9 months ago

April 2018


2018 • Voted by New Zealanders • 2018 TRANSFORMING EYE HEALTH THE ULTIMATE OPHTHALMIC COLLABORATION At Specsavers we are focussed on providing the highest levels of optometry and dispensing care in all our New Zealand and Australian stores. Our equipment and technology strategies, our close working relationships with ophthalmology and various eye disease stakeholders alongside our major investments into dispensing qualifications all contribute to a singular purpose – to transform the eye health of New Zealanders and Australians. So, if you’re concerned at the 50 per cent undiagnosed glaucoma cohort and the under-indexing of diabetic retinopathy screenings; if you’re worried that available in-store technology isn’t being used on every patient due to extra fees and charges; and if you’re alarmed at the under-investment in professional dispensing programs and technology – then we urge you to talk to us about how you can make a genuine impact at Specsavers. We’re on a clear mission to transform eye health in New Zealand and Australia – and we’d like you to join us on that mission. To ask about optometry and dispensing roles right across the country at all levels, contact Chris Rickard on 027 579 5499 or, alternatively visit for all the opportunities. Reader’s Digest Quality Service Award 2018 • Voted by Australians • 2018 Reader’s Digest Quality Service Award AITD Voted by New Zealanders Reader’s Digest Quality Service Award 2017 Best Customer Service in AU Optometry 2018 Best Customer Service in NZ Optometry Best Talent Development Program 2017 Best Talent Development Program 2017 Best Customer Service in NZ Optometry 2017 Millward Brown Research No.1 for eye tests 2016 Excellence in Marketing Award 2016 Retail Store Design Award 2016 Retail Employer of the Year 2015 2018 Transforming eye health 2 NEW ZEALAND OPTICS April 2018

