registered and highly skilled optometrists in Australia who are well-distributed throughout metropolitan, regional and rural centres, we are not making optimal use of their skills. This is in stark contrast to similar developed nations – such as the UK, New Zealand and the United States.

“Unfortunately, Australians are often prevented from accessing timely eye care due a complex eye health system stymied by policy, funding, regulation and a lack of collaboration amongst decision makers,” said Mr Smith.

“This is why we’re calling for priority investment to support this important collaborative and safe care model,” he concluded.

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