Ita Buttrose warns proposed Medicare cut could blind 47,000 Aussies

An additional 47,000 Australians will experience severe vision loss or blindness if the Federal Government approves a proposed cut to the Medicare rebate for sight-saving eye injections, according to data released by Ita Buttrose AC OBE on behalf of Macular Disease Foundation Australian (MDFA).

The Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce has recommended a 69 per cent reduction in the rebate for eye injections, used to treat several blinding conditions, including wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra Ms Buttrose warned that many older Australians will no longer be able to afford this vital treatment if the Government adopts this recommendation.

Australia is a world leader in the treatment of wet AMD. Patients receive injections to the eye every four to six weeks for an indefinite period, meaning costs can stack up.

“This treatment is highly successful in saving sight,” Ms Buttrose said. “So why has the review taskforce recommended a reduction of 69 per cent in the rebate for these eye injections?

“It’s a decision I find hard to fathom.” Ita Buttrose

Ms Buttrose made the comments during the inaugural Ita Buttrose Oration, an initiative of MDFA. The speech will be part of an ongoing series presenting visions for a healthy ageing Australia. This inaugural Oration coincides with MDFA’s 20th anniversary and Macula Month – MDFA’s annual general awareness campaign held each May.

The MBS review taskforce’s proposal to slash the rebate for eye injections was one of 19 recommendations in a report to the Federal Government delivered in late 2019. It is still under consideration.

Ms Buttrose used the address to call on the Government to reject the recommendation, and to consider MDFA’s fully costed plans to improve access to sight-saving treatment.

Currently, approximately 80,000 vulnerable Australians stop eye injection treatment within five years. While there are many reasons for this, access and cost are two of the primary ones.

“Out-of-pocket costs for this treatment are already prohibitive.   

“Economic modelling commissioned by MDFA, predicts the proposed rebate cut will result in out-of-pocket costs increasing from $1,900 to $3,900 a year on average – double for patients needing injections in both eyes.

“This translates to an additional 47,000 Australians experiencing severe vision loss and blindness within the next five years.”

“This rebate reduction, if approved, will deliver some savings to Government, but will effectively be cost shifting to other parts of the health and welfare system”.

“MDFA’s economic modelling forecasts an extra $168 million in direct costs to Government in primary health, mental health care and early admissions to residential aged care. It’s estimated the proposed rebate cut would also lead to an additional $2.6 billion in indirect costs through loss of patient and family carer productivity.”

In response to the MBS Taskforce proposal, MDFA has developed three costed solutions to increase access to sight-saving treatment. These models can be implemented immediately by leveraging existing systems and infrastructure:

  • new low cost-regional clinics, so patients can access treatment without needing to travel to metropolitan clinics that are already at capacity,
  • increasing the number of healthcare workers who can give injections under the supervision of qualified ophthalmologists,
  • empowering patients to be better informed about fees so they can self-advocate if they can’t afford treatment.

“These models need both Federal and State Government investment. But the cost of doing nothing is much higher. Every 1,000 wet AMD patients left untreated costs the health system $20 million a year,” Ms Buttrose said. “Today, on behalf of MDFA, I call on the Government to reject the recommendation to cut the MBS rebate for eye injections.

“We also ask ophthalmologists to work with the Federal and State Governments, and MDFA representing patients, to increase access to public and bulk-billed treatment in more locations across Australia.

“We simply cannot accept an Australia where we have a gold standard treatment to stop people from going blind, yet there are some Australians who can’t access it. Australians at risk of losing their vision can’t wait any longer – action is needed now.”

Source: About Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA)

MDFA is the peak national body representing the voice of the macular disease community and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. We provide a range of information and support services via our National Helpline 1800 111 709 and websites at www.mdfoundation.com.au and www.CheckMyMacula.com.au.

About the Ita Buttrose Oration

The Ita Buttrose Oration is an initiative of Macular Disease Foundation Australia, designed to address a range of issues around a vision for a health ageing Australia. The inaugural Oration was presented by Ita Buttrose AC OBE at the National Press Club in Canberra on 5 May 2021, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of MDFA.

O=MEGA 21 – Finally Bringing the Industry together

After a year of Event cancellations, ODMA and Optometry Victoria are looking forward to bringing O=MEGA21 to Melbourne in September. Understandably, there may be some apprehension around attending an event after the lockdowns 2020.

However, this event is being held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and a Victorian Government approved COVID safe venue.

Yet despite the disruption caused by COVID the industry’s confidence in its own event O=MEGA21 presented by ODMA and Optometry Victoria/South Australia, was confirmed when within 48 hours of launching the floorplan the fair has virtually sold out.  To find out about the limited opportunities left for exhibitors and sponsors please contact amanda@omega21.com.au 

The Optical Industry have missed so many events over the last 18 months, and by September, the industry will be ready to be on display again. The majority of the industry understand that the COVID risk is diminishing, and the Government is continually monitoring and controlling any outbreaks.

This year we welcome back exhibitors such as De Rigo, Safilo, Optiqueline, Rodenstock, ZEISS, Hoya, Optos, Optimed, BOC, Device Technologies, Van Staveren Eyewear, Good Optical, Aarons Eyewear, and Designs For Vision, to name a few, we also are glad to have new entrants to the market such as Marcolin join us. 

The conference launched on April 1st with early bird pricing and OVSA are delivering a strong program to meet all the new guidelines and maximise your time. The masterclass and Knowledge centre education programs will follow. Please note veteran TAFE optical dispensing teacher Steve Daras will headline those sessions. 

O=MEGA21 will be a face to face conference and exhibition with no virtual component – so start making plans now to block out the time to attend. 

Australians are safe to travel interstate, to New Zealand, go to venues and lead everyday lives. That combined with the vaccine rollout, Australia is a very safe place to be. With everyday lives returning, this also enables Events to return. We are excited to see events happening for all industries in every state happen as industries reawaken, and in September, it is the Optical Industry’s turn too.

All of these factors have made us confident in bringing O=MEGA21 and the industry together.

ODMA CEO Finola Carey met with MCEC, who have devised a VenueSafe Plan designed to reassure people that MCEC is ready to operate a safe environment with scalable control measures to ensure certainty in this changing environment. All employees, visitors, customers and contractors can have the utmost confidence that MCEC has developed an intelligence-led VenueSafe Plan, in consultation with industry experts, that employs risk mitigation principles to ensure the health and safety of all.

Throw into the mix a culture of monitoring, responding to danger signals before they result in harm.

• Check proof of registration at venue entry

 • Support visitors where required throughout the venue

MCEC supports and encourages the use of the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe mobile app. The app helps health authority contact tracers identify people who may have been exposed to

Additional Information

Business Events Grants for exhibitors and delegates to OMEGA21  
Please take note of the following Business Event Grant Info:
 The good news is that the Business Events Grant program applications are extended to 30 June 2021.  
On 11 March 2021 the Australian Government announced an extension to the Business Events Grant program. The current program closed yesterday 30 March 2021 but will re-open mid-April 2021 when the website will be updated.
 
Current details here but this will be updated mid-April https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/business-events-grants
 
For Exhibitors & Delegates If you have not already applied wait till mid-April and apply if your expenditure is over $10K  For Delegates/Visitors
– If your expenditure is less than $10K you are not eligible so make sure you combine all the practice members attending in one application
– Minimum spend will be $10K for a grant of up to 50% of this
– The Grant will be paid on execution of the Grant Agreement.
– Grants will be audited so you need receipts to prove expenditure although in the application process quotes and invoices seem to suffice.
Remember when they have allocated the full $50m there will be no more grants so first in first served  This is NOT legal advice – it is provided to assist you make a grant application.
Book the half-price flights offered by Government to O=MEGA21 (AVALON)
 
WHEN DOES THE HALF-PRICE FLIGHT SALE START?
The flight sale will kick off on April 1 and end on July 31, 2021.

WHAT ARE THE TRAVEL DATES?
Travel dates for the half-price fares are between May and September 2021.

HOW MANY TICKETS WILL BE ON OFFER?
800,000 tickets in total will be sold at half price – which breaks down to around 46,000 half-price tickets available per week for the 13 destinations.

WHICH AIRLINES ARE TAKING PART IN THE SALE?
Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar are all on board to sell tickets at half price. Other smaller operators may opt in on the serviced routes chosen by the government, such as REX, but they must have been running the route for at least two years.

HOW DO I BOOK A HALF-PRICE AIRFARE?
To be eligible for the discount, customers must book through the airline’s website. So for Qantas, visit here. For Virgin Australia, visit here. And for Jetstar, visit here.
 
CAN I GO TO ANY OF THOSE DESTINATIONS THAT ARE PART OF THE CAMPAIGN?
No. Half-price fares only apply to those travelling interstate and those flying directly to the nominated destinations (Sydney and Melbourne residents, for example, won’t get half-price fares to Kangaroo Island, as there are no direct flights from the cities).

Welcome Amanda!

Amanda profile pic

ODMA is very pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda to the position of General Manager for O=MEGA21, the major industry event that is a joint venture between ODMA and Optometry Victoria South Australia (OV/SA).

2021 marks the return of Face to Face Events in Australasia with O=MEGA21

Amanda says “I plan to ensure the event is well run and continues to focus on the needs of all stakeholders. I am focused on ensuring the event is a major benefit to the industry. I am all about working to make our participants lives as easy as possible as they organise their involvement and working to deliver the best value and outcomes possible whether that be for exhibitors, sponsors, visitors or delegates.”