Oculo rolls out in NZ Oculo says it will now be rolling out its cloud-based secure messaging and clinical communication software, designed to better connect optometrists and ophthalmologists, in New Zealand over the next few of months. The launch will be kicked-off through Oculo’s agreement with Specsavers, which has signed a multi-year commitment to use Oculo on both sides of the Tasman. But Oculo is keen to sign up as many optometrists and ophthalmologists to its technology as possible to enable consistency in the quantity and quality of data shared. Oculo’s software provides a secure, online system for optometrists to identify ophthalmologists with particular specialities and to safely share clinical records, including patient data, photos and scans for referrals. The system was the brainchild of Professor Jonathan Crowston, managing director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), and Peter Larsen, director of CERA and Specsavers optometry director. It was spun out from CERA as a standalone company in 2015. The Australian roll-out began in April 2016 and it’s now employed by more than 1,700 optometrists and 440 ophthalmologists, managing over 200,000 patients across Australia. An agreement with Glaucoma Australia last year also allows eye care professionals to refer patients directly to the charity for help and support. “Oculo is a fundamental component of our ability to measure clinical activity and outcomes,” said Larsen. “Through Oculo, we can access data on detection, referral and diagnosis rates to further improve clinical standards and contribute to transforming eye health in Australia and New Zealand. For example, Specsavers-wide Oculo screen shot Oculo data will provide us with the evidencebase to show how we are closing the gap on undiagnosed glaucoma in Australia and New Zealand. That sort of information has not been available before and helps not just us and our optometrists, but also government and other health stakeholders. It adds value because it allows us to specify the Oculo’s Dr Kate Taylor and Specsavers’ Peter Larsen impact we are making on patient wellbeing.” “There is so much innovation in eye care – the technologies available for diagnosis and management are really exciting,” said Dr Kate Taylor, Oculo’s CEO. “So more than ever, it’s important to use technology to enhance clinical communication so that practitioners can share digital information to increase the quality and efficiency of patient care.” Background Oculo was developed by CERA, a not-for-profit medical research institute based at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital (RVEEH) in Melbourne, in collaboration with Specsavers, OPSM, and Bupa Optical. Its aim is to promote the efficiency and quality of clinical communications to support collaboration to improve eye care; to “be better than a letter,” said Prof Crowston, chair of Oculo, at the company’s launch back in 2016. “The team has invested thousands of hours to develop privacy and data security controls that mean that correspondence by Oculo is indeed better than a letter, and so much more. It has intelligent prompts and other features to enhance the quality of referrals and to create a shared eye e-health record.” Oculo’s major shareholders are CERA and an angel investor who had a life-changing intervention at the RVEEH and wanted to give back. No other individual or corporate involved in optometry or The hard end of eye health EDITORIAL This month we are proud to include a handful of dedicated low vision stories and opinions, including an amusing view from the dark side (as he calls it) from our wonderful new low vision columnist, Trevor Plumbly (p6). Some put low vision patients in the too-hard or too-scary basket. But as these stories show there’s lots that can be done to help New Zealand’s low vision community and optometrists, new and experienced, are ideally positioned to help them lead more fulfilling lives, however bad their vision. One well-known low vision patient advocate, John Veale, has often been quoted in NZ Optics’ pages championing this area, saying how rewarding it is to help people with low vision, especially as their relatives and friends often choose to become your patients as well. The major causes of low vision will, of course, be a key topic at this year’s unmissable RANZCO NZ Branch conference in mid-May, which once again incorporates parallel meetings for our ophthalmic nurses and our orthoptists. We’ve got the inside scoop, hot-off-the press, about this year’s programme and keynotes. Plus, we’ve had a look at what’s on in Auckland around the same time for all the out-of-towners visiting. We’ve also got all the happenings from sister conferences in Australia, past and future, and there’s news about RANZCO’s Eye Foundation, ORIA and a new worm that’s been found in patients’ eyes in the little-known Mariana Islands (p10-18). We also celebrate New Zealands’s hosting of the very well-received and smoothly organised (well done guys) Retina International world conference (p21) and the work of our combined School of Optometry and Vision Science and Department of Ophthalmology’s Summer students (p20). Meanwhile Style-Eyes tackles the lighter end of the eye health spectrum with a look at how pop-up stores could mean extra revenue and customers for the more entrepreneurial among you, and Chalkeyes gets his typing in a tizz about the lack of decent, compatible practice software tools on the market (p26). But then again, Oculo (p3) and 1stGroup (p23) might be able to help! Enjoy, and please get in touch if you’ve got an issue you want us to cover or you want to comment on anything in NZ Optics. We always love to hear from you. Next month: all the happenings from CCLS NZ, the Ocular Therapeutics Conference and Excellence in Ophthalmology Lesley Springall, editor, NZ Optics ophthalmology has any stake. ▀ 0800 55 20 20 First Sanderson Scholarship Less than a year after announcing the establishment of the Gordon Sanderson Scholarship, Glaucoma New Zealand (GNZ) has announced its first awardee – Hilary Goh, a fifth-year medical student for her summer research project investigating nailfold capillary abnormalities in glaucoma. Goh, who undertook her research project within the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland, is one of the top medical students at the University, said Professor Helen Danesh-Meyer, chair of GNZ. “She is razor sharp, dedicated and great with patients. She was a natural fit for the project as it was very demanding.” Goh’s project explored whether nailfold capillary health can be used as a biomarker for glaucoma progression, based on the hypothesis that glaucoma involves vascular dysautoregulation, explained Prof Danesh-Meyer, who was also Goh’s supervisor for the project. “There is some evidence to support this from Harvard which demonstrates there is a difference between the nailfold capillary of glaucoma patients compared to controls. Hilary’s project is an extension of this work to see if it correlates with glaucoma severity and progression.” Presenting her work at the Auckland Summer Student Symposium in March (p21), Goh concluded that primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) patients did indeed have nailfold capillary (NFC) abnormalities and abnormal NFC is associated with increased risk of POAG and more severe visual field loss. However, more studies were needed as was an improved capillary grading system, she said. Prof Danesh-Meyer said GNZ decided to award the first scholarship this year as they had received a number of pledges and donations since announcing the new scholarship in August last year. The scholarship was set up in honour of the much-admired Associate Professor Gordon Sanderson, a founding trustee of GNZ, who died earlier in the year. “Gordon was very passionate about GNZ and the prevention of blindness from glaucoma. He was Hilary Goh, recipient of the inaugural Gordon Sanderson Scholarship from Glaucoma New Zealand a huge advocate for students and relished seeing students involved in research,” said Prof Danesh- Meyer. “I know from personal experience that Gordon always helped provide opportunities to students to be involved in eye research. I was one of these students. GNZ is committed to ensuring his passion for students and research is continued through this scholarship.” GNZ will be advertising for applications for the 2019 scholarship from June this year. The scholarship is available to medical and optometry students, ophthalmologists or optometrists undertaking research or teaching experience in glaucoma from the Universities of Auckland, Otago or Sydney as these institutions had close ties with A/Prof Sanderson. To find out more or to contribute to the Gordon Sanderson Scholarship fund, please visit www. ▀ To read more about the 2017-2018 Summer student projects, please turn to p21. Dr Trevor Gray April 2018 NEW ZEALAND OPTICS 3