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    Evaluation of MDFA’s education courses for health professionals

    MDFA has been providing health professionals with tailored CPD on different aspects of macular disease to upskill and enhance practice.

    Evaluation of participant responses have been undertaken through an external consulting company, K2 Strategies. Pre- and post-evaluation surveys form part of the education courses and highlight key gaps in health professional knowledge and intended changes to future practice.

    Below is a snapshot of the most important results from the evaluation:

    • 97% of the 425 optometrists who completed the post-course survey said they had learnt new information that would help them better manage patients at risk of AMD, or AMD progression.
    • Optometrists who have completed the course to date are likely to see more than 439,000 patients per year who may have a risk or evidence of AMD or Diabetic Eye Disease.
    • 100% of pharmacists learnt new information that will help them better manage patients at risk of diabetic eye disease or disease progression.

    Overwhelmingly, the evaluation results showed gaps for Optometrists in areas such as referral practices for patients who smoke, knowledge about AREDS2 supplementation and referral urgency for those with macular changes. Completion of the AMD course highlighted the intent of many responding optometrists to change their practices in future, to better align with the recommendations in the online course.

    Some of responses include:

    “I learnt more information about the role of nutrition supplements in AMD and when they may be useful to patients (and when not). I learnt more information about intravitreal injections, which will help me to have more meaningful conversation with patients about their importance and role.”

     “Early detection of AMD will help optimise the patient’s outcome. Pharmacists are perfectly placed to provide pharmacological and non-pharmacological advice regarding smoking cessation, dietary modification, and supplements to help reduce risk factors for AMD.”

    “Just how prevalent it is, and we need to be more vigilant in bringing this up in our over 50 age group. We need to be proactive and ensure people are getting regular eye examinations especially when optometrists are so easily accessible.”

    Gaps identified for pharmacists centred around the role smoking cessation in risk reduction for AMD, AREDS2 supplementation knowledge for specific AMD groups and referral practices for patients with sudden central vision changes. Completion of the training course highlighted the intent of several responding pharmacists to change their practices in future to address these areas.

    MDFA is developing two new government funded courses for release in mid-2023. They are Inherited retinal diseases for Optometrists and Orthoptists, and Diabetic eye disease for Diabetes Educators.

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