More pre-reg optometry students stumble in UK

More pre-registration students in the United Kingdom are stumbling at Stage 2 of the Scheme for Registration with males doing worse than their female colleagues, according to a study published by the College of Optometrists.

In a cohort of 593 enrolled between 1 June 2014 and 31 May 2015, 82% passed Stage 2 by the second attempt. However, that number is down by 15% in comparison with the college’s last report, which found that 97% passed Stage 2 by their second attempt.

The number of students needing additional re-sits after their second attempt increased by 14%, jumping from 3% to 17% in the space of a year.

The report also showed that female students performed better than males, with 11% more males than females defined at ‘struggling’.

It also showed multiple practices provided 85% of pre-registration training placements.

By | April 2nd, 2018|Education|

Murray-Darling medical school ‘progressing’ despite opposition

The Australian Medical Students’ Association on 28 February reiterated its opposition to a new medical school in the Murray-Darling Basin region, after Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie, confirmed to Senate Estimates that the proposal is progressing.

Senator McKenzie described the Murray-Darling Medical School (MDMS) as part of the Nationals’ “grassroots” policy, despite acknowledging that problems lie with training junior doctors after medical school.

La Trobe and Charles Sturt University have an expert lobby group that is pushing for the MDMS. In the run up to the Federal Budget in May and with Health Minister Greg Hunt announcing a focus on rural health, students are concerned that the lobby is gaining momentum.

“The Murray-Darling Medical School proposal has been gathering dust on ministers’ desks for more than five years because it lacks merit and won’t fix the workforce issues it claims to address,” AMSA president Mr Alex Farrell said.

“New medical schools are expensive, take years to produce doctors, and add to the numbers of medical school graduates when there are already more graduating medical students than available internships and vocational training positions.

“Announcing a new medical school is politically attractive, but it is a short-sighted waste of taxpayer money.”

The MDMS proposal includes a new school in Wagga Wagga, in the electorate of new

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By | February 28th, 2018|Education|

Optometry Australia to close online store

Optometry Australia is to close its online store on 30 June next year, citing a significant drop in member demand for optometry books and eye-care brochures over the past few years.

All current book and merchandise orders will be fulfilled. Last orders will be accepted until 28 February 2018. All outstanding coupons will be honoured provided they are used by 31 May 2018. Orders for brochures can be placed up to 30 June 2018.

The chief executive officer of Optometry Australia, Ms Lyn Brodie, said: “An assessment of member demand, combined with a highly competitive retail environment and increasing distribution costs, has led us to the difficult but financially prudent decision to close our optometric online store.

“With expenses starting to out-strip revenue, we believe that we can no longer continue to divert members’ funds into keeping the store open.”

Optometry Australia will continue to promote new optometric books on its website.

By | December 22nd, 2017|Education|

Dispensing college launching CPD program for graduates

A continuing professional development program commencing early next year will be available to graduates of the Certificate IV course in dispensing conducted by the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing.

The CPD program will require qualified dispensers to gain a minimum of 60 points from the program every three years.

It is planned for CPD sessions to be held in most states as well as in New Zealand, with ACOD graduates not being charged to attend, while other optical dispensers who attend will be charged a modest fee.

The ACOD is launching the CPD program to fill what is sees as a need not being catered for in the majority of jurisdictions – post-Certificate IV regular training sessions to increase dispensing knowledge.

The ACOD is in its first year of operation having become a registered training organisation last December.

The most frequent organiser of CPD events is the Australian Dispensing Opticians Association in Victoria, while the New South Wales-based (ADOA NSW) organisation does little, if anything, in that regard, despite regarding itself as the national body for dispensers.

Curiously, a recent visit to Specsavers’ very big laboratory and warehouse facility in Melbourne organized by ADOA (Vic) caused an outcry online by some members of ADOA (NSW).

The exchange of ‘letters’, notes, insults and whatever are interesting for their

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By | November 19th, 2017|Education|

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|

Lifetime Achievement Award from IACLE

Australian educator and researcher Professor Deborah Sweeney received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Association of Contact Lens Educators Congress held in Hyderabad, India on 9-10 September.