Background

Amanda has built and grown many successful conferences and events in her prior roles for a broad range of organisations. In recent years Amanda has run a trade association and held business development roles for not for profit and charitable organisations.

Amanda achieved a Bachelor of Business and has a Post Graduate qualification in Tourism and Event Management as well as various qualifications in Project Management, Time Management, Event Management and Coaching.

Amanda was ranked 15th on the BRW self-made female entrepreneur list when she ran her own event management business and was a Telstra Small Business Award NSW finalist. She also won multiple industry Meetings Management Awards and served on the MIAA NSW Board as well as wrote and delivered event management courses for Colleges and Universities.

She is a mother of two daughters, lives on the Northern Beaches and loves coastal walks.

Amanda describes herself as a results-driven individual who has always been ‘super organised’, is committed to continual learning and who loves project managing events given it requires such a range of skills. Amanda told us she feels that “getting to see all the planning come together onsite and witnessing the power of shared experiences at an event is so rewarding.”

In addition to Amanda’s extensive event experience, she has previously worked as a business coach and has a real passion for helping businesses grow. Amanda knows from experience the benefits of collaboration within an industry and the power of face-to-face events and is now ready to see how she can be of service to the ophthalmic industry.

Please feel free to contact Amanda at anytime:

02 9450 0765 or  amanda@omega21.com.au

From the ODMA CEO’s Desk, by Finola Carey

Welcome to the new decade – it starts in 2021! Lets put the last one behind us firmly and look to a bright future. Before we do that it is time to congratulate the industry for the way the crisis was handled and where better to celebrate than at our own industry event O=MEGA21 to be held in Melbourne from 2-4 September. Time to start planning now!

1995
In December last year, I reached a milestone I could never have predicted – 25 years at the helm of ODMA. I thought it would be interesting to reflect on some of the key events of my tenure. In 1995 I commenced work for both ODMA and The Better Vision Institute. The BVI had membership from both industry and practitioners both paying a levy on sales to help fund campaigns to promote eye care and the benefits of eyewear. 

1997Screenshot 2021-02-14 132614
The BVI was subsequently reinvented as the Eyecare Information Service. This was the frst attempt anywhere in optics to bring cross representation to collaborate on projects for the good of the industry. Some of the key opinion leaders who served on that board were (Professor) Gerard Sutton (Ophthalmologist), (Professor) Brian Layland (Optometrist), Tony Lord (Optometrist), the late Lindsay McGregor (Optical Dispenser), the late David Dixon (Wholesaler), Alan Smith (OPSM), Diane Quaife (Wholesaler) and the late David Wilson (TAFE teacher and dispenser). The culmination of the EIS plans was the introduction of an annual national Eye Care Week which launched in August 1997 with much-combined media activity. We created a one-minute sight saver test which essentially directed all customers to get an eye test with their optometrist.

1999

Screenshot 2021-02-14 132655The late Brien Holden approached ODMA about the founding of Vision2020 whose aim was to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. From then on ODMA put its support behind this uniting organisation and ODMA is still a member.

2012
In 2012 we proposed a bold new vision for ODMAFAIR and beyond with the significant decision to move the event to Brisbane. The ODMA fairs were national events reaching a national audience. Moving from Sydney signalled a dramatic change, recognising national coverage for the fair. As well as that 2013 represented the last year before the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre was to be demolished, and not available again until 2016.

2014

Screenshot 2021-02-14 132558In August, ODMA purchased Eye Talk Consultants. Eye Talk was established by Margaret McCann and Tony Hanks in 1980 to provide “a reliable source of comprehensive product information” to eye care practitioners. The sale of Eye Talk to ODMA included the Reference Guide, the Digital Download, and the
Progressive Lens Guide. ODMA has since gone on to develop two very successful supplements, an Annual Equipment Magazine and a consumer-facing LOOKBOOK.

 

2018

Screenshot 2021-02-14 132638ODMA and Optometry Victoria announced the most significant change to the optometric conferences and events landscape in Australia. The two market leaders in optics education and events joined forces to launch O=MEGA19. Replacing SRC and ODMA19, O=MEGA combined the most credentialed and largest annual optometry conference in the Southern Hemisphere with the largest eye care and eyewear show in Australia with huge success.

