Optometry Australia is investing in research, discussion, planning and education that will help optometrists take control in an uncertain future.
Many of our members cite concerns regarding the uncertain future due to rapid changes in technology, market disruption and a potential over supply of optometrists. We, of course cannot predict the future. However, we can identify plausible futures and, with that information, set strategies to achieve our preferred futures. ‘Optometry 2040 – Taking control of your future’ is designed to do just that – to assist members to take control of, and realise their preferred future.
In March we launched this project with an interactive webinar that produced diverse comments and questions, and started to build our knowledge bank for the project. In May, 14 of our Early Career Optometrists (ECOs) had the opportunity to work with internationally renowned futurist, Professor Sohail Inayatullah, bringing with them a broad and exciting perspective of their understanding of the past, present and potential future. Our ECOs were joined for part of the workshop by our National and State Presidents, who provide a different and equally valuable view of the optometry sector. We now have a wonderful cohort of ‘futures champions’ inspiring members to get involved in forthcoming workshops.
We now have a wonderful cohort of ‘futures champions’ inspiring members to get involved…
The next workshops will be in Sydney, where we are partnering with Silmo, and will engage with suppliers of technology. The project will be enhanced by diversity of thought, trend data and methodologies developed by Sohail Inayatullah to stretch our minds beyond our current ‘world views’. In September, Sohail will join us in Melbourne to start developing scenarios of the future.
We will launch findings from ‘Optometry 2040 – Taking control of your future’ in December, as we celebrate 100 years of supporting optometrists and leading the profession. The findings will be invaluable in assisting us to develop strategies to support our members, provide information to embed in practice, and help guide careers to ensure they are truly in control of their own destiny.
Optometry Australia continues to produce high quality professional education sessions with over 900 members registering for our latest webcast, presented on Glaucoma Care and the Future. As the organisation embarks on its futures project – ‘Optometry in 2040 – Taking control of our future’, it was a timely reminder to consider the future of glaucoma analysis and management, and the role that optometrists play.
The speaker line up included Jack Phu from the Centre for Eye Health (UNSW) who comprehensively overviewed the analysis of OCT results, warning viewers to “beware of the red and green disease”. His presentation also concluded that longitudinal data may be complementary to the diagnostic process and can help titrate treatment and follow-up. He also warned that vertical and quadratic cuts in visual field and OCT results may indicate more sinister diagnoses.
Dr. Andrew White, ophthalmologist and scientist clinician at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, then discussed neuroprotection in glaucoma. Highlighting “glaucoma as a systemic disease” and flagging numerous trials and research that points towards a changing frontier in glaucoma management, Dr. White introduced Gene Bunny, a novel gene mapping program that identifies pathways implicated in genetic risk for glaucoma. The presentation also emphasised the important role optometrists play in current and future management of the disease. This included ensuring that optometrists are educating patients on diet, exercise and nutrient intake.
Various case studies on Medicare billing of patients with glaucoma, including restrictions on automated visual field items, were also covered. Optometry Australia will continue to develop further educational content in webcast format to reach members across Australia in a modality that is comfortable and convenient. A broad range of relevant themes will be covered, aligned to the needs of our membership.