Eye health is a critical aspect of overall patient well-being. Early detection of eye conditions can significantly reduce the risk of blindness and vision loss. Healthcare professionals need to stay informed and proactive in identifying, managing, and preventing eye diseases in their patients.
EMPHN is excited to announce the launch of our comprehensive eye health and vision care training program, designed to equip healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to support good eye health of their patients.
The importance of regular eye examinations
Many eye conditions, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, do not exhibit noticeable symptoms in their early stages. However, with early detection through regular eye examinations, most cases of blindness and vision loss can be prevented or effectively treated. Encouraging patients to undergo routine eye exams can contribute to their overall well-being and help maintain quality of life.
The role of general practice
General practice can play a vital role in reducing avoidable blindness and vision loss by identifying and monitoring higher-risk patients including:
- those aged 40 and older
- individuals with diabetes
- those with hypertension
- individuals with a family history of eye disease
First Nations people and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities may face additional barriers in accessing tailored and appropriate support for their eye health.
Victorian Eye Health Pilot Project
In partnership with the Victorian Department of Health, EMPHN and Murray PHN are leading a quality and systems improvement pilot project aimed at enhancing eye screening and detection of eye conditions for at-risk groups across Victoria.
Nine general practices are participating in the program to develop sustainable system improvements, improve patient identification, and facilitate appropriate referrals to eye health professionals. The project aims to reducing the prevalence of avoidable blindness and vision loss in our communities.
General practices not participating in the pilot program are still able to access the free online eye health training modules and resources.
Free online eye health training modules
To support healthcare professionals in their continuous professional development, EMPHN has collaborated with Vision 2020 Australia, the peak body for eye health and vision care organisations, to offer a range of free online professional development and training opportunities through the Vision 2020 Australia portal.
These modules cover various topics, including an introduction to eye health and vision care, advanced eye care, common eye conditions, diabetes eye care, and emergency eye care.
In addition to the online training modules, EMPHN will be hosting live webinars throughout the year, focusing on specific eye health topics such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes and eye health, children's vision, and cataracts. These webinars provide an interactive platform for learning and discussion. Register or watch now:
Tuesday 14 March
Eye health webinar 1: Glaucoma deep-dive
Tuesday 9 May 6.30pm
Eye health webinar 2: Macular degeneration
Wednesday 12 July 6.30pm
Eye health webinar 3: Diabetes and eye health
Wednesday 30 August 6.30pm
Eye health webinar 4: Children’s vision
Thursday 12 October 6.30pm
Eye health webinar 5: Cataracts deep-dive
Additional resources for health professionals to deliver comprehensive eye care
We have compiled a wealth of additional resources to support healthcare professionals in delivering comprehensive eye care. These resources include patient education materials, referral pathways, and information about relevant organisations specialising in eye care. By utilising these resources, healthcare professionals can enhance their practice and provide the best possible care to their patients.
Services for healthcare professionals:
- KeepSight is a national eye check recall and reminder system for people with diabetes, led by Diabetes Australia. Healthcare providers can access the free digital platform to register patient details.
- Order posters, information sheets, brochures and translated resources from Vision 2020 Australia.
- Patients who are blind or have vision loss can be referred to Vision Australia for support to live the life they choose.
Services for patients:
- Good Vision for Life is a hub of information that includes a search function to find a local optometrist, plus information about healthy eyes.
- Glaucoma Australia provides free education and support to people living with glaucoma and produces resources to promote early detection.
- The Victorian Eyecare Service allows eligible Victorians to receive subsidised glasses, contact lenses and visual aids.
- The Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme provides $10 glasses for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria.
Additional training for healthcare professionals:
- Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA)
- Indigenous Eye Health, The University of Melbourne
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA)
- Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC)
- The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
- The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO)
Clinical and referral pathways
- HealthPathways Melbourne is a free online resource for primary health care clinicians designed for use at the point of care. It contains clinical and local referral pathways, patient and health professional resources that reflect current best practice and evidence. Request free access.
- Eye-health related pathways:
- Order Vision Initiative Eye Health Kit and access other resources for primary health care
- Australian College of Optometry (ACO)
- Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA)
- Diabetes Victoria
- Eye health resources - Vision Initiative (in various languages)
- Glaucoma Australia
- Guide Dogs Victoria
- Macular Disease Foundation
- Optometry Australia
- Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
- Vision Australia
- Vision 2020 Australia