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Devonport optometrist Steven Davis at Agfest

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Tasmanian optometrists conducted about 600 vision screenings, slightly more than last year, at the state’s largest agricultural event, Agfest, on 1-3 May.

Optometry Tasmania CEO Geoff Squibb said 13 optometrists volunteered, plus two business partners and two practice staff, in a marquee set up to offer free vision screenings to the thousands of people attending Agfest.

Optometry Tasmania’s ongoing involvement, previously as OAA Tasmania Division, at Agfest continues to benefit the community.

Tasmanian optometrist Andrew Hogan said he had examined a patient on 6 May, three days after Agfest, who had been referred based on the result of a retinal scan taken during a screening at the festival.

‘The patient is a glaucoma suspect. It was a good pick-up, as the patient was in their 60s and had never had a proper eye examination,’ Mr Hogan said.

Robert Gourlay, director of idMed, one of the business partners who took part, said he appreciated being part of Optometry Tasmania’s vision screening team at Agfest.

IdMed’s primary area of focus is the early detection of diabetes. It has developed the ClearPath DS-120, an instrument for measuring autofluorescence in the lens of the eye. The device provides a means of identifying the relative level of glucose control a person has experienced over their lifetime.

Mr Gourlay said idMed scanned 257 patients with the ClearPath and identified 15 people who needed to follow up their diabetes risk with their GP.  ‘Based on the clinical studies, about two-thirds of these will receive a diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes,’ Mr Gourlay said.

He was working on developing a more comprehensive analysis of the data.

Andrew McKinnon, CEO of Optometry NSW/ACT, and Trinity Scarf, marketing campaigns manager for Optometry Australia, also joined the team in Tasmania.

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