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HomeminewsUniversity of Melbourne Courses Broaden to Include Home Monitoring

University of Melbourne Courses Broaden to Include Home Monitoring

In 2019, the University of Melbourne’s Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences will offer a diverse range of online courses to qualified optometrists including subjects on glaucoma and retinal detection, and the use of home monitoring to detect rapid visual field loss in glaucoma.

The post graduate subjects will give participants the opportunity to grow, and expand their skills and knowledge through innovative technologies, including webinars, videos, podcasts and discussion forums led by clinical and research experts. For example, in the Glaucoma and Retinal Disease Specialist certificate, participants will engage with Associate Professor Andrew Anderson and Professor Algis Vingrys to consider advances in glaucoma and retinal disease detection, including using home monitoring to detect rapid visual field loss in glaucoma.

the Glaucoma and Retinal Disease Specialist certificate… (will include) using home monitoring to detect rapid visual field loss in glaucoma

Importance of Home Monitoring

Although vision loss in glaucoma is typically slow, rapid loss can occur in a significant subset of patients. It is now possible to monitor the central visual field at home, using portable electronic devices such as iPads. This raises the possibility of testing the visual field much more frequently than can be done in clinic.

The University’s recent work1 indicates that home monitoring could detect rapid field loss over 1.5 years earlier than conventional in clinic monitoring (Figure A). Such early detection might allow more aggressive treatment to be given to those patients at high risk of visual impairment or blindness.

Associate Professor Bang Bui leads discussion about the latest in understanding the pathogenesis of a range of diseases, including insights as to why older eyes are at greater risk of glaucoma. According to Assoc/Prof. Bang Bui, the prevalence of glaucoma rises almost exponentially with age, but intraocular pressure shows little increase. In a recent study2 the University’s researchers have shown in a laboratory model, that compared with younger eyes (Figure B) the older eyes were stiffer (Figure C) and absorbed less of the stress and strain associated with intraocular pressure elevation, resulting in more retinal nerve fibre layer compression and greater loss of ganglion cell function. These findings support the idea that ageing increases the intensity of biomechanical stress encountered by ganglion cells.

Applications Now Open

The postgraduate courses are specifically designed for off campus study in a supportive and collaborative environment. Practitioners have the opportunity to complete and apply required tasks online and in their own practice. Subjects can be completed as stand alone Specialist Certificate courses or combined as three courses/ subjects with a compulsory research subject to qualify for the Master of Clinical Optometry, which can be completed part-time over four years.

Applications are open for the 2019 Master of Clinical Optometry and Specialist Certificates. For information visit study.unimelb.edu.au

References:

  1. Anderson et al. Ophthalmology 2017;124:1735
  2. Zhao, D, et al. Sci Rep, 2018.8:2947