The Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and the University of Melbourne have teamed up to create an online clinical training course to bring eye care professionals up to date with the latest research on age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The course, AMD for Primary Eyecare Practitioners, was developed by the University’s Mobile Learning Unit in partnership with Professor Robyn Guymer, Melbourne University and CERA’s deputy director, and optometrist Dr Lauren Ayton, head of the University’s Vision Optimisation Group.
“The course aims to give optometrists the latest clinically relevant research findings to support their management of patients with AMD,” said Prof Guymer, who is ranked no three in the world for leading macular research. “There have been significant advances in the diagnosis and management of AMD in recent years, along with major advances in the tools available to image the retina. The course will upskill practitioners, bringing them the latest research, but in a context of how it will influence and change day-to-day interactions with patients, improving patient care,’’ she said.
The new course includes detailed instruction on how to classify AMD, interpret ocular images and identify biomarkers of the disease severity using all the imaging tools available, including optical coherence tomography, near-infrared imaging and autofluorescence. It also provides information on risk factors for AMD that will help inform eye care practitioners on patient prognosis, potential interventions for intermediate AMD and the newest pharmaceutical, gene and cell therapies for late-stage disease.
As well as optometrists, the course is suitable for general practitioners with an interest in eye care, orthoptists, ophthalmic nurses and ophthalmology trainees, said Prof Guymer.