Specsavers Highpoint in Victoria has taken a hands-on approach to professional development, opening its store up to local optometrists for an interactive CPD evening focussing on optic nerve head assessment.

The event took place in late April, with 18 people in attendance, comprising a mix of both Specsavers and non-Specsavers optometrists from the local area, including locum optometrists. The guest speaker for the evening was Dr Suheb Ahmed, a local ophthalmologist who operates out of private practices in Sunbury, Pakenham and Maryvale and who is also the Head of Ophthalmology at Northern Health.

The evening involved a presentation by Dr Ahmed about common optic nerve head conditions that optometrists may encounter in clinical practice, followed by an interactive discussion of case studies involving glaucoma assessment and management. The importance of OCT and visual fields analysis in glaucoma detection was highlighted during the discussion.

“We held the event because we wanted to encourage the eye health professionals in the local area to work together cohesively,” explained Specsavers Highpoint Optometry Partner Naim Bashir. “It provided a great opportunity for networking. We also wanted to provide a different, hands-on CPD environment. We’re starting to move away from lectures and slideshows and more towards interactive CPD, and we find that hands-on training is the most effective kind of training.”

Specsavers Highpoint Graduate Optometrist Maneesha Krishna said, “This is the second time we have worked with Dr Ahmed; we ran an event with him in July [2017] about foreign body removal. As a graduate optometrist, being involved in the organisation of both events as well as being an attendee has been a great opportunity.

“It was also good to be able to continue building our rapport with Dr Ahmed. Over the course of the CPD evening he was able to provide us with up-to-date information of what’s happening on the ophthalmology side of eye care, and updates on the latest products on the market, such as the iStent.”

The CPD evening was sponsored by Glaukos Corporation, a multinational ophthalmic medical technology company that launched the iStent MIGS (minimally invasive glaucoma surgery) device in Australia in 2016.

Naim said the evening was a success, with the event accredited for six therapeutic points. “We plan to hold more CPD workshops and events in future, possibly on a quarterly basis,” he stated.

An increasing number of Specsavers stores are hosting professional development evenings in their stores, promoting ophthalmic collaboration and furthering their clinical practices through shared knowledge.