2020
Enough said….

2021
During my tenure, I have worked with 10 different Chairpersons and managed to stay friends with them all. I have made many friends in optical practices, as well as wholesalers and I, look forward to seeing you all again at O=MEGA21,

Finola

Screenshot 2021-02-14 132520

Colour Vision deficiency – red looks brown

Colour plays a significant part in our daily lives. Though around 8 per cent of men and 0.5 per cent of women experiencing red-green colour vision deficiency, so for them, life may often be not so straightforward.

new-picture-1

Though it is noted that red-green colour deficiency affects around 1 in 12 men of Northern European heritage. This group includes those with any mutations in the red photoreceptor gene (causing protanopia) or the green one (causing deuteranopia). According to Wikipedia, 9.2% of Russian males, 9% of Norwegian males, 8.6% of French males

Africans are much less likely to be colour blind with 2.9% of Hutu males, 2.5% of Tutsi males, 2% of Tswana males, 1.7% of Congolese males.

Prevalence among Eastern Asians is somewhere between Europeans and Africans with 6.9% of Chinese males, 4% of Japanese males, 5.9% of Korean males

Fijians are the least colour blind people with 0.8% of Fijian males.

It is suspected that colour vision deficiency is more common among Europeans due to early migration. Evolution can be random sometimes and not all changes over time or differences between populations are the result of natural selection. Genetic drift can fixate alleles in small populations by pure chance if they are not seriously deleterious. demographic events, like a population bottleneck or a founder effect, can intensify genetic drift. A lot of genetic differences may be explained not by natural selection on this scenario, but by genetic drift, it is estimated there are over 250 million colour blind people around the world.

Colour deficiency, is caused by genetic mutations or damage to cells at the back of the eye. These cells are responsible for colour vision.

Most individuals who are colour vision deficient are unable to see one of the three colours that the human eye can distinguish: blue, green, and red.

In fact, no two people perceive a particular colour in the same way. That’s because colour vision is a complex interplay between photoreceptors, the optic nerve, and the brain. That is why we stock several types of iRo lenses so we can find the correct lens for your vision.

The cells responsible for colour vision are called cone cells and sit at the back of the eye, in the retina. Each cone cell has one type of colour photoreceptor that can pick up blue, green, or red light.

When light enters the eye, the photoreceptors on the cone cells are stimulated and pass messages to the brain via the optic nerve. The combination of input from all three photoreceptors allows us to see complex colours.

The reason why colour vision deficiency mostly affects men because the genes that are responsible for the green and red photoreceptors are located on the X chromosome.

A man who has inherited one mutated copy of one of these genes will, therefore, be colour-blind, as men only have one X chromosome. But women have two copies of this chromosome, and the chance of inheriting a non-mutated photoreceptor gene is subsequently greater.

 

 

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319115#The-many-shades-of-color-blindness-

https://www.reddit.com/r/ColorBlind/comments/ggkz94/color_blindness_prevalence_by_human_race/

https://colourvisionoptical.com.au

 

Q&A with Dr James Muecke AM

In our final Blog post for 2020, this is a nice way to finish off a tough year with a good news story with the 2020 Australian of the Year, Adelaide eye surgeon Dr James Muecke. He speaks to ODMA CEO, Finola Carey about his life and work in helping to prevent blindness with Sight For All a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting avoidable blindness in the world. JAMES

When did you decide that you wanted to become an ophthalmologist/eye surgeon?

I wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. There was no one single experience that steered me toward medicine. It was simply a desire to help, to cure, to make people’s lives better. Following my internship in 1988, I spent a year as a volunteer general doctor at Tumu Tumu Hospital in central Kenya, where I had the privilege of helping patients with a range of diseases, most of which were infective and imminently curable. The idea of being able to cure blindness in disadvantaged communities using microsurgery was really appealing. It combined my growing love of public health and the lifelong appeal of using my hands to do fine work. And so, I returned to Adelaide in 1990 to train as an ophthalmologist.

Who was your greatest mentor/influencer?

When I was toying with the idea of working in Africa for a year, most of the senior medical colleagues I consulted warned me against leaving the system. “You’ll never get back into speciality training programs.”, they exclaimed.

Colin Moore, the Head of Ophthalmology at Royal Adelaide Hospital at the time, gave me the opposite advice and encouraged me to follow my dream. I still remember receiving the phone call whilst I was in the operating theatre at Tumu Tumu Hospital when Colin gave me the wonderful and life-changing news that I’d been accepted into the ophthalmology program in Adelaide.

What did you hope to achieve when you set up Sight For All?

I co-founded Sight For All with colleagues from Royal Adelaide Hospital in 2009, to better coordinate and fundraise for projects that we were undertaking in a number of countries in Asia. Little did I realise that it would become a consuming passion and within a decade be impacting on the lives of over one million people every year.

JAMES2

Which countries does Sight For All service?

Sight For All has completed projects in nine countries in Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam) and two in Africa (Ethiopia and Kenya). We also have initiatives in Australia which are primarily focused on raising awareness of the major blinding diseases that afflict Aboriginal and mainstream communities.

What are the most common treatments you provide in these countries?

