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LOOK scholarship recipients L-R: Jacqueline Warren, Bhaj Grewal and Deborah Hackett

Optometry Australia has awarded three scholarships as part of its 2023 Looking Outward on Optometric Knowledge (LOOK) International program.

Launched in 2020, Optometry Australia’s LOOK International program was established to evolve optometric scope of practice through the funding of study tours that investigate international optometric advancements that are not yet available or readily available in Australia.

Optometry Australia is pleased to announce that the recipients of the 2023 scholarships are Jacqueline Warren, Bhaj Grewal and Deborah Hackett.

Policy and Advocacy Manager Sarah Davies said: ‘We were delighted to receive such a significant amount of interest from members across the country for this program.

‘Due to the extremely high calibre of applications, we have made the decision to award scholarships to not one, but three, members. Following a deidentified process of review, we are pleased to be able to offer $8,000 to each of the successful applicants in support of their proposed tour in 2023.

‘We warmly congratulate the recipients and are excited to share their findings and experiences with our wider membership next year.’

Intravitreal injections

South Australian optometrist Jacqueline Warren will travel to London to undertake an intravitreal injection training course run by Moorfields Eye Hospital – an institution she says is well-respected among ophthalmologists. She says this scholarship will give her ‘the opportunity to provide insight into their teaching program so that a similar program might be established in Australia should the need arise. It also provides an optometrist who is already “qualified” in intravitreal injections a trial under ophthalmology supervision’. Following this, Jacqueline will expand her learning opportunities by observing a UK specialist therapeutic optometrist in an injection clinic.

Expansion of scope of practice

Victorian optometrist Bhaj Grewal will travel to the United States of America to learn from world leaders in clinical trials to help increase the involvement of Australian optometrists and practices in clinical trials. She plans to visit various stakeholders, tertiary ophthalmology hospitals, optometry research institutes and pharmaceutical companies involved in USA clinical trials, bring home learnings about their collaborative care model approach, and begin implementing these learnings in Australia in her role at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

Collaborative glaucoma care

It is estimated that some 50% of people with glaucoma are undiagnosed and the role of optometrists in primary detection is pivotal. With a strong interest in glaucoma care, fellow Victorian optometrist Deborah Hackett has proposed to attend the World Glaucoma Congress 2023 in Rome. Alongside the congress, her fluent Italian will assist her in visiting several hospitals and private ophthalmology practices to investigate the collaborative models of glaucoma management between surgical and non-surgical ophthalmologists. These explorations will help understand how optometrists can be more involved in collaborative glaucoma care in Australia.

Following the tours abroad, Jacqueline, Bhaj and Deborah will each submit a story to be published on Optometry Australia’s website, as well as an article for Optometry Connection upon return. We look forward to sharing these articles with all members and working with them to implement changes to the eye health care system in Australia.

Filed in category: General news, Patient care & management, Scope of practice
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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Optometry Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.