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RANZCO Board Vacancy

RANZCO Board Vacancy

Due to the resignations of A/Prof Nitin Verma and Dr Neil Murray, there are now two vacancies on the RANZCO Board. We are now calling for nominations from Fellows who may wish to join the RANZCO Board.

The nomination form is now available and will close midnight (Sydney local time) Monday 21 October. It must include a completed form, CV and a statement as to why you are nominating to join the RANZCO Board. You are given the option to nominate for either Director or Vice President (also a Director).

Please note that all nominees must then be available to present to the RANZCO Council at the Congress on Friday 8 November in Sydney (or via video conference) at 1pm.

Nomination Form

Notice of changes: SIMG assessment tools and processes

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) undertook a comprehensive review of its SIMG assessment tools and processes. The result of this review is the new Specialist International Medical Graduate (SIMG) Comparability and Area of Need (AoN) Suitability Assessment Policy and Procedures (Australia). The new policy will come into effect as of 15 November 2019

In summary the main changes to the assessment process are:

  • All applicants determined as Partially Comparable must undertake a Period of Supervised Practice. During this period of up to 24 months, the applicant will undertake upskilling with associated assessment under a supervisor(s) approved by RANZCO. In addition, applicants may be required to sit the RACE Clinical examination. The RACE Clinical examination must be attempted at the first available sitting after completion of the Period of Supervised Practice.
  • All applicants determined as Substantially Comparable with Further Requirements must undertake a Period of Oversight of up to 12 months.
  • The length of time permitted to lapse between the interim assessment decision and the start of practice for the period of supervised practice or oversight shall not be greater than 24 months.
  • An interim Assessment is not subject to any form of Reassessment pursuant to the RRAP
  • Unless there has been a material change in the Applicant’s training and experience since the date of original Not Comparable Assessment a re-application is only available after three (3) years.
What a lifetime of sun can do to your eyes

What a lifetime of sun can do to your eyes

Sun safety is a hot topic over summer, but did you know that it is important to protect your eyes all year round? Ultraviolet (UV) light is present whenever we step outside during the day and while it is important for children to have a small level of exposure to sunlight to help prevent myopia, a lifetime of sun can have very risky consequences for your eye health and vision. A common result of UV exposure is a growth on the eye that is often referred to as Surfer’s Eye (pterygium). While usually benign, Surfer’s Eye has the potential to interfere with vision and can grow into something more harmful. UV exposure can also cause cancer of the eye and cancer on the delicate skin around the eye (including on the eyelid) which can result in irreparable eye damage, vision loss and, in extreme cases, death. There is also evidence that accumulative UV exposure can accelerate the progression of cataracts, making it difficult for patients to see through a cloudy lens that covers the pupil.

It is especially important to protect your eyes from sun damage when UV levels are high. Across Australia during the summer months there are long periods of the day when the UV level is three or above, presenting increased risk of UV damage. However, it is recommended that, if you spend a lot of time outdoors, you take care to protect your eyes all year round as cumulative exposure at lower UV levels can also result in serious eye damage.

The best way to protect your eyes from sun damage is to wear wrap around sunglasses, with the technology to cover peripheral vision, prevent UV radiation from passing through the lenses and reduce UV damage to the surface of the eye and eyelid.

It is also recommended that people spending long periods outdoors in the summer months invest in glasses labelled either “UV400” or “100 per cent UV protection”, classified by Australian standards as category 3 or 4. Many sunglasses have only only glare reduction and do not wrap around. While these may look more fashionable, many still let in dangerous UV light.

For more information about RANZCO’s position on UV Eye Protection, developed through a collaboration between Cancer Council Australia’s National Skin Cancer Committee and The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), please see here.