Our projects are aimed at sustainably training and equipping colleagues in poorer countries so that they can comprehensively deal with all the blinding diseases that they encounter – cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinal disease, and the blinding conditions of childhood, just to name a few. We are a ‘teach a man to fish’ organisation rather than having a ‘fly-in-fly-out’ approach.

Do you receive government assistance in addition to your fundraising activities?

Sight For All has been accredited with the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade for three years. This gives us a small funding stream, however, more importantly, has allowed us to elevate our organisation to the highest level of international development work.

Richard Grills mentioned that you told him measles is the number one cause of blindness in children in Asia.  How did this information come to your attention?

Sight For All has conducted childhood blindness studies in five countries in Asia. During our study in Myanmar in 2007, we discovered that measles was the leading cause of blindness. We also found that it was a leading cause of blindness in Cambodia in 2008 and Laos in 2013.

To be surrounded by children in schools for the blind in each of these countries, who were permanently blind and horribly disfigured from measles, was the most disturbing experience of my medical life. It filled me with a passion to make a difference and spearheaded Sight For All’s fight against childhood blindness in Asia. We have now trained and equipped paediatric ophthalmologists in eight countries in Asia, in many the first for their countries.

What types of equipment does Sight For All use in its work?

 

JAMES5

All too often, we see equipment that’s been donated to low income countries and yet the doctors and their staff have no idea how to use them. Whenever we train an ophthalmologist, we ensure they receive the specialised equipment that we’ve trained them on, and also a critical training in the use of such equipment. Our donated equipment is often brand new and spans the whole range of subspecialty fields in our profession, from argon lasers for retinal disease to phacoemulsification for cataract surgery and the highly specialised instruments required to treat the range of blinding diseases of childhood.

What is the smallest most effective instrument that you use most?

Some of the finest eye surgeries involve the use of ultra-microsurgical instrumentation to conduct procedures on the delicate tissue of the retina which lines the inside the back of our eyes. The diabetic retinal disease usually presents late in poor countries and so restoring sight often requires the finest of instruments such as intra-ocular forceps, scissors, and suction tubes that can be manipulated inside the eye to remove blinding scar tissue and blood.

JAMES7

What is the equipment you find hardest to fund?

Sight For All is needing to fund the next generation of vitrector for use in a number of our partner countries. This device powers the instrumentation discussed above, that is so critical for dealing with the ophthalmic complications of diabetes, which is a huge, rapidly growing and often poorly managed cause of blindness in the low-income countries of the world.

 

Now that you have received the Australian Of The Year Award will this alter any of the plans for Sight For All?

I’m hoping that the Award will raise awareness of the high impact work being undertaken by Sight For All, work that’s being supported by the voluntary expertise of nearly 170 ophthalmologists, optometrists, orthoptists, scientists and nurse from across Australia, New Zealand and further afield. I’m also using the platform to raise awareness of diabetes, a growing epidemic that’s now the leading cause of blindness amongst working-age adults in Australia, and, at a cost of close to $20 billion annually, the greatest threat to Australia’s health system.

www.sightforall.org/donate

JAMES6

Raising glaucoma awareness by Annie Gibbins, Glaucoma Australia CEO

 

His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia receives representatives of Glaucoma Australia at Admiralty House, Sydney: Ms Annie Gibbons (CEO), Associate Professor Simon Skalicky (President) and Mr Kirk Pengilly (Ambassador).

His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia receives representatives of Glaucoma Australia at Admiralty House, Sydney: Ms Annie Gibbons (CEO), Associate Professor Simon Skalicky (President) and Mr Kirk Pengilly (Ambassador).

Glaucoma Australia’s mission to eliminate glaucoma blindness focusses strongly on risk awareness and early detection; as well as appointment and treatment adherence for individuals known to have glaucoma. This means Glaucoma Australia are targeting their sight saving messages to people aged 40+ who are often difficult to engage but essential to reach.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable yet irreversible blindness worldwide with half of the estimated 300,000 affected Australians currently unaware they have the condition. The insidious nature of this disease means sight loss occurs slowly and it is often termed the ‘sneak thief of sight’ as the peripheral vision loss caused by glaucoma can go unnoticed until an advanced stage. As a consequence, patients are denied access to sight-saving early interventions, counselling and support, all of which may provide incalculable benefit.

Glaucoma Australia believes that while eye health professionals can make a strong impact individually, the biggest impact for patients will occur when all stakeholders proactively work together to improve risk awareness, early detection and treatment adherence. For this reason, their referral response pathway marketing campaign is titled ‘Every hero needs a sidekick’ as they are keen to be the Robin to your Batman in the fight to save sight.

A framework which continually raises glaucoma awareness drives testing and then refers patients to support services at the earliest opportunity is crucial to eliminating glaucoma blindness.

