08 Dec 2014
The Optometry Board of Australia has today published revised Guidelines for use of scheduled medicines which take effect immediately.
The amended sections refer to treatment of patients with chronic glaucoma; accordingly the amendments apply to optometrists with an endorsement for scheduled medicines.
Under the revised guidelines, optometrists can assess patients for glaucoma, make an initial diagnosis and start treatment when that is in the patient’s best interests.
Optometrists must provide a referral to an ophthalmologist about glaucoma treatment within four months of initiating treatment or earlier if indicated by a change in the patient’s condition.
As the four month referral is the only significant change to the guidelines, patients currently being treated independently by an optometrist for chronic glaucoma should be referred in accordance with this change at the next scheduled review, or prior, if the next scheduled review is later than 8 April 2015.
Modifying the guidelines is part of a solution to the long-standing legal matter between the Board, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO).
The revised guidelines enhance the early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma in the best interest of the public and clarify the timelines for information exchange between treating optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Optometrists with a registration endorsement for scheduled medicines are required to comply with the new guidelines and failure to do so may constitute evidence of unprofessional conduct (section 41 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law)).
The revised guidelines are published on the Policies, codes and guidelines page. Also published is a document that shows how the March 2013 guidelines have been modified.