Case study: John
John, age 67, grew up in the Sutherland Shire and got a lot of sun growing up, especially at the beach. He didn’t wear sunscreen, hat or sunglasses. It was this lifetime of unprotected sun exposure that lead to the emergence of growths developing on both eyes. The growths were soon diagnosed as Surfer’s Eye (pterygium). To begin with they were only a cosmetic issue. Two years later, the growth on John’s left eye had grown substantially and had become a cause for concern. Ophthalmologist Dr Daya Sharma performed eye surgery on John to remove the suspicious growth, thought to be a tumour. John also needed to undergo cryotherapy (freezing therapy), and six months of postoperative chemotherapy eye drops. Pathology results confirmed that the growth was a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in situ, which is one small step away from being a dangerous and invasive cancer of the eye. Furthermore, due to a sun filled lifestyle, John now has a history of skin cancer on his face and was also required to have a sun related growth surgically removed from his eyelid. John has also undergone cataract surgery on both eyes. Cataracts are known to progress more quickly in people who, throughout their lifetime, have had a significant amount of UV exposure. John now knows the importance of protecting his eyes with UV-blocking wrap around sunglasses, but is keen to tell his story so that other people, especially young people, will protect their eyes properly and hopefully avoid experiencing the kind of problems he has.
“Many people with UV-related diseases of the eye grew up at a time when the importance of wearing wraparound UV-blocking sunglasses was not recognised. Now we are very aware of the fact that UV protection of the eyes from childhood onwards can reduce the risk of these diseases, and prevention is better than cure.” – Dr Daya Sharma

John's eye before surgery

John’s eye before surgery

John's eye after surgery

John’s eye after surgery

Case study: Patricia
Patricia, age 86 grew up in Northern Ireland and spent a lot of time outside playing sport including tennis and athletics, without sun protection. Patricia explained that, at that time, there was no discussion about sun safety other than wearing a hat to avoid sun burn. Patricia’s long-term exposure to UV light has resulted in several cancers appearing on and around her eyes. Patricia has needed to undergo surgery several times to remove the cancers and, more recently, a reconstruction procedure. In December 2018, Patricia needed radiation treatments to manage the recurring cancers resulting from her lifetime in the sun. Patricia is now very conscious about sun safety and wears wrap around sunglasses with full UV protection when she is exposed to UV light.

Dr Daya Sharma and each of the patients are available for an interview. 

For more information, contact Jen Miguel at jmiguel@ranzco.edu on 02 9690 1001.

 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists celebrates 50 years

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists celebrates 50 years

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) is pleased to launch the RANZCO 50th golden anniversary logo. This year, RANZCO is celebrating 50 years of the College; 50 years of driving improvements in eye healthcare in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

Throughout the year RANZCO will be sharing insights into the past 50 years of the College through special interviews and activities highlighting the achievements of RANZCO members. RANZCO will also be looking ahead to what the next 50 years will hold for the future of ophthalmology.

”RANZCO is very excited to celebrate the 50th year since ophthalmologists established an independent college to advance their craft. A lot has happened in 50 years. Many hundreds of thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand have had their sight improved or saved by the skills of ophthalmologists and the innovative procedures that have been introduced in the past 50 years. Although this is a year of celebration and looking back at what has been achieved, it is also a time to look to the future and how ophthalmology can continue to innovate and improve the lives of patients in Australia and New Zealand.” – A/Prof Heather Mack, RANZCO President

Connect with RANZCO on FacebookTwitterInstagram or LinkedIn to stay up to date with all the 50thyear celebrations.

For more information or to arrange a media interview contact Josie Faunce at jfaunce@ranzco.edu on 02 9690 1001.

RANZCO endorses the Concussion in Sport Australia Position Statement

RANZCO endorses the Concussion in Sport Australia Position Statement

RANZCO endorses the Concussion in Sport Australia Position Statement, which aims to improve safety and health outcomes for all Australians suffering from sports-related concussions. The Position Statement provides a suite of contemporary, evidence-based resources for the identification and appropriate management of concussive injuries resulting from sports or recreational activities.