“Glaucoma awareness, early diagnosis and a strong understanding about the importance of treatment adherence is saving my sight,” said Gaela Hilditch

In 2018, Glaucoma Australia designed and implemented a four-stage patient support journey with referrals being received via Oculo, the website or brochure.

Patient support is enhanced throughout the specific stages by personal access to orthoptist educators, weblinks to high-quality patient-centric resources and support groups to build community.  Kirk Pengilly Return from the brink of Blindness 2400x1268px

Stage 1:  Suspected Glaucoma Diagnosis

Explore preliminary diagnosis response

Provide basic information

Promote Ophthalmology appointment

Provide referral resource

Stage 2:  Recently diagnosed and starting treatment

Discuss the treatment plan

Answer questions

Provide education, resources and support

Discuss ongoing appointment and treatment requirements

Stage 3:  Six months post-diagnosis

Review adherence to the treatment plan

Identify reasons for poor adherence

Educate to improve adherence

Provide resources

Encourage relatives to get tested

Stage 4:  12 months post-diagnosis

Grow knowledge and confidence in eye health management

Promote appointment adherence

Promote treatment adherence

Drive family link ‘at risk’ testing

Educate and support change management.

The proactive approach and innovative design, coupled with highly skilled educators and technological advancements have led to more than 6000 patients being referred via Ophthalmology, Optometry and Pharmacy channels. We know that patient education and support leads to better clinical outcomes, so Glaucoma Australia works collaboratively with eye health professionals to maximise the support services provided to patients at all stages of their glaucoma journey.  A strong patient-centred culture, enhanced and supported by industry collaboration, digital technology and campaigns which drive measurable results are all ways to eliminate glaucoma blindness over the years ahead. An extremely encouraging result of the early intervention initiative is that the age of the first contact to Glaucoma Australia has dropped from 80-89 years to 60-69 years in just 2 years.

Glaucoma Australia Patron His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Ambassador Kirk Pengilly are proactively extending Glaucoma Australia’s risk awareness campaign far and wide nationally.

Mr Hurley recently had his eyes tested for glaucoma at Flinders Medical Centre by Professor Jamie Craig and then spoke of his experience and his Patronage to patients in Adelaide who attended the Glaucoma Australia Patient Symposium.

Kirk’s high profile and personal experience resonates powerfully and his call to action is simple: ‘if you value your sight and are at risk, go and get tested’.

“When I got glaucoma it really hit home how important sight was to me and obviously to everyone. It was a real wake up call for me as I came within a millimetre of losing my eyesight. As a result, I’m certainly more aware of my eyes, my eye health and the importance of looking after my sight,” said Kirk.

He added, “I feel the need to encourage people to be aware of eye health and the importance of getting their eyes checked regularly. Most eye disease is preventable if you can get to it early so I’m keen to encourage ‘people at risk’ to get their eyes checked regularly.”

Their high-profiles and influence will be accessed at events and through social media to amplify Glaucoma Australia’s key focus areas including:

Improving appointment adherence

Improving treatment adherence

Improving knowledge

Reducing anxiety

Promoting family link awareness which drives ‘at risk’ testing.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases where vision is lost due to damage to the optic nerve. It causes irreversible vision loss due to damage to the optic nerve. The loss of sight is usually gradual and a considerable amount of peripheral (side) vision may be lost before there is an awareness of any problem. Unfortunately there is no cure for glaucoma, and vision loss is irreversible.

What causes glaucoma?

Glaucoma is usually caused by an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) which can damage the optic nerve. The level of elevated eye pressure which causes progressive damage to the optic nerve varies between people.

The eye is constantly producing a clear liquid called aqueous humour which it secretes into itself. This fluid nourishes the eye and holds the eye in shape. The fluid is then drained out though an area called the anterior chamber angle or drainage angle. If there is damage to the drainage angle, the rate at which the eye produces the aqueous humour then becomes greater than the rate the eye can drain it – causing high IOP in the eye.

This increased pressure begins to damage the optic nerve which lies at the back of the eye. The optic nerve is made up of approximately one million nerve fibres which connect the back of the eye to the brain. Damage to the cells of the optic nerve results in irreversible damage to your eyesight.

www.glaucoma.org.au

15 interesting facts about the human eye by Bolle

Vision is so fundamental to the human experience that sometimes we take our eyes for granted. The human eye is a highly complex organ that provides us with the ability to experience the world in ways that our other senses cannot. Even though we use our eyes during the majority of our waking hours, there are a number of fun and interesting things you may not have realised about your eyes and how they function.

  1. The Eyes Perceive Things Upside Down

What we see are made up of light reflected from the objects and scenes we look at. However, because the cornea at the front of the eye is curved, it bends the light as it enters eye, meaning the image is upside down when it hits the retina at the back of the eye. When the brain interprets the image it turns it back the right way up so we see the world correctly.

