When you’re working in the eye care profession (or alongside it), it’s easy to forget that people in the community don’t have the same knowledge about eye health as you.
Recently Nikki, our production manager, was waiting in line at a pharmacy and overheard a person discussing an eye problem with the pharmacist. The woman had a swollen eye and assumed she’d been bitten by a mosquito, to which she was allergic. The pharmacist suggested that because the local GP was closed, she call the home doctor. He advised, “don’t go to hospital, you’ll end up waiting to be seen for several hours”. The woman dutifully headed for the door, however before she could leave, Nikki caught her and suggested she visit the nearest optometrist instead. Being the person she is, Nikki Googled and rang the optom to make an immediate appointment on the woman’s behalf.
Nikki’s story made me reflect that before joining mivision, I would have taken the pharmacist’s advice too. Having never had an eye problem, I assumed optometrists were only there for a vision check and to sell me glasses.
Now my thinking is different – it’s hard to imagine why a person wouldn’t make an optometrist their first port of call.
Optometry Australia is working hard to develop public awareness campaigns
It all comes down to awareness of course, which is why Optometry Australia is working hard to develop public awareness campaigns, and why Glaucoma Australia is working so hard to get their message about regular eye checks through to people who have glaucoma and their families… hopefully one day we won’t be in a situation where 50 per cent of people living with this debilitating, irreversible disease don’t know they have it.
In this issue, timed to coincide with World Glaucoma Week, we put the spotlight on glaucoma, with several articles written by Australian and New Zealand ophthalmologists describing the development of world leading innovative glaucoma technologies, the latest clinical research and strategies for detection, management and reducing the risk of this disease.
I am immensely grateful for the assistance of our guest editor, Assoc. Prof Ivan Goldberg and Geoff Pollard, who retired from the role of CEO of Glaucoma Australia in early February, as well as all the contributing writers who have helped to put this issue together.