To view the full Concussion in Sport Australia Position Statement, please see here.

For more information please contact communications@ranzco.edu

Congress 2018: RANZCO working with Dr Kristopher Rallah-Baker to foster a positive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees

Congress 2018: RANZCO working with Dr Kristopher Rallah-Baker to foster a positive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees

RANZCO and Dr Kristopher Rallah-Baker have held meetings at RANZCO Congress this week and issued the following joint statement:

“We had a very positive meeting and the College acknowledges and apologises unreservedly for any distress experienced by Dr Rallah-Baker and his family including in relation to our recent communications in the press. The RANZCO Board realises that its communication could and should have been better and more understanding of Dr Rallah-Baker’s experience. We confirm our desire to work together to ensure the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders doctors in the training program and to improve health outcomes in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“We will collaborate closely to ensure a positive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees and to improve cultural safety amongst College members. Dr Rallah-Baker is a member of the RANZCO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Committee and has accepted the role of vice-Chair of the RANZCO Reconciliation Action Plan committee. To demonstrate its commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and reconciliation and to set an example for the College, the RANZCO Board and CEO will undertake cultural safety training.

“We look forward to fostering positive relationships with other organisations involved with improving health outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of Australia.”

Ophthalmologists call on people to protect their eye this workplace safety month!

Ophthalmologists call on people to protect their eye this workplace safety month!

October is National Safe Work Month, an initiative led by Safe Work Australia to improve health and safety in the workplace. The theme for this year’s campaign is “A moment is all it takes” reminding all Australians that all it takes is a single moment for a workplace incident to occur and, equally, that a single moment is all it takes to prevent harm. As part of National Safe Work Month, RANZCO is encouraging everybody to get involved in workplace safety, particularly eye safety, to prevent eye injuries in the workplace.

Workplace accidents can result in devastating eye injuries which can place a huge, potentially preventable, burden on patients, their families and society more broadly. According to a 2014- 2015 report from Safe Work Australia, eye injuries in the workplace are very common, with over 840 people making a serious eye injury claim during the reporting period. Data from workers’ compensation claims has also found the most common diagnosis for eye-related injury and disease stemmed from a foreign body in the eye. Alarmingly, almost one-quarter of eye injuries that resulted in an ED presentation occurred while working for income.

Case study: Ross
Ross, who is a 56-year-old electrician and former Head of Safety for a mining company in Queensland, has suffered two penetrating eye injuries in his right eye. As a result of his injuries, Ross underwent more than five operations and has now developed secondary glaucoma in his right eye.

He currently lives on the South Coast of NSW with his family. He already had an existing penetrating keratoplasty to treat keratoconus in his right eye when he suffered his first injury. It occurred while he was repairing an oven in his work as an electrician. The oven door sprung back, struck his spectacles and shattered them. The glass fragments lacerated his right eye and many pieces became lodged inside the eye. He then underwent multiple operations for primary repair, removal of glass fragments, repeat penetrating keratoplasty and replacement then removal of the lens. Ross’s second injury occurred while he was in his tool shed. By then, there had been a deterioration in the visual clarity of his right eye and, consequently, loss of depth perception.

Ross is aware of the irony of once being a Head of Safety and then going on to suffer two severe eye injuries that could have been avoided with the appropriate precautions. He has some wise words for others: “In my case, I was already myopic so that affected my visual clarity and I must admit I have had the short end of the stick in terms of luck suffering two injuries in the one eye. However, in both situations wearing prescription safety glasses would have minimised the extent of damage my right eye suffered. Any one working in situations where there is any risk of eye injury needs to stay safe by wearing protective eye wear. The split second decision of putting on a pair of safety glasses could just save your eyesight!”

