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Optometry Australia searches for new CEO

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Optometry Australia (OA) has announced that it is searching for a new CEO following the resignation of its current CEO Ms Genevieve Quilty.

The resignation of Ms Quilty was announced by OA on 23 November and will become effective in February next year.

She joined OA in 2008 as the national policy manager, following government senior policy and political roles.

In late 2011 Ms Quilty was appointed CEO and is said to have generated significant change to the benefit of the organisation’s overall performance, as well as successfully launching several major campaigns to raise awareness of community eye health and the role of optometrists among consumers and GPs.

OA’s national president Ms Kate Gifford said, “Ms Quilty has focused on reinvigorating the federated organisation and implemented a major rebrand which has resulted in a new name and a strong, recalibrated business direction, [this] has enhanced Optometry Australia’s reputation as the influential voice for optometry.”

Ms Gifford also pointed to her work on raising sector concerns in relation to optometric policy decisions and spearheading a multi-layered cap removal campaign that benefitted many optometrists as well as transforming the organisation’s digital footprint by introducing new technologies, websites and apps. 

Ms Gifford praised Ms Quilty’s achievements throughout her time with the organisation and said that everyone at Optometry Australia wished her the best.
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MPs tested for diabetic eye damage

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Australian Federal Parliament members had their eyes examined on World Diabetes Day in order to raise awareness of diabetes related eye damage.

More that 25 politicians were involved in the tests, which used a special camera that photographs the retina to enable the early detection of diabetes related damage to the eyes.

The event was co-sponsored by two parliamentary ‘friend’ groups; the Diabetes group co-chaired by Mr Rowan Ramsay and Mr Graham Perrett, and the Eye Health and Vision Care group co-chaired by Ms Amanda Rishworth and, eye specialist, Dr Andrew Laming.

According to Diabetes Australia CEO, Associate Professor Greg Johnson, around 165,000 Australians with diabetes have damage to their retina and may develop diabetic macular oedema (DME), which is the most common cause of vision loss.  DME is reportedly on the increase. 

Assoc Prof Johnson congratulated the Federal Minister for Health Ms Sussan Ley on a new Medicare initiative that will show an increase in the number of Australians with diabetes undergoing eye examinations.

He also called for a national diabetes blindness prevention initiative to help reduce the number of people who go blind unnecessarily.

“[The initiative] would integrate the use of retinal photography for screening and better connect the capacity in general practice, optometry and ophthalmology services in Australia, with primary health networks taking the lead in coordination,” Assoc Prof Johnson said.

He added, “lack of coordination continues to pose a major barrier.”

Vision 2020 Australia CEO Ms Carla Northam believes substantial progress could be made by utilising new technology and encouraging regular eye examinations.

“One in three people with diabetes have a diabetes-related eye disease yet we know from the National Eye Health Survey that half [the population] of Indigenous Australians and a quarter of non-Indigenous Australians are not having an eye examination at the frequency recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council,” Ms Northam said. 
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Indigenous blindness gap halved

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


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New initiative brings eye tests to schools

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


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‘Reboot’ could cure amblyopia

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Researchers have discovered a new technique that could help cure amblyopia in humans by ‘rebooting’ the eyes.

The current technique of correcting amblyopia, or ‘lazy eye’, typically involves applying a patch or a drug called atropine to the stronger eye, forcing the person to use their weaker eye. Though the effectiveness of this technique is limited by poor compliance and variable outcomes.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Dalhouse University, Canada, have discovered a new technique that shows more promise than current amblyopa treatments.

This new technique involves temporarily inactivating the retinas using an anesthetic and waiting for them to reactivate, or ‘reboot’.

To date the technique has only been tested on animals with amblyopia but it has shown positive results. With researchers finding that once the anesthetic had worn off, visual acuity was restored to the previously affected eye, without any penalty to the stronger eye.

Animals undertaking this test were monitored well in to adulthood and showed no signs of their amblyopia returning, proving that the treatment can provide permanent results.

Ms Ming-fai Fong, lead author of the study’s paper to be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said that the treatment does seem to be ‘rebooting’ the visual system of the animals in a way that makes it start paying attention to information received through the previously affected eye.

Currently, researchers are aiming to confirm how long retinal inactivation must be undertaken in order to promote recovery in the affected eye. 
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Prego releases it’s seventh summer edition

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


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CSIRO trial sees GPs combat diabetic retinopathy

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


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RANZCO launches new referral pathways at congress

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


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Culturally appropriate resources aim to close ‘eye-health gap’

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


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Researchers claim cataract removal more effective for glaucoma

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

UK researchers claim a surgical procedure to remove cataracts is more effective in treating primary angle-closure glaucoma than the traditional laser approach. 

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, in conjunction with the University of St Andrews and University of Aberdeen in Scotland, compared two treatments for glaucoma – laser iridotomy, the ‘standard’ treatment for the disease, and lens extraction with intraocular lens implantation, which is used to restore vision for patients with cataracts.

The study involved 419 patients, with 208 receiving the lens extraction procedure and 211 receiving laser iridotomy. The patients were treated at hospitals in the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Australia.

After three years, the outcomes of patients were reviewed. The results showed that initial lens extraction surgery was more effective than standard laser treatment in terms of patient reported health, vision, and for lowering eye pressure. It was also shown that patients who undertook the lens extraction surgery required fewer eye drops to control their glaucoma.

Professor Augusto Azuara-Blanco of Queen’s University Belfast, who led the trial, said patients who received the lens extraction and implantation procedure were more likely to report better quality of life and better vision. He added that it was also more cost-effective than the current standard treatment, although he noted that “both options appear to be equally safe”. 
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