  1. Eyes are Filled with Jelly-Like substance

80% of the human eye is made of a firm jelly-like fluid called vitreous humour that is vital to eye health and function. This clear, colourless substance fills the space between the lens and the retina of your eye. Vitreous humour is 99% water, the rest is a mixture of collagen, proteins, salts and sugars. By filling the eye, vitreous humour is essential to maintaining the eye’s shape and keeping the fragile retina in the place.

  1. There are Many Protective Features Around the Eye

Our skull and facial features have evolved over millions of years to protect the fragile eyeball. The socket itself is depressed into the skull, thereby protecting half the eye with bone. Eyebrows are there to catch sweat from the forehead and divert it away from the eyes. Eyelids close to shield the eye from light and particles when needed. Eyelashes create a filter for dust and other particles but also act like the whiskers of a cat or mouse, by sensing when something is close to the eye and triggering the eyelid to close

Despite these elements, the eye is still one of our most fragile organs, especially in the face of modern hazards like artificial light and industrial substances. Evolution has not caught up with these new hazards, so eye protection is crucial in these modern environments.

  1. We All Have a Blind Spot

We may feel like we see everything in front of us, but we actually have a tiny blind spot. This small portion of the visual field corresponds to the location of the optic disk, where the optic nerve exits the eye and blood vessels enter. Experts are still unsure why we rarely notice this blind spot. One theory is that the brain fills in the missing information using visual cues in the environment, the other is that the overlapping vision of two eyes means they see each other’s blind spots.

  1. The Human Eye Can Detect 10 Million Different Colours

While there are several theories on the topic, studies based on the work of Gunter Wyszecki suggest that we can distinguish as many as 10 million colours. All colours in the light spectrum visible to humans are made up of combinations of red, green and blue. When we see yellow it is a combination of red and green, whereas purple is a combination of red and blue, and so on.

  1. Eye Colour has Little or No Influence on Vision

It has been suggested that blue and green eyes are more sensitive to light than brown eyes, and that brown eyes are more susceptible to cataracts. Some studies even claim that people with brown eyes are better at responsive actions such as racquet sports, while people with lighter coloured eyes may be better at strategic thinking. Other studies dispute these theories. Experts, however, agree that everyone, regardless of eye colour, should use tinted glasses to protect their eyes from the sun.

  1. Red-Eye in Photos is Due to Blood Vessels in the Eye

Ever wondered why eyes sometimes appear red in photos? The “red-eye” effect occurs when the light of a camera flash or other bright light source is reflected back at the camera. The reflected light illuminates the blood vessels of the connective tissue at the back of the eye, which produces the red colour you see in photos.

  1. Iris Scans Are More Secure than Fingerprints

Like a fingerprint, the iris is unique to each individual; unlike corresponding fingers on each hand the iris in each of our eyes are also different from one another. Our irises have over 256 unique characteristics, compared that to fingerprints that only have about 40. This makes iris scan for biometric systems much more secure than fingerprints.

  1. Being Nearsighted or Farsighted Depends on the Shape of Your Eye

Being nearsighted or farsighted depends on the shape of the eye. Those with near-sightedness or myopia, the most common vision problem, have longer eyes meaning light is focused just short of the retina when looking into the distance.

  1. Your Eyes Can Get Sunburned

Sunburn of the skin is now well understood but did you know you can also get sunburn of the eye. The condition is called photokeratitis and can cause pain, redness, blurriness, tearing, swelling and sensitivity to light. Just like how your skin can peel after sunburn, photokeratitis can lead to the corneal epithelium “sloughing off”. Effects can be felt long after exposure, so always wear good sunglasses when in the sun.

  1. We Blink Between 20,000 and 30,000 Times Every Day

Scientists have estimated that we blink between 20,000 and 30,000 times per day on average. Each blink lasts just two-tenths of a second but that adds up to approximately 1.5 hours per day. Blinking removes dirt and lubricates the eye with moist tears. Each blink brings nutrients to the eye surface structures keeping them healthy.

12. 80% of All Vision Impairment Can be Prevented or Cured

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 80% of all vision impairment around the world can be prevented and even cured. The WHO highlights a number of successful public-private partnerships that have brought about real change in eye health for those countries who encouraged them. Such measures have led to a substantial reduction in onchocerciasis and trachoma-related blindness and a consequent reduction in the spread of infectious diseases.

  1. Are Carrots Actually Good For Your Eyes?

Many of us have been brought up being told that carrots are the best food for eyesight, even that eating carrots will help us see in the dark. While the beta-carotene rich vegetable is a healthy addition to your diet, it does not have specific benefits for the eyes aside from vitamin A, which is converted from beta-carotene in the body, but there are much better sources of vitamin A.

