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A position statement on preventive eye health examinations for adults is being drafted by Optometry Australia.

Development of Provision of an adult primary eye health and vision examination is being led by Optometry Australia’s clinical policy adviser, optometrist Simon Hanna, in consultation with a team of clinical leaders.

The statement will clearly articulate the expected components for an initial standard adult eye examination.

Mr Hanna said components detailed would provide a framework for optometrists performing these examinations to support prevention and detection of early stage disease, treatment and management of eye conditions.

‘It is not about us providing a list of must do’s but rather, providing something that optometrists can look at and ask: “Am I doing most of these or should I add something?” he said.

‘With the new direction Optometry Australia is taking, this is a good opportunity for us to be clear about what we believe is the standard of care and management expected in a preventive eye health examination.

‘Not every eye examination has to contain all of these elements, and the list won’t be all inclusive as additional tests, investigations or procedures may be required in individual circumstances. Good care is always responsive to the patient sitting before you,’ Mr Hanna said.

The statement will help to clearly articulate to decision-makers the role optometry can and does play in prevention and early detection.

It will reinforce that preventive eye health examinations provide economic benefits to the community and help preserve vision, and that optometrists are well-placed to provide regular preventive eye health examinations to enhance early detection of eye disease, prevent avoidable vision loss and blindness, and provide acute and chronic disease management.

The draft is intending to stress that primary eye health examinations must address and respond to the particular patient presentation, and outline key elements that should be addressed as part of an initial adult eye examination to maximise preventive health benefits and support good vision.

These are likely to include a thorough patient history, visual acuity and screening tests, refractive error measurements, assessment of ocular health status and of binocular vision status, confrontational fields and pupillary reactions, and establishment of an appropriate management plan.

Supplemental testing is also likely to be outlined, and diabetes, glaucoma and neurological conditions will be covered.

In pipeline

Position statements outlining Optometry Australia’s policies on three other topics are in development.

Statements on Bulk-billing, Remuneration and Workforce are revisions of existing statements that are to be presented to the National Board at its next meeting scheduled for 19 September.

Although the three statements are revisions or amalgamations of previous statements on similar points, the position taken and content are different.

The statement on Preventive eye health examinations is undergoing broader consultation before proceeding to board level.

The position statements will be published following approval from the National Board.

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