By Rhiannon Riches
Optometry Australia has assisted with the development of an online course launched today by The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, to help pharmacists manage eye conditions with non-prescription medicines and improve referral pathways between the professions.
The course is a joint initiative of The Pharmacy Guild, Alcon Laboratories and Optometry Australia. The first module in the course details the expanded scope of practice optometrists are playing in primary eye health as half the profession is now therapeutically endorsed.
Eye-drops are the sixth largest medicinal category in pharmacy, according to the guild.
Optometry Australia’s national professional services manager Luke Arundel says the project is an important collaboration that will strengthen relationships between the two professions.
‘Pharmacists and optometrists play an important role in managing and treating common eye problems. Because many patients initially present to their local pharmacy, the community would benefit from accurate and timely treatment or effective referral and comanagement of these conditions,’ Mr Arundel said.
The course is part of the Guild Pharmacy Academy’s Pharmacy Health Solutions suite of online courses. It will describe the role of an optometrist in primary eye care, including appropriate points for patient referral and collaboration.
The course will also assist pharmacists to identify the symptoms of dry eye, infectious conjunctivitis and allergic conjunctivitis and highlights important triggers for referral.
Mr Arundel and national clinical policy adviser Simon Hanna assisted in development of the course content.
As some eye conditions such as dry eye and allergy eye can be chronic and may require ongoing management with medicines available in the pharmacy, the course will ensure that pharmacists are able to provide appropriate advice for management and referral to an optometrist if required.