Free CPD courses presented by Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) have been described by optometrists as “high quality”, “very informative” and “highly recommended”.
The Government-funded courses on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic eye disease (DED) have received Optometry Australia Institute of Excellence Quality Assurance and positive reviews from practitioners.
They are available now through mivision education and MDFA website (www. mdfoundation.com.au/healthcare-education-program).
Two optometrists who’ve completed the modules – Pauline Xu from the University of Western Australia and Alison Abdullah from Lens Avenue, a new practice in Peakhurst Heights, Sydney shared their thoughts.
This course is perfectly positioned to offer a quick refresher or a starting point for more in-depth knowledge and upskilling in the diagnosis and management of AMD
Age-related Macular Degeneration
“The course on AMD was co-developed by leading ophthalmologists, optometrists and MDFA,” Ms Xu said. “It provides participants with education on how to examine and diagnose AMD using multimodal imaging (beyond coloured fundus photography), the Beckman classification (note ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ terms are not in the classification scheme), and the evidence-based management strategies for each stage of AMD.
“It also offers helpful tips to engage with AMD patients, understand the review cycle and referral urgency, demystify the use of nutritional supplementations, and appreciate the collaborative care pathway to support your AMD patients.”
As a clinician, Ms Xu said highlights of the course were the clinical scenarios. “They simulate real-life cases and test your diagnostic skills and management. When I put my educator hat on, I also appreciate the references provided in the course. It gives me a level of confidence that the content delivered is of high quality,” she said.
Reflecting on her experience she said, “I’ve learnt some of the latest treatment options for AMD. There are a lot of new research activities in this space and it’s not easy to keep up to date as a busy clinician. This course did a good job summarising the upcoming treatments that we could potentially look forward to.”
Encouraging others to participate she said, “This course is perfectly positioned to offer a quick refresher or a starting point for more in-depth knowledge and upskilling in the diagnosis and management of AMD. Optometrists who are equipped with advanced imaging devices in their practices, such as optical coherence tomography and fundus autofluorescence, can benefit from the understanding of the prognostic biomarkers and multimodal imaging signs of AMD to better guide their decision making.”
She concluded, “The content is evidence-based, current, practical, and relevant to optometrists. The modules are well organised and divided into bite-sized lessons to provide instant feedback. This course also incorporated the patient’s perspective, rarely represented in traditional CPD programs.”
Diabetic Eye Disease
Ms Abdullah spoke about her experience completing the course on diabetic eye disease.
“I really enjoyed the course – it was so well structured, very informative, and went through each topic in a very methodical order. Not only was it a great refresher on all things diabetic retinopathy, but I also learnt new information, and now use it daily as an easy click-through refresher. Most importantly, this course provided me with an updated arsenal of information to better assist and inform my patients with diabetes on the most relevant referral times, treatment options, and review times.
As a practitioner Ms Abdullah said the best part of the course was the module quiz at the end of each topic. “Each quiz provided a great review of everything learnt, focusing on the key points from the module. It’s the perfect way to revise in an easy test format, which can be repeated without penalty up to three times.
Speaking of the modules she said, “I really enjoyed the module on risk factor modification. It definitely expanded my knowledge on the various risk factors leading to progression of diabetic retinopathy, and in turn enabled me to be better equipped when educating my patients and answering their questions. It also sorted these risk factors into ‘top four’ and ‘other’, highlighting the more important factors to be wary of, and also which risk factors are modifiable.”
Describing the course as “very holistic” she said it provides a great in-depth review of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, and referral/treatment options, specific to Australia.
“I would highly recommend this to all my colleagues, whether they’re newly practicing optometrists or have been practicing for many years. It’s perfectly structured, easy to follow, and covers all modules with just the right amount of detail, making it very relevant for clinical practice,” she concluded.
To access the courses, visit: www.mdfoundation.com.au/healthcare-education-program.