Attack on RANZCO over training numbers; two presidents refute press claims

An attack on The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists on the front page of The Weekend Australian newspaper on 24 March over training numbers has been refuted by two presidents of the college.

• The article claimed RANZCO limited the number of new ophthalmologists, causing excessive waiting times for elective surgery and high ‘gap’ fees, as well as claiming certain services, including cataract surgery, are being performed too often in some areas and not enough in others..

• t quoted the findings of a part-completed report from the National Medical Training Advisory Network which said the number of new RANZCO fellows declined 13.8 per cent between 2011 and 2015.

• Also, that 89.5 per cent work in the private sector and 83.6 per cent work in major cities.

The current president of RANZCO, Associate Professor Mark Daniell said the college is keen to train as many new ophthalmologists as required to meet the current and future needs of the Australian and New Zealand population and that the number of new ophthalmologists has risen from 28 in 2010-11 to 42 in 2015-16. Last year there were 1,013 RANCO fellows.

Current president’s response

Professor Daniell said RANZCO is keen to train as many new ophthalmologists as required to meet the current and future needs of

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By | March 25th, 2018|Training|

Hoya to close its Sydney Rx surfacing laboratory

Hoya Lens Australia Pty Ltd is to close down its prescription lens surfacing laboratory in Sydney at the end of this month.

The company’s purpose-built headquarters and lens laboratory is due to be demolished, following the sale of the property in Bourke Road, Alexandria, to make way for a road extension to be built by City of Sydney Council.

More than 80 staff (employees and contractors) in lens grinding and fitting, lens coating and warehouse have been given notice, and machinery and equipment will be packed up and shipped to Tokyo-based Hoya Corporation’s massive laboratory in Bangkok, Thailand.

Hoya Lens Australia will be sourcing coated prescription lenses from the laboratory in Bangkok, in common with some other Australian-based companies sourcing from Asian laboratories.

Lens fitting, largely through outside contractors, will continue to be provided in Sydney in nearby premises at Botany where the greatly-reduced company will re-establish.

When Hoya Lens Australia arrived in Australia in 1976, it brought high-tech lenses, including those with multi-coatings and a wide range of designs, before long developing a strong reputation for its products.

In its heyday, Hoya Lens Australia had 100 staff at its Alexandria laboratory and was producing about 2,000 high-dollar-value lenses per day.

By | March 19th, 2018|Business|

‘Collectively we can eliminate glaucoma blindness’: Glaucoma Australia CEO

Together, we can eliminate glaucoma blindness, the chief executive officer of Glaucoma Australia, Ms Annie Gibbins, said at a ‘Beat Invisible Blindness’ breakfast at Studio Sydney Tower on 12 March.

The breakfast was held to mark the launch of this year’s World Glaucoma Week being held on 11-17 March.

• “Our mission is to eliminate glaucoma blindness. It almost sounds impossible. Can we really do it? Ms Gibbins asked.

• “Yes, I believe, that collectively, we can. In my early 20’s, I had two sets of twins 26 months apart; I’ve trekked on remote mountains up to 6000 metres high; I was a nurse for 25 years and saw miracles happen time and time again.

• “Anything is possible if you focus on the positives, look for synergies and dedicate yourself to making the extraordinary happen.

“Imagine a world where preventable sight loss from glaucoma was eradicated?

“We can make that happen in Australia through increased awareness, early detection and greater treatment adherence.

If treated early, 90%of all  blindness is  avoidable

“If treated early, approximately 90 per cent of all blindness and vision impairment is avoidable or treatable.

“Considering more than 60 per cent of Australians say that going blind is worse than having a heart attack or losing a limb, we should have a very receptive audience.

“We all know the

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By | March 19th, 2018|People|

Share-bikes hazardous for vision-impaired people with guide dogs

Share-bikes are hazardous for vision-impaired people relying on guide dogs for their mobility.

Guide dogs are trained to take their handler to traffic poles to be in a position to safely cross a road, however when share-bikes are abandoned carelessly against a pole or elsewhere the guide dogs may not see them and their handler may become entangled and have a fall.

It isn’t only when riders carelessly let their share-bikes be strewn across; even leaning the bikes against a wall can be a major hazard for people who are vision impaired.

By | March 19th, 2018|People|

Medical students to march over refugee and asylum-seeker health

Medical students are to march in Sydney to its Hyde Park on 7April in protest at Australia’s ongoing policy of mandatory detention at Manus Island and Nauru.

