On Monday 25th October 2021, graduate optometrist Alexandra Coffey from the Specsavers Norwood store in South Australia was recognised as the Year 2 Project Award Winner.

Out of a cohort of 113 graduates, Alex’s project titled Improving the Delivery of Diabetic Eye Care in Practice was selected as one of the top 5 project finalists and later awarded the ‘overall project winner’ from her cohort. Alex’s project focused on indigenous diabetic eyecare in South Australia.

Alex’s project highlighted the ability to deliver eye care to indigenous Australians at Specsavers to improve health outcomes for diabetic patients through screening and promotion of the store’s services. The objective is to enhance the relationship with local GP’s and the Aboriginal Health Service. Also, to improve clinic processes and eye-care education to diabetic patients.

Alex took it on herself to run one-on-one, and small group meetings with dispensing and admin staff, distributed information sheets and commenced data collection with regular check-ins with key stakeholders.

The project raises awareness of diabetic eye health, the eyecare services offered at Specsavers, education of what optometrists look for with diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, and the risk factors for these conditions. It also asks diabetic patients if they are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander due to this population being at a higher risk of developing diabetic eye disease.

Alex developed a diabetic flowchart to promote diabetic eyecare within her optometry team, keeping the topic front of mind for everyone. The overall findings of Alex’s project reported an increase in diabetic patients seen, referrals, diabetic eye reports, inbound referrals from GPs and growth in KeepSight registrations.

Congratulations to Alex for her hard work and successful outcomes on such an inspirational project on a very important topic.

About the Graduate Year 2 Project:

The 2021 Year 2 Project Award was awarded to the graduate that best demonstrated growth in the areas of leadership capabilities, clinical excellence, or professional ambassadorship. Graduates are supported by the Specsavers Graduate Team and the Specsavers Optometry Team as they work towards implementing positive changes in the stores and communities.  The graduates are judged on their project management and presentation, each making up half of their overall score. The presentations are assessed on the Graduate Capability Framework, comprised of Specsavers values and leadership capabilities.

The top five graduates present their projects live via a ‘Finalist Awards Night’ zoom webinar to the remainder of the cohort and support office representatives. The graduates, partners and support office attendees vote for the overall project winner.