• Loss of independent glaucoma management to medicine
• Hits in federal budget come into force on 1 January
Optometry in Australia is to be hit with a double whammy.
Within a few weeks, it will lose the right to independent management of chronic glaucoma, returning to the collaborative care arrangement that was traditionally in place until the Optometry Board of Australia introduced guidelines in early 2013 that permitted optometrists to diagnose and treat glaucoma without involvement of ophthalmologists.
Optometry will also be hit by changes under Medicare, which will affect practitioners to the tune of $89.6 million over four years (Click 'Read More' to see story).
As agreed by the OBA at a settlement conference in Brisbane on 24 November, as soon as certain administrative formalities are completed by the OBA, including amendment of its 20-months-old guidelines, an optometrist’s diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma is to be checked by an ophthalmologist within a maximum of four months of a management plan being established by the optometrist.
The ophthalmologist and the optometrist will now concur on the management plan before it is signed off by the ophthalmologist, which was the procedure before the OBA issued its revised guidelines in early 2013.
In the event of any side-effects being experienced at any time during the four months, the optometrist must immediately refer the patient to an ophthalmologist. To not do that could lead to a sanction. ...read more