The policy is jeopardizing the lives and wellbeing of hundreds of vulnerable men, women and children by forcefully detaining them in unsafe, unsanitary living conditions that lack adequate access to medical services, according to the Australian Medical Students’ Association.

The AMSA had been in contact with the Department of Home Affairs since December last year expressing concerns about the health and wellbeing of the Manus Island asylum seekers, it said.

“We asked the department to confirm that they are ensuring medical care is being delivered to the asylum seekers on Manus Island in a timely and sustainable manner, without interruption, to a standard equal to that in Australia,” an AMSA spokesperson said.

“The responses have been disappointing. They have not directly addressed the concerns we raised, and have not clarified the health status of the asylum seekers.

“The federal government refuses to be accountable for the treatment of the asylum seekers on Manus Island, insisting that it is the PNG government’s responsibility. But under international law, the government has a legal and ethical obligation to protect and provide adequate health care to these asylum seekers.

“Mandatory detention is

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By | March 19th, 2018|People|

Safilo reports 2017 full-year sales down 18.5%

Italy-based Safilo Group has reported net sales for the financial year ended 31 December were Euro 1,047.0 million, down by Euro 194 million at constant currency compared to 2016.

According to the company, the reduction in sales was caused both by the change of the Gucci licence into a supply agreement, representing Euro 155 million (-12%), and by the implementation of the new Order-to-Cash IT system in the Padua Distribution Centre early in the year.

That event negatively affected deliveries, and while operationally recovered from mid-year, affected order taking and thus reduced sales and profit up to including the fourth quarter.

Exceptional external costs

In addition, it caused exceptional external costs of approximately Euro 4 million.

Dior collections experienced a decline after several years of extraordinarily strong growth. The total of all other licences, as well as the own core brands, grew single digits. The net sales of the going forward brand portfolio decreased by 3.9% at constant exchange rates.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Safilo’s preliminary total net sales equalled Euro 249.2 million, contracting by Euro 53 million at constant currency compared to 2016.

Loss of Gucci accounted for Euro 44m

The net effect of exiting the Gucci licence and entering the supply agreement accounted for Euro 44 million of the decrease, while net sales of the going

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By | March 19th, 2018|Business|

Orbis launches blended learning courses in ophthalmic fundamentals

Orbis, the non-profit organization famous for its delivery of eye care, including surgery, via its on-board-aircraft operating theatre and that also focuses on the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness, has launched three new eLearning courses on Cybersight, Orbis’ online training and mentorship telemedicine platform for eye-health professionals in low-and-middle-income countries.

The courses are designed with curriculum modelled under blended learning: an approach which will allow educators and residency program directors to combine online content with in-person, hands-on skills training sessions, including volunteer faculty on the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital and in local hospitals.

The courses – Fundamentals in MSICS, Fundamentals of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and Ophthalmic Nursing Fundamentals – are firsts in a series designed to cover fundamentals across ophthalmic disciplines and subspecialties.

“At Orbis, we’ve been using Cybersight, the Flying Eye Hospital, and hospital based trainings as distinctive platforms to build of the skills of eye-care teams around the world,” Amelia Geary, director, program development and quality, said.

“Orbis has now started creating course content that can stand alone for online learners and can be accessed from anywhere, but is best when paired with hands-on training in a blended learning approach.”

The courses combine narrative, medical art and images, demonstration and surgical videos to optimize the learning experience. They also

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By | March 19th, 2018|Overseas|

Ulysses comments …


Long-term forecasts

The name of the game seems to be making long-term forecasts about the future for graduates in medicine and optometry.

The Australian Medical Students Association forecasts a shortage of training posts for about 1,000 graduates in medicine by 2030 (12 years ahead), while Optometry Australia is looking (get this) 22 years ahead – i.e. to 2040!

Just how are those sort of supposed forecasts worked out so far ahead? They aren’t; in most instances they’re just figments of imagination by people who probably believe in fairy tales and all other forms of make-believe and whose clientele hand over eye-watering fees to get to listen to their nonsense.

As a quick online search reveals, there are umpteen academics and others claiming to be ‘futurists’, whatever that may mean.

Yes, according to their online self-promotions full of impressive words, they have all the answers, but there’s really not much that’s any better than mumbo jumbo.

A complete waste of time and money, should you fall for it.


Share-bikes a hazard

When will local councils in Sydney do something about share-bikes littering the streets after being carelessly dumped by riders?

It’s bad enough that the careless riders inconvenience sighted people, but something has to be done to remove the danger for people with poor eyesight or who are blind, as

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By | March 19th, 2018|Comment|

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|