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Increased number optometrists qualified to examine pilots

30/10/2018By Myles Hume
Australia has another 48 optometrists qualified to test the aviation industry following a recent Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) credentialed optometry-training course in Melbourne.

CASA is a government body that regulates Australian aviation safety and the operation of Australian aircraft overseas. The independent statutory authority licenses pilots, oversees aviation safety and promotes safety awareness.

Conducted every three years, the Aviation Optometry Course is facilitated by Optometry Australia, which works with CASA to establish a network of up to 130 optometrists credentialed to conduct vision and eye examinations for pilot licensing.

The course covered a range of aviation-specific topics, including information about CASA’s eye and vision standards for various classes of pilot licences, the visual environments of pilots and air traffic controllers and physiological issues in aviation, including hypoxia, fatigue and illusions.

A series of case studies were presented as part of a panel discussion. The optometrists were briefed on the specialist equipment needed for testing.

“They also obtained a greater understanding of the role they are playing in public safety. They’re determining if a pilot is flying or on the ground,” Optometry Australia national professional services advisor Ms Sophie Koh said.

With a waiting list of optometrists for the course, Koh said participants were evenly selected from across the country, while also considering their proximity to aviation facilities.

Specsavers took its total number of aviation-qualified optometrists to 28 after 13 graduated in the latest course.

“With the latest cohort of Specsavers optometrists engaged in the CASA accreditation process, the accessibility of consistent, high-quality eye care for those in the aviation industry is set to increase,” Dr Ben Ashby, Specsavers Australia & New Zealand director of professional advancement, said.

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