We’re taking a break

After the successful launch of ‘Today’s Ophthalmic News’, and in view of a long-needed break for both of us, we’re doing just that from now until early May.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the news, but will not be reporting it to you until then.

However on our return, it will be business as usual at ‘Today’s Ophthalmic News’ .

Until then, best wishes.

Neil and Sandra Forbes

By | March 28th, 2017|Comment|

Ophthalmologist’s former secretary convicted of $500,000 theft; sentencing delayed for ‘medical treatment’

 SYDNEY ophthalmologist Dr Paul Beaumont’s former secretary, Ms Joanne Ayoub, convicted of stealing $500,000 from him, had her sentencing delayed after she needed medical treatment in court on 24 March.

Ms Ayoub spent her employer’s money on flashy clothes and jewellery before she was caught.

She faces up to two years in jail after being convicted of her crime.

Ms Atoub became overwhelmed during the sentencing hearing and paramedics were call in.

Her lawyer, Mr Eugene Wasilenia, asked the court for leniency, saying she is an “extremely vulnerable person” who needs ongoing treatment that “is not available in a custodial setting”.

Police prosecutors argued she stole for a number of months and showed no remorse for what she did.

Ms Ayoub’s sentencing has been adjourned to a later date.

The magistrate issued a warrant for her arrest, due to repeated delays.

By | March 26th, 2017|Legal|

Ulysses on the fourth estate

THE sentencing hearing on 24 March following the conviction of Joanne Ayoub, former secretary of ophthalmologist Paul Beaumont, for stealing $500,000 from him, was interrupted when she needed medical treatment and paramedics were called in to the court.

As she entered the building for the hearing, a member of the fourth estate approached and breathlessly asked: “Are you worried about going to jail today?”

Not long after, as she was wheeled out of the building by paramedics, accompanied by three supporters, the fourth estate were present again and immediately rushed to her side, asking such memorable questions as “Joanna, how are you feeling at the moment?” followed by a question to her lawyer: “Can you tell me how your client is feeling?” which brought the unsurprising reply “Not well at the moment”.

Such behaviour, alas, is the result of changing proper training of journalists from the cadet system to university degree courses (or, no training), which, for the worse, no longer teach Use Your Brains 101 nor Manners 101.

By | March 26th, 2017|Comment|

Unproven cell stem therapy causes blindness for three women in United States

An unproven stem cell therapy that involves extracting a patient’s fat tissue and injecting it into the eyes has caused three women in the United States to go blind.

The women, aged between 72 and 88, were treated in Florida in 2015 for the progressive eye disease macular degeneration, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine on 16 March.

They thought they were enrolling in a legitimate clinical trial, having found it under the title: ‘Study to assess the safety and effects of cells injected intravitreal in dry macular degeneration’ on ClinicalTrials.gov, the United States government’s website for such research.

Retinal detachment and haemmorhage

However, they immediately suffered complications, including retinal detachment and haemorrhage, which caused total loss of eyesight.

Neither the clinic nor patients involved were named in the study, which was co-authored by Thomas Albini, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of Miami.

Two of the patients sought treatment at the university’s hospital for the complications they suffered.

“There’s a lot of hope for stem cells, and these types of clinics appeal to patients desperate for care who hope that stem cells are going to be the answer,” Professor Albini said.

“But in this case these women participated in a clinical enterprise that was off-the-charts dangerous.”

Off-the-chart dangerous

The procedure claimed to use

Read More >

By | March 23rd, 2017|Misadventure|

International ophthalmology conference on eye cancer starts in Sydney this week

The 18th International Society of Ocular Oncology Biennial Conference will be held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre on 24-28 March.

The Conference is being hosted by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists’ NSW Branch, which will hold its Annual Scientific Meeting alongside the ISSO Conference.

The focus of the meetings will be ocular oncology/oculoplastic surgery, with both events including presentations from internationally renowned experts. The sessions will discuss developments in eye-cancer management, specifically in relation to intra and extraocular tumours that are encountered in clinical practice.

The ISSO scientific programme has been developed with the Australian context in mind and will include sessions exploring the relationship between eye cancer and sun exposure, particularly in countries with high UV levels.

There will also be a special segment on ocular melanoma as part of the ISOO Biennial Conference, comparing it to melanoma of the skin – a disease that is common in sun-loving Australians and one in which Australia leads the world in research and treatment.

Over 20 ophthalmologists from developing countries have also been sponsored to attend the ISOO conference where they will build on their ophthalmic knowledge and skills to take back to their home countries.

Approximately 400 eye-health professionals are expected to attend the conferences to discuss the latest in ocular oncology.

More information: the 

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By | March 22nd, 2017|Conference|

AMA releases revised code of ethics

The Australian Medical Association on 17 March released its new code of ethics, which was comprehensively reviewed in 2016 and ratified by the AMA federal council at its November meeting.

For the first time since 2006, the code has been substantially revised, culminating in the Code of Ethics 2004. Editorially Revised 2006. Revised 2016.

The president of the AMA, Dr Michael Gannon, said on 17 March that a code of ethics is essential for setting and maintaining the very high standards of ethical behaviour that society expects from the medical profession.

“The AMA’s code of ethics incorporates the values of the profession,” Dr Gannon said.

“The AMA is the peak body representing all Australian medical practitioners. Its code articulates and promotes a body of ethical principles to guide doctors’ conduct in their relationships with patients, colleagues, and society.

“While the primary duty of doctors is to serve the health needs of individual patients, they have additional, and occasionally competing, duties in relation to other patients, patients’ family members and carers, colleagues and other health-care professionals, the wider health system, and public health.

“The AMA places a very high priority on its code of ethics, and encourages all doctors to observe its values and principles.”

The updated code for the first time addresses:

By | March 20th, 2017|Associations|

The optical market: some facts and figures

Mr Gianni Cossar, global director optics & eyewear of GfK consumer and market consultants spoke on ‘How the optics industry and optical retailers can adapt to evolving market conditions to deliver margins and growth.

He commenced his address by outlining the work of GfK throughout the world in 28 countries, including a newly-established office in Australia.

The optical market consists of two distinct components – vision care (contact lenses and lens-care products) and eyewear (frames and sunglasses) with spectacle lenses sitting between them, he said.

One thing they have in common is the goods and services they provide come from practice premises (or shop).

The business environment for contact lenses is semi-pharmaceutical and for frames and sunglasses it is to do with fashion-accessories.

Contact lenses are provided by optometrists and ophthalmologists, Main drivers and shapers of the optical industry are mature-product (frames and spectacle lenses), shakeout products (contact-lens-care products), growth products (contact lenses) and embryonic/growth products (cosmetic contact lenses).

A feature of the market is progressive consolidation at manufacturing and retail levels as well as vertical integration.

There is limited technological breakthrough in concept, design and materials, and there has been contamination of channels.

Mr Cossar showed examples of changes to consumer confidence in Europe, particularly when the GFC was at its peak, as well as the views

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By | March 19th, 2017|Business|

Ulysses on the Skilled Occupation List

THE usual one-eyed (wince) argument has been put to the federal government by Optometry Australia about why optometrists should be removed from the Skilled Occupation List and thereby barred from entering Australia.

It’s laughable when you consider the big outfit Specsavers, in particular, says it can take plenty of graduates and does so, witness it this year employing 74 new graduates alone.

OA is there to above all else look after the interests of its members, but does that mean the community should be denied as many graduates as the universities (including as proposed at Canberra University some time ahead) are happy to produce?

No, nor does it mean the universities or professional associations have the right to decide graduate numbers. The market will decide that, not them.


UNITED States President Donald Trump continues to attack the media, his latest effort being to label several outlets as the “enemy of the people”.

Ah, that of course was claimed by Lenin and Stalin during the Soviet era, so it’s no surprise friend Donald is using it too, given his connections with Russia.

It’s now only a matter of time before the media nails him big time because nobody (including presidents) can take on the US media and win; nobody.

By | March 19th, 2017|Comment|

New campaign aims to help unearth 150,000 unknowingly living with sight-stealing disease

Despite being the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness, only half of Australians know about glaucoma

A new campaign titled Glaucoma Aware is carrying out a

nationwide mission to unearth the 150,000 Australians who face preventable blindness and don’t know it

Launching this year’s World Glaucoma Week (12-18 March), the campaign aims to educate Australians about glaucoma and encourage those at-risk to have a comprehensive eye check.

More than 300,000 Australians have glaucoma yet only half have been diagnosed, typically because they haven’t had a simple eye check by an eye-health provider such as an ophthalmologist of optometrist. Around 60 per cent of Australians either haven’t been tested or don’t know if they’ve been tested for glaucoma

Optometrist and director of eyecare at OPSM, Mr Peter Murphy, comments on how blindness from glaucoma is a tragedy that is largely preventable: “The biggest risk factor for glaucoma is having a family history of the disease. In fact, relatives of glaucoma patients have a ten-fold increased risk of developing the disease” Mr Murphy said.

“Glaucoma can make it very difficult for people to carry on with their day to day activities. People affected by the condition are more likely to be involved in falls and motor vehicle accidents than those of the same age without the condition

which is why I am urging all

Read More >

By | March 15th, 2017|Business|

Eyes Right Optical celebrates 25 years in business

Victoria-based Eyes Right Optical celebrated its 25 years in business and a 15-year partnership with French frame and sunglass manufacturer at a function during SILMO Sydney, hosted by directors Gaye and David Wymond.

Special guest at the function was the French Consul-General, Mr Nicholas Croiser, who said the cooperation between Morel and Eyes Right Optical is a very good example of a successful and mutually-beneficial trade relationship between Australia and France.

Ms Wymond said the SILMO Sydney show “afforded us just a small glimpse of the global industry and the enormous variety of products from which to choose” and that to be able to constantly create and manufacture a collection of quality frames and sunglasses year-in-year-out is the true key to success; and those suppliers are the ones the company chooses to partner because “our reputation is ultimately your reputation”.

“That is why we choose to partner with Morel and their 137 years and fourth generation of ‘know-how’.”

By | March 15th, 2017|Business|