55.3% of optometrists are endorsed for therapeutic drugs


The percentage of the 5,300 registered optometrists in Australia who are endorsed for use of scheduled medicines is 55.3%, according to the most-recent figures from the Optometry Board of Australia.

The figures, for 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2017, show there are 53.5% female and 46.5% males registered as optometrists.

New South Wales has 33.26% of the total, Victoria 26.435, Queensland 20.01%, Western Australia 7.69%, South Australia 5.67%, Tasmania 1.71%, Australian Capital Territory 1.53% and Northern Territory 0.62%.

By | March 11th, 2018|Training|

New medical school for rural Queensland

Central Queensland University on 9 March announced its intention to open a new medical school.

However the Australian Medical Students Association Rural Health Committee has called on the federal and Queensland governments to reject any new medical school proposals, on the basis that graduate numbers already exceed training places and the proposed location will duplicate existing federally-funded rural clinical schools.

“Along with Charles Sturt, La Trobe, and Macquarie, yet another university is selfishly ignoring the message that Australia is currently producing too many medical students, and the evidence that an increase in student numbers is not translating to more rural doctors,” the co-chair of AMSARH, Ms Nic Batten, said:

Medical student numbers have more than doubled in the past ten years, but that has not been matched by an increase in the number of intern places, nor in speciality-training positions.

It is estimated by the AMSARHC that as many as 1,000 graduates in medicine will miss out on training positions by 2030 and that any new CQU or other medical school will only exacerbate that oversupply without providing more medical practitioners for country areas.


By | March 11th, 2018|Training|

Ocular inflammation risk linked to drug syringes


Ophthalmologists in the United States report having seen an increase in a rare side effect in patients receiving injections of Regeneron’s Eylea.

After the drug is injected into the eye, a small number of people in the US have had a sharp decline in sight and experience pain.

Australia is not affected by the side effects from the injection.

The effect is treatable and doesn’t lead to long-term vision loss. Regneron says an extensive investigation shows that this side effect has been tied to syringes used to inject Eyelea into the eye.

The company plans to stop distributing some Eylea kits that contain syringes made from batches that were linked to higher rates of the condition, known as intraocular inflammation.

Regeneron disclosed the association between the syringes and the inflammation in a letter sent to ophthalmologists and posted on the company’s website on 7 March, following a report by Bloomberg News the previous week about an unexplained increase in the side effect.

In a separate statement Regeneron said ophthalmologists shouldn’t use syringes that are included in some – but not all – Eylea packages.

The investigation, which is still under way, didn’t find any specific flaw with the syringes, though their use was more common among patients who developed the side effect, the company said.

Regeneron will exchange

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By | March 11th, 2018|Surgery|

Findings of National Eye Health Survey

The population-based National Eye Health Survey of 1738 indigenous and 3098 non-indigenous Australians has found that the age-adjusted and sex-adjusted prevalence of unilateral vision impairment and unilateral blindness were higher in indigenous Australians than in non-indigenous Australians (18.7% and 2.9% vs 14.5% and 1.3%).

Uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts were leading causes of unilateral vision impairment in both populations (70%-75%).

While unilateral vision impairment and unilateral blindness are highly prevalent in Australia, most cases are avoidable, and health care interventions that address unilateral vision loss are therefore warranted, the researchers said.

Of the 1738 indigenous Australians, mean (SD) age was 55.0 (10.0) years, and 1024 participants (58.9%) were female. Among the 3098 non-indigenous Australians, mean (SD) age was 66.6 (9.7) years, and 1661 participants (53.6%) were female.

The weighted prevalence of unilateral VI in indigenous Australians was 12.5% (95% CI, 11.0%-14.2%) and the prevalence of unilateral blindness was 2.4% (95% CI, 1.7%-3.3%), respectively.

In non-indigenous Australians, the prevalence of unilateral VI was 14.6% (95% CI, 13.1%-16.3%) and unilateral blindness was found in 1.4% (95% CI, 1.0%-1.8%).

The age-adjusted and sex-adjusted prevalence of unilateral vision loss was higher in indigenous Australians than non-indigenous Australians (VI: 18.7% vs 14.5%; P = .02; blindness: 2.9% vs 1.3%; P = .02).

Risk factors for unilateral vision loss included older age (odds ratio [OR], 1.60 for each decade

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By | March 11th, 2018|Health|

Bits ’n’ Pieces

Safilo CEO Luisa Delgado to Retire

Ms Luisa Delgado, chief executive officer of Safilo Group, has announced her intention to retire her position, for personal reasons, effective 28 February. She is being succeeded by Mr Angelo Trocchia, whoss appointment will be effective 1 April.

VSP Global Names New President/CEO

VSP Global has announced that Mr Michael Guyette has been appointed president and chief executive officer of the comppany. Mr Guyette will succeed VSP Global board member Mr Rob Lynch, who has served as interim president and CEO since April 2017.

By | March 11th, 2018|People|

Ulysses comments …


Heard it all before

Not unexpectedly, there’s been an annoyed response to the entrance and rapid expansion of Specsavers in the hearing business in Australia.

For years, the manufacturers of hearing aids called the shots for purveyors of hearing aids, training their staffs, setting sales targets, pressuring them for greater sales and so on. There was little independence for audiometrists nor audiologist, with their greater emphasis being on selling, selling, selling.

Now an organisation with more than a few rounds of the hearing-aid block under its belt (in the United Kingdom), is here.

Almost as a matter of course, the locals have been narky, hurling the usual insults as in optical, but it’s all water off a duck’s back; Specsavers has heard it all before!

By | March 11th, 2018|Comment|