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Optometrists attend the training course for Civil Aviation Safety Authority Credentialed Optometrist Certification in February   Photo: Neil Murray

By Rhiannon Riches


Mooloolaba optometrist Wayne Derrick was prompted to become a Credentialed Optometrist by the prospect of the Sunshine Coast Airport expanding in the next five years.

Mr Derrick was one of 38 optometrists who attended the training course for Civil Aviation Safety Authority Credentialed Optometrist Certification at Sydney Airport on 14-15 February.

‘I’m in private practice, and becoming a Credentialed Optometrist is another service I can offer patients who are pilots. It adds another string to my bow,’ Mr Derrick said.

He said the airport expansion project could result in a greater number of pilots walking into his practice.

Mr Derrick owns Eyecare Plus Mooloolaba, located about 13 kilometres from the airport. He took over the practice in January 2014, where he is the sole optometrist, and is therapeutically endorsed.

Mr Derrick is a member of Optometry QLD/NT and said board member Jason Holland had recommended the course to him.

‘I was keeping an eye out for the course dates and I know it only runs once a year or so. The main thing I found with the course was that there were no strict guidelines to what CASA wanted. I thought there would be more conformity,’ Mr Derrick said.

The two-day course was awarded 21 CPD points. It covered eye and vision standards for various classes of pilot licences, the types and extent of the eye examination expected, and elements of eye health and vision in the aviation environment.

It looked at case studies, the optometrist’s role and responsibilities in assessing aviation vision, as well as ethical issues. Physiological issues pilots may face, such as hypoxia, fatigue and illusions were also covered.

Kate Darley, an optometrist at Brennan and Smith Optometrists in New South Wales, also attended the course.

Ms Darley is therapeutically endorsed and works across four practice locations including Armidale, Inverell, Tenterfield and Glen Innes. She had discussed the merits of the CASA Credentialed Optometrist course with her manager, optometrist Mark Smith.

‘He said it was a good course to do, especially as we’re in rural areas,’ Ms Darley said. ‘It was fantastic and well-organised. I found the information on optical illusions most interesting,’ she said.

Ms Darley is a member of Optometry NSW/ACT.

Eye See Eyes practice owner and optometrist Leesa Jagers from Orange also completed the course.

Ms Jagers said a GP in town who did aviation medical examinations sent patients to her for their eye examinations, and she wanted to be better informed. ‘That was the main reason I wanted to do the course, but also to expand my skills,’ Ms Jagers said.

She learned of the February course in Optometry Australia’s eNews.

‘I really enjoyed it, learning about pilots’ visual environments, what kind of spectacles I can and cannot prescribe for pilots, and hearing the first-hand perspective of presenters like Dr Philip Anderton, who is an optometrist and a pilot,’ she said.

Ms Jagers is a member of Optometry NSW/ACT.

There are currently 170 Credentialed Optometrists in Australia.

The date for the next CASA Credentialed Optometrist course has not been set.


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