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‘Test Experts’ for our Ashes team

Optometry’s professional governing body (AHPRA) prevents us from claiming to be more expert than another optometrist, however it seems from Specsavers’ recent television advertising that it is OK to infer expertise by using a play on words, such is the case with the current Ashes Test cricket series where their undoubtedly clever ads describe Specsavers as the ‘Test Experts’.

In response to a recently published blog, though, we can’t fail to realise the potential for them to have used their ‘Test expertise’ against the home side, as Specsavers is after a fully owned English company!

The blog in question describes how Aussie batsman Shaun Marsh was fitted with soft contact lenses as part of Specsavers sponsorship deal, with Shaun describing how this had improved his vision. This seemed to work well in Adelaide, where Shaun hit over a century. But when it came to his recent performance in Perth, he only scored 28, while brother Mitchell scored 181, which by our calculations is a whopping 646% difference. Surely genetic similarity should ensure a closer result, so maybe it was the wind at Perth that led to his contact lenses drying out and blurring his vision?

Now we don’t have access to Shaun’s optical records, but the description in the blog would suggest he suffers a mild degree of short sightedness, and while contact lenses are a great solution, we wonder instead whether he would do better with orthokeratology (OK) lenses, which are worn overnight so that vision is corrected during all waking hours. The huge advantage of OK is that no lenses are needed during the day for clear vision, so there’s no potential for irritation or lens displacement while at the crease.

We are a 100% Australian owned and operated practice, and although across the other side of the country in beautiful Brisbane (unlike the official eyecare sponsor – who are they ‘Root’-ing for?), it is in our fellow countrymen’s interest to provide the best solution to our team. So Shaun – we call out, on behalf of all Aussies, and to help you keep up with your brother, come in and see us or any other independent, Aussie-owned optometrist ‘Test Experts’ while England are in town to check out your suitability for OK contact lenses!

By | 2018-06-28T07:03:00+00:00 18th December 2017|Contact Lenses, In the news, Just for fun|2 Comments

Macular Degeneration Awareness week 2017

Macular Degeneration Awareness week is here. To raise awareness we invite you, your family, your friends – anyone over 50 – to come in and spend 10 minutes with one of our Optometric Assistants (who are mostly QUT optometry students) for a free macular health screening and discussion using our cutting edge technology. We’ll be offering this service until the end of May – please call us on 3210 1822 to set a time with us. (Note this is not a full eye exam – we recommend a comprehensive eye exam at least every 2 years.)

The Facts:
– An eye exam can save your sight
– 1 in 7 Australians over 50 have some evidence of MD
– You have a 50% chance with a direct family history
– You can have the early signs without knowing
– Diet and lifestyle changes support good macular health.

Book in a short screening today, or a full eye exam with one of our optometrists to understand the whole picture of your risks for MD.

A gold coin donation for the Macular Degeneration Foundation will be appreciated.

By | 2017-05-25T14:10:52+00:00 25th May 2017|In the news, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Changes to Medicare for optometrist consultations

The 2014 federal government budget announced wide sweeping changes across Medicare, and although it went largely unreported in the news, optometry has also been affected. As 2015 began, three major changes to Medicare funding for optometry services have occurred.

Firstly the Medicare scheduled fee and rebate for optometry services have both been cut by 5%. Since the late 1990’s, the scheduled fee has increased at a rate below CPI, or since 2012, not at all.  Now it has been cut and will be frozen again until mid 2018. These changes see the government rebate fall further behind the true cost of providing quality eye care.

Secondly, there have been changes to eligibility of patients for a full comprehensive eye examination rebate. Prior to 1st January 2015, if you were without symptoms, Medicare patients were eligible to receive the full rebate for a comprehensive eye examination once every two years. From 1st January 2015 patients aged 65 years and over are now eligible for the full rebate for a comprehensive eye examination every year, but patients under 65 years are now only eligible for the same every three years. This is a positive change for older Australians, but for those under 65, this is not a positive move in ensuring the nation’s eye health and it is unfortunately not evidence based.

It’s important to note that if you are symptomatic, you should present to your optometrist at any time as the full rebate may apply in your instance, even if it falls within the one- or three-year interval.

Finally, prior to 1st January 2015 the Medicare fee schedule for optometrists was capped. This means that unlike most other healthcare providers, optometrists were unable to charge for their professional services beyond the scheduled fee.  Any fees billed above the scheduled fee became ineligible for patients to claim a Medicare rebate.

Optometry was the only health profession to be subject to government set capping, in place since the profession became included in Medicare in 1975. Now optometrists may set their own fees for clinical services under Medicare. This means that, in line with other healthcare providers, optometrists can charge above the Medicare scheduled fee without impacting the patient’s ability to claim the Medicare rebate.

What does this mean for you, as a patient of Gerry & Johnson Optometrists?

  1. Our professional consultation fees at GJO will now be standardised, instead of varying up and down dependent on the Medicare rebate as they have previously. Click here for information on our professional fees schedule, which we have adopted in line with the recommendations of Optometry Australia.
  2. We will still use the Easyclaim system we have been using since early 2009, where we claim your Medicare rebate for you on the spot and it is paid back onto your cheque or savings card. Your Medicare rebate will unfortunately reduce, however people over 65 may see an increase in their overall rebate amount over the course of their clinical care.
  3. We are no longer able to bulk bill concession card holders and patients over 65 as we have previously, but have introduced a discount on optical products to assist with balancing costs.
  4. We are now able to include use of our cutting edge diagnostic technology in all consultations without additional charge, or at a reduced fee. This will be explained to you where relevant to your clinical care.

Our focus still remains entirely on providing you with the pinnacle of professional care for your vision and your eye health.

By | 2018-06-28T07:03:02+00:00 30th January 2015|Eyesight and Health, In the news|0 Comments

Sharkie working the good life in Shop Small month

The Urban Dictionary defines a Sharkie as “a predatory creature that feeds upon nylon!” from the first fashion run that was put on the Black Milk Clothing website. Now you may wonder why I would proudly call myself a Sharkie? