Court throws out appeal to challenge overturned conviction of UK optometrist

An appeal against an optometrist’s overturned conviction for gross negligence manslaughter has been thrown out by the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom and will not be considered by the court.

The court took less than a minute to turn down the application for an appeal by the prosecution to have the case hear by the Supreme Court.

Gross negligence manslaughter

Optometrist Honey Rose had her conviction for gross negligence manslaughter overturned by the Court of Appeal in July.

Ms Rose received a two-year suspended sentence in August last year after the death of her patient, eight-year-old Vincent Barker, from a build-up of fluid on the brain.

Five months before Vincent’s death, Ms Rose performed an eye examination on the child.

Following the July acquittal, the prosecution applied to take the case to the Supreme Court, claiming the law on gross negligence manslaughter is “not satisfactorily clear”.

By | October 29th, 2017|Legal|

Tasmania University to provide first year of optometry course

An optometry program to enable students in Tasmania to complete the first year of their studies in their home state will commence next year.

Upon successful completion of the first year of general heath at the University of Tasmania, the students will transfer to Flinders University in South Australia for the following four years of study leading to the Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science)/Master of Optometry degrees.

That means there will be seven schools offering tuition leading to optometry degrees, five offering five-year courses (science degree or vision science degree plus optometry degree), one offering a seven-year degree (three-year science degree plus four-year optometry degree) and two offering first-year basic sciences course) followed by four-year optometry courses at another university.

5 students initially

Initially, five optometry students will commence their studies in Tasmania in 2018.

In August it was announced that Curtin University in Western Australia will provide a first-year course for 20 local students, with successful ones proceeding to Finders University in South Australia for four years training, Flinders University Head of Teaching (Optometry) in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Paul Constable said that like the WA students, the Tasmanian students would be guaranteed places in the South Australian course, provided they passed their first-year studies at the required level.

As of

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By | October 29th, 2017|Education|

ACCC OK’s Essilor and Luxottica merger

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided to not oppose the proposed merger between Essilor International (Essilor) and Luxottica Group S.p.A. (Luxottica), it announced on 26 October.

Announcing its decision, the commission said Essilor mainly sells wholesale finished ophthalmic lenses, used to correct visual impairments, while Luxottica largely supplies wholesale prescription frames and sunglasses, including such brands as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Prada. Luxottica also has retail outlets, such as OPSM and Laubman & Pank.

Minimal competitive overlap 

“As Essilor and Luxottica mostly supply products at different stages of the supply chain, there is minimal direct competitive overlap between the two parties,” ACCC Commissioner Mr Roger Featherston said.

“The ACCC focused on the increased vertical integration, and whether the combined company having operations in all parts of the optical supply chain would give rise to a substantial lessening of competition.

“While Luxottica does supply market-leading branded frames and sunglasses, retailers have generally indicated that there are alternative suppliers of frames and sunglasses that they could switch to if they did not wish to purchase from the combined Essilor-Luxottica. There are also other options for lenses.

Spoke to interested parties

“The ACCC spoke to a range of interested parties including customers, competitors, buying groups and industry associations. The feedback from market participants was mixed, with some expressing concern

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By | October 29th, 2017|Business|

European Commission extends deadline to review proposed Essilor, Luxotttica merger

The European Commission has pushed back to 26 Febeuary the deadline by which it will review the proposed €46 billion (A$69 billion) merger of Essilor and Luxottica. The new deadline is an extension of 10 working days over the commission’s previously announced deadline.

The commission, which serves as the competition watchdog for the European Union, has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed merger between Essilor and Luxottica under the EU Merger Regulation.

EU regulators say they need to scrutinise the proposed merger in order to determine if it would lead to higher prices or reduced choices for opticians and ultimately consumers.

By | October 23rd, 2017|Business|

Pre-registration final assessment passes for optometrists in UK drop to 66% this year

Pre-registration final assessments for optometrists in UK drop to 66% this year

Pre-registration of all optometrists in the United Kingdom who passed their final assessment has dropped from 77 per cent in 2012 to 66 per cent this year, Optometry Today reports.

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination pass rates of optometry students has fallen each year over the six-year period, except for in 2014 when it briefly spiked at 81%.

Looking to other fields for comparison, trainee pharmacists had an average pass rate of 84 per cent for their registration assessment in 2016, while GP trainees had a pass rate of 80 per cent in their clinical skills assessment in 2014.

College of Optometrists director of education, Ms Jackie Martin, is reported as telling Optometry Today that it is impossible to attribute one particular factor to the fall in the average OSCE pass rate.

“The OSCE is continually reviewed, developed and mapped against assessments in other [health-care] professions across the world to ensure that it remains at the forefront of best practice,” Ms Martin said.

Ms Martin said the OSCE is designed to assess General Optical Council Stage 2 elements of competence.

“Station content is continually reviewed and new content developed to ensure a broad coverage of the curriculum and to ensure examination content remains up-to-date and

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By | October 23rd, 2017|Universities|

Multiple-breach claims against retail group in US

Opternative, a Chicago-based health-care technology company in the United States, has issued claims of breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, specific performance, and in the alternative unjust enrichment against retail optical group Warby Parker.