Case study: Bailey
In a case from 2017, a young man, Bailey, suffered a penetrating injury to his left eye while carrying out work as an apprentice roofer. Bailey’s injury occurred while he was attempting to attach a trailer to a car when the ratchet strap suddenly recoiled and the hook portion of the strap struck and pierced his left eye, producing both corneal laceration and scleral rupture. On presentation to the hospital, Bailey had unfortunately already lost all vision in his left eye. After a three-hour operation, there was still no visual recovery. Over the coming weeks, the eye deteriorated dramatically, shrinking in volume. As a result, Bailey elected to have an enucleation (eye ball removal) and has recently had an ocular prosthesis placed in his left eye. After the incident Bailey has had to readjust his aspirations for his working life, including altering his trade due to his injury.

“I never thought that a momentary lapse of judgement at work would result in me losing an eye. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to protect your eyes in the workplace, particularly in dangerous situations. I’m very careful now – I’ve only got one eye left and I’ll do everything I can to keep it safe!”

END
For more information or to arrange a media interview contact Emma Carr at ecarr@ranzco.edu or on 02 9690 1001.

RANZCO Glaucoma Referral Pathways to DHBs launched in New Zealand

RANZCO Glaucoma Referral Pathways to DHBs launched in New Zealand

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) is pleased to announce the launch of the Glaucoma Referral Pathways to District Health Boards (DHBs). The guidelines provide an evidence-based resource for optometrists, GPs and other health care professionals that outlines referral protocols for patients with, or suspected of having glaucoma. Glaucoma is one of the biggest causes of vision loss and blindness in New Zealand, but can be treated and managed, with vision loss reduced and halted, with early diagnosis and effective treatment and management.

The need for these guidelines was highlighted by the recent eye care waiting list backlog affecting DHBs across the country.

RANZCO Fellow Dr Shenton Chew led the development of the New Zealand specific guidelines through consultation with glaucoma sub-specialists. New Zealand based RANZCO Fellows and several eye healthcare groups also reviewed the drafts ensuring the guidelines were practical and effective. The end result is an invaluable clinical guideline, that will ensure appropriate referral into DHB eye departments for this common and increasingly prevalent eye condition. The glaucoma guidelines are a part of a series of eye care referral guidelines that RANZCO has developed, for the referral of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and AMD, across Australia and New Zealand.

The RANZCO Glaucoma Referral Pathways being launched today have been specifically developed for the New Zealand health system, to help to tackle problems such as the current backlog in follow-ups in DHBs. Following the successful launch of the RANZCO Referral Pathway for Glaucoma Management in Australia last year, RANZCO is making the RANZCO Glaucoma Referral Pathways to DHBs available to all optometrists and GPs across New Zealand.

“RANZCO is committed to working collaboratively with optometrists, GPs and other health care professionals to ensure the most effective and efficient patient care and to improve health outcomes for people across Australia and New Zealand,” explained RANZCO President Associate Professor Mark Daniell. “The Glaucoma Referral Pathways to DHBs have been developed with input from both ophthalmologists and optometrists and aims to provide a clear guide for referring patients to DHBs. The pathway is being made available to all optometrists and GPs and we are eager to keep receiving feedback from those who use the guidelines so that we can continue to build on and improve the referral pathways.”

“The guidelines are designed to help improve collaboration between ophthalmologists, eyecare professionals and DHBs to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. New Zealand has specific requirements that were considered in the creation of these guidelines, resulting in a clear pathway for GP and optometrists when they see patients who have potential glaucoma,” says Dr Brain Kent-Smith, New Zealand Branch Chair.

These referral guidelines do not favour, and are not dependent upon, any particular practice referral system or methodology. They simply provide a resource which lays out a suggested referral pathway to DHBs if certain signs and or symptoms are identified. The aim is to ensure patients receive the best care possible, in the most appropriate timeframe.