  1. You’ll Need Glasses When You Get Older

Around age 40, the vast majority of people start to experience a condition called presbyopia. Presbyopia is the hardening of lenses in the eye and makes it more difficult to focus on objects that are too close. Presbyopia often intensifies around age 50 as the lenses continue to harden with age. As a result, most people will need glasses by the time they reach 40 or 50 years old.

  1. Using Screens Causes Computer Vision Syndrome

Studies suggest that 50% to 90% of people who work at a computer screen show symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS). CVS is not one specific problem but a whole range of issues relating to eye strain and pain from too much exposure to screens.
Using a screen forces your eyes to focus and refocus all the time, the brightness and glare also make your eyes work harder, over time this repetitive strain can take a toll on your eye muscles.

The End in Sight

Better understanding the complex nature of our eyes can help us appreciate how lucky we are to have them and how important vision is to the evolution of our species.
Understanding our eyes can also help us appreciate how fragile they are so we might better protect them from injury and deterioration. To make sure we keep our eyes healthy and safe from harm we must limit their exposure to light, heat and particles such as dust, by protecting them with quality glasses we can enjoy all the benefits of vision but without the risk.

Read More in LOOKBOOK2021

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Challenging times for the Optical Industry by Finola Carey, Chief Executive Officer

generic-image-1290574857_sml2020 started as a great year. We laughed about how 2020 related to eyes and vision and enjoyed the 12 months of mileage we would receive out of that pun. Now sadly 2020 is going to have a whole new meaning and reflection in years (and in history) to come.

At ODMA we have faced challenges with OSHOW being cancelled here and MIDO and SILMO around the Globe. Maintaining CPD points for Optoms in an interactive setting has become more challenging. Social distancing makes it even harder for distributors to get their products to clients. Product arriving from overseas has been delayed, businesses are under pressure and some even closing – everything is out of kilter.

As your Industry Association, we are here to help. We are happy to talk with you to discuss ways in which we can help you get through this. Conversations to date have included discussions with landlords, banking requirements, physical distancing and communication to your clients.

What can you do? What are you doing? Let us know what you are planning for the next 12 months.

With each state of Australia operating under different guidelines, it makes it harder to have continuity of messaging and working across the industry. The number one thing for everyone is social distancing. We have all seen how New Zealand went well, and they relaxed, and then it reared its head again. These measures will be here to stay for quite a while, so we all have to plan with this in mind long term. By sharing tactics and ideas, the industry can come together with a uniformed strategy to ensure customer satisfaction and comfort.

Please be aware too, that our active social media channels can help support any products and issues Members have. The new LookBook due out in October can also support product lines along with Eyetalk Magazine and our websites.

Our offices are still open due to the small community hub we belong to so please do not hesitate to get in touch via email or phone – we are here to help.

We are focussing all our energy now on 2021 and making OMEGA21 to be held 2-4 September a huge success.

THE DO’S AND DONT’S WHEN LOOKING AFTER YOUR LENSES by Hoya

Helpful tips to maintaining your lenses and ensuring a longer lifespan

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Anyone that owns glasses can think of a time when their lenses were dirty and they had to use the shirt they were wearing to clean them. While this may not be the best solution to clean your lenses, it’s the small things you don’t see that cause the problems. Small particles and dust can get onto the surface of your lenses. Rubbing off the dust, especially with the wrong cloth or paper tissue, may, unfortunately, scratch them. Follow these easy care tips to keep your lenses in top condition for longer.


DO Clean the lenses and frame regularly with lukewarm water and a drop of mild liquid soap.
DO Dry the lenses with a soft, clean microfiber lens cloth, often provided by your optician.
DO Keep your glasses away from household detergents and beauty products such as hairspray and perfume. These can damage lenses and coatings.
DO Use both hands when you put on and take off your glasses.
DO Keep your glasses in a hard case, often provided by your optician.
DO Ask your optician about anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings, which guarantee comfort, performance and durability.
DO Hold your glasses by the bridge, not the temples.

Don’t Wipe your lenses with tissues, paper towels or paper napkins. These often contain wood fibres that can permanently damage the lens surface.
Don’t Wipe your lenses with a towel that has been washed with fabric softener, as this can leave a misty film on your lenses.
Don’t Spit on your lenses; saliva may contain oil or other damaging substances. Buy a small bottle of lens cleaner and take it with you when you’re away from
home.
Don’t Put your glasses down on heat sources, such as ovens or central heating, or leave them in a hot car.
Don’t Put your glasses down on the curved side of the lenses. This can damage the coating and cause scratches.
Don’t Keep your glasses on your head. This can misalign the frame, affecting the position of the lenses in front of your eyes.

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