The president of IACLE, Dr Shehzad Naroo, presented the award to Professor Sweeney following a tribute from Professor Desmond Fonn, who received the inaugural IACLE Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor Sweeney is pro vice chancellor research and innovation at the University of Western Sydney.

Her substantial contribution to global contact lens education included serving as IACLE president from 2000 to 2011 and secretary and treasurer for 10 years.

She held executive roles at the Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, the Cooperative Research Centre for Eye Research and Technology, and Vision Cooperative Research Centre.

In a media release, Dr Naroo credited Professor Sweeney for being able to take IACLE through turbulent times.

“Through her renewed vision IACLE rose into the global model for eye-care education. Debbie is a deserved recipient of this award, which is the highest accolade offered by IACLE,” he said.

“Debbie took over from the late Brien Holden, who was IACLE president from 1991 to 2000. Des Fonn was vice-president for 15 years and served during both former presidencies. It was this remarkable trinity

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By | September 17th, 2017|Education|

ACO launches new education program

The Australian College of Optometry has launched the first in a series of online programs for optometrists to enable them to self assess their knowledge of specific eye conditions and their ability to provide an initial diagnosis of the condition, within a simulated and timed patient consultation.

The program developed by the ACO in consultation with the wider optometry community, was piloted by registered optometrists (including ACO members) and aims to ultimately support the delivery of best-practice eye-health care.

The first program to be released is for initial glaucoma diagnosis and will be followed by other self-assessment programs including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, high myopia and anterior eye.

Glaucoma self-assessment program

First up, the new program covers the ability to self-assess glaucoma diagnostic skills online within a simulated and timed patient consultation using real life patient case studies.

This new program aims to assist optometrists in assessing their diagnostic knowledge and selecting further education to improve any learning gaps. Nine clinical skills are assessed by using real and practical case studies reflecting critical thinking and decision making processes which occur in clinical practice. A time cap on each test presents an additional level of real-time challenge.

The program provides colour-coded results, benchmarking against peers, specific tailored feedback and ACO further education options.

Each program costs $100 plus

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By | August 22nd, 2017|Education|

Dispenser training – yes or no?

‘CAN you afford to train … or not to train … as an optical dispenser’ was the question asked in presentations during SILMO Sydney by Mr James Gibbins, a director of the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing.

Mr Gibbins commenced his presentations by setting out what the Optical Dispensing Act 1963 described as optical dispensing: interpretation of dispensing prescriptions for optical appliances; taking facial measurements for them; and fitting (adjusting) them.

Although dispensing was deregulated in New South Wales (in 2009), being the last jurisdiction to do so, the current definition is regarded as: interpretation of prescriptions and giving advice to client regarding their spectacles; accurate talking of facial measurements­ – PD’s, heights, other measurements for the fitting of free-form lenses; handling and understanding of lenses, frames neutralizing, final checking and adjusting to final fit; and repairs and edging and fitting.

“Optical dispensers are much more than an optical assistant, Mr Gibbins said. “A good dispenser can enhance the service and build on the work of the optometrist. A poor optical dispenser can undermine that work.”

The Certificate IV courses in optical dispensing provided by the various college are tertiary qualifications, probably equal to diploma level, Mr Gibbins said.

Turning to the desirability of training per se, Mr Gibbins quoted Henry Ford: “The only thing

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By | March 14th, 2017|Education|

$31m over 2 years for health and medical students in Mackay

Medical students in Mackay, Queensland, will receive greater opportunities to train under the federal government’s $31 million outlay over two years for the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training program.

The government is providing the $31 million to James Cook University under the RHMT program from January 2016 through to December 2018 to support rural training for health and medical students.

“When the University started the medical undergraduate program in 2000, there were 64 first-year students. In 2016 the total number of students enrolled across the six-year course was 1170,” assistant health minister Dr David Gillespie said.

“In 2016, 38 medical students undertook a long-term placement in Mackay, with a further 115 medical students undertaking short-term placements in the Mackay region under the RHMT program.”

By | March 8th, 2017|Education|