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Emma Carr or Josie Faunce at RANZCO on 02 9690 1001 and media@ranzco.edu

RANZCO elects Dr Heather Mack as first female President

RANZCO elects Dr Heather Mack as first female President

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) has elected Dr Heather Mack to be their new President. Dr Mack, who will be the College’s first female President, serves as President Elect until the RANZCO Congress in November, when she is appointed President and her predecessor, Associate Professor Mark Daniell, stands down.

Dr Mack is a senior consultant with a focus on visual electrophysiology and medical retinal disorders. She is a Senior Associate at Eye Surgery Associates in Melbourne.

Dr Mack has a particular interest in continuing professional development (CPD) and headed RANZCO’s CPD Committee from 2004 to 2011. As well as being the first women elected as RANZCO President, Dr Mack was the College’s first female Treasurer, serving in the role up until her election as President, and the first female head of the CPD Committee.

In addition to her clinical roles and her roles with RANZCO, Dr Mack is a member of Medical Panels for the Victorian State Government and a clinical researcher, holding the positions of Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Melbourne Department of Surgery (Ophthalmology), Honorary Research Associate at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Honorary Clinical Associate at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research at the University of Melbourne.

As RANZCO President, Dr Mack will see in RANZCO’s pivotal 50th year, celebrating diversity, achievement and leadership. During her two years as President, Dr Mack will focus on ensuring the College can meet the challenges and opportunities on the horizon while further developing RANZCO’s leadership role in the region. Sustainability, both in environmental terms and in terms of the future of ophthalmology, is an important theme that will run through Dr Mack’s term as President.

“Now more than ever, sustainability is something we need to embrace in healthcare, as well as more broadly,” explains Dr Mack. “Ensuring that future generations have access to the best possible eye health care means ensuring that trainees get the best possible education, that research is supported and properly funded and that government policy ensures access to the care that people need, when and where they need it. RANZCO has an essential role to play in delivering this vision and in leading with a collaborative approach to eye care that places patient outcomes at the centre of everything we do.”

Welcoming Dr Mack’s election, outgoing RANZCO President A/Prof Mark Daniell, who has served in the position for two years, said “Dr Mack is a dedicated supporter of the College and has brought a determination and professionalism to each of the many roles she has held, contributing greatly to the progress that the College has made over the years. Dr Mack strives for excellence in everything she does, and I am certain that she will achieve this yet again as RANZCO President.”

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Emma Carr or Josie Faunce at RANZCO on 02 9690 1001 and media@ranzco.edu

Community members helping shape the future of eye care

Community members helping shape the future of eye care

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) is committed to taking a collaborative approach to shaping the future of eye health. With this in mind, RANZCO is actively involving community members in the updated development of their robust ophthalmology training program.

Patients, health workers, educators and other experienced community members have been invited to represent the community’s voice on a newly formed panel which will be discussing areas of change for eye health. RANZCO is committed to providing the best quality education, training and continuing professional development for ophthalmologists. Involving the community in decisions about the future of eye health helps to ensure new ophthalmologists have well rounded and comprehensive education, ensuring that patients throughout Australia and New Zealand have access to the best possible eye care.

A community representative is a person who, through actively engaging with RANZCO, advocates for the community. By sharing their point of view, they ensure that decisions made reflect and enhance our focus on best patient outcomes, education and training, and collaboration and collegiality. The activities a community representative will carry out are varied and may include attending committees, working groups or other meetings, observing examinations or providing feedback. After each activity is completed, the community representatives will be required to provide a brief report.
Dr Catherine Green AO, RANZCO Dean of Education explained “It is critically important to listen and respond to the needs of our patients so that as educators we can always continue to provide the highest quality of eye care possible. Involving the community in this way helps to support RANZCO enhance our already proven training program so that it is even more relevant and responsive to the ever changing and complex ophthalmology environment.”

If you would like to find out more or are interested in getting involved, details are available on the RANZCO website or please feel free to get in contact with RANZCO at ranzco@ranzco.edu.

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Emma Carr or Josie Faunce at RANZCO on 02 9690 1001 and media@ranzco.edu

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