The dispute concerns developed a system whereby ophthalmologists generate an accurate corrective lens prescription using the company’s refraction technology: an online eye-examination a patient can self-administer from any location without the use of specialised equipment. Opternative launched its online refraction service to the public in US in July 2015, following an extensive testing period spanning over a year and 1,500 users.

In 2013, Opternative connected with Warby Parker to discuss the former’s then-in-development online refraction system and the potential for partnership. To enable those discussions, the two parties entered into the first of three non-disclosure agreements.

The system that was disclosed in confidence to Warby Parker is protected by at least three US Patent Numbers and embodies trade-secret information.

On 23 May 2017, Warby Parker launched a system and service marketed and offered under the name ‘Prescription Check’ which is claimed to operate in direct competition with Opternative’s online refraction system and service.

Warby Parker has 64 stores in the US and Canada, of which 13 offer eye examinations.

By | October 23rd, 2017|Business|

Sunglass standard strengthened

The safety standard for sunglasses has been strengthened to ensure the safety of consumers in Australia, the small business minister, Mr Michael McCormack, said on 23 October.

The mandatory-compliance safety standard for sunglasses and fashion spectacles sets construction, performance and labelling requirements for sunglasses and helps consumers select appropriate sunglasses and avoid ones that would be unsuitable or hazardous.

“This safety standard has been strengthened to ensure it meets the highest of Australian standards,” Mr McCormack said.

“Australia has some of the harshest weather conditions in the world and in Summer especially you want to make sure the sunglasses you purchase are going to protect your eyes and do the job they are designed to,” he said.

“The strengthening of this standard closely aligns with International Standards which reduces complexity for suppliers so that we have consistent products on the market and consumers can buy with confidence.

“The safety of Australian consumers and their families is paramount.”

By | October 23rd, 2017|Health|

Ulysses comments …

Retailing or health-care?

Optometry Australia complaining about the decrease in practice turnover for optometrists due to the federal government’s decision to increase the time between Medicare-benefit-attracting consultations for most people under 65 years of age from every 24 months to 36 months seems to be much ado about little.

The thrust of OA’s complaining is about the effects of the government’s decision, in effect, leading to a reduction in optometrists’ income as per above.

True, that has happened, but the name of the game is now surely to concentrate on the retail aspect of optometry (mainly dispensing, bringing in about 80% of gross income), with less emphasis on the health-care aspect. After all, the results for all of the effort put into lobbying over the years for more and more for health-care by optometrists seems to have come to a shuddering halt as far as the government is concerned.

Perhaps it’s time for OA to take a look at what’s been happening to Myer, as revealed by one of the best retailers in Australia, Solomon Lew, who has taken to that company’s board for the lack of experienced retailers among its directors. Solly knows how it all works, and he could teach the Myer directors a thing or two.

So has the time arrived

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By | October 23rd, 2017|Comment|

UK optometrists giving ‘shocking’ eye tests and prescriptions: survey

High-street optometrists in the United Kingdom are providing insufficient eye tests, with poor services leaving some with incorrect and potentially dangerous prescriptions, according to a survey by Which? magazine.

The magazines consumer testers visited independent optometrists as well as chains such as Boots Opticians, Optical Express and Specsavers.

43% of appointments rated ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’

Of the 30 appointments, 13 were rated by the panel as either “poor” or “very poor”. Independent optometrists were the only brands to avoid being given a “poor” rating.

Only one appointment out of the 30 was rated as “excellent”, which was also a visit to an independent optometrist.

The researchers visited each optician for a number of eye tests based on their market share.

Assessed by experts

The appointments were assessed by a panel of expert optometrists to see if the optometrist took an adequate patient medical history, to see how accurate the prescription was and to judge the quality of the diagnostic tests performed.

Prior to each visit, the researchers (all aged over 40) were given a thorough eye examination by two expert optometrists.

While the majority of the appointments resulted in prescriptions which would have corrected eyesight problems, not every visit had such a positive outcome.

‘Nonsensical’ prescription

The panel rated a visit to Asda as “very poor”, after leaving with a

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By | October 19th, 2017|Health|

California Bill expands optometrists’ role

The California Governor, Mr Jerry Brown, has signed legislation that proponents say will expand the practice of optometry in the state.

Effective from 1 January 2018, the new legislation, according to the COA:

  • Allows therapeutic pharmaceutical agent–certified (TPA) ODs to use all non-controlled substance medications, non-invasive medical devices and technology that are Food and Drug Authority indicated for a condition optometrists can treat. As new technologies are made available, the State Board of Optometry may authorise their use by optometrists via regulation.
  • Clarifies optometrists may prescribe currently allowable drugs “off label.”
  • Allows TPA optometrists to prescribe Tramadol for up to three days.
  • Allows TPA optometrists to treat hypotrichosis (allowing optometrists to use the prescription drug Latisse).
  • Clarifies TPA optometrists may treat blepharitis.
  • Allows TPA optometrists to give intravenous injection for the purpose of performing ocular angiography under a supervision protocol, allow TPA optometrists to collect blood by skin puncture for testing patients for diabetes, and allow TPA optometrists to use a skin test limited to the superficial layer of the skin to diagnose ocular allergies.
  • Allows TPA optometrists to use a needle to remove foreign bodies, allow glaucoma-certified optometrists to treat steroid-induced glaucoma, and eliminate many of the protocols in current law and consolidate the referral requirements.
  • Allows TPA optometrists

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By | October 17th, 2017|Legal|