NEW: OCT training for ABDO members

The next step in ABDO’s clinical services training programme for members will bring a focus on optical coherence tomography (OCT), enabling dispensing opticians (DOs) to expand their clinical skills alongside contact lens opticians (CLOs).

Attendees will learn how to interpret OCT scans

The Association has teamed up with optometrist and DO, Jason Higginbotham of FYEye Consultants, to deliver hands-on OCT workshops at the National Resource Centre (NRC) near Birmingham in November, supported by a pre-event webinar.

Initially, there are two events available to book at the NRC – on 24 or 25 November – and both events will be supported by a pre-event webinar at 7pm on 10 November.

ABDO clinical lead, Max Halford, explained the shift in focus: “The existing minor eye conditions and glaucoma extended services course, which we offer in association with the Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre [WOPEC], is aimed at accrediting CLOs to work within community enhanced services. However, I am very aware that we have a cohort of DOs who also wish to expand their clinical skills and, coupled with the increasing use of OCT in practice, it seemed a logical next step to offer the opportunity for high quality training around this area.

“OCT provides clinicians with far more detailed understanding of the health of the patient’s eyes than ever before, with the use of high-definition cross-sectional images of structures such as the retina, choroid and even cornea,” Max continued. “In many cases, clinicians are able to identify many serious eye conditions far sooner than they might otherwise be able to without an OCT. One such condition is glaucoma and there is a lot of evidence that OCT can detect very early glaucoma many years before other methods.

“I am delighted ABDO has given the go-ahead to team up with Jason Higginbotham of FYEye Consultants to deliver a number of hands-on OCT workshops supported by pre-event webinars. Participants will be able to utilise a range of OCT machines from different manufacturers and gain hands on-experience of image capture, have a refresher of retinal anatomy and start to learn what is the norm and abnormal of OCT images.

“FYEye will provide access to several different OCT devices and ABDO and FYEye would very much like to thank Topcon UK, Birmingham Optical Group [Nidek], BiB, Zeiss and Heidelberg Engineering for their support with these events,” Max added.

Power to bring change

Jason Higginbotham has more than 30 years’ experience in the ophthalmic sector, and is well known for his training and education services – particularly in OCT. He runs a consultancy business, FYEye, which provides a range of services to ophthalmologists, optometrists, DOs as well as to manufacturers and suppliers.

Jason commented: “OCT has the power to change primary eyecare for the better. However, there is an issue of too many false positive glaucoma referrals into the NHS. I firmly believe that education is a primary element in reducing this issue. DOs can help improve the whole process of introducing OCT to practices, to patients and in streamlining the process of scan capture and handover to optometrists, and discuss the concepts of OCT with patients and non-clinical staff.”

Jason began his career as a trainee DO, and says he fully understands the true value of the profession, including CLOs. He believes that providing DOs with training and education will help the profession to develop, increase its relevance, and enhance the services offered by optical practices.

Jason added: “I am delighted to be working with Max Halford on this project, and to have been given the opportunity by ABDO to provide in-depth OCT education for DOs and CLOs. The facilities at the NRC are second-to-none and we have provided events there previously on behalf of Birmingham Optical.

“Delegates will learn about the value of OCT, the basics of interpretation and how to capture the best scans possible on a range of patients. There will also be the chance to see a number of interesting cases on a range of popular OCTs,” Jason added.

Places are limited due to the small group sizes – so early booking is recommended. Up to nine CET points will be available, and the cost is £130 for both the webinar and clinical training day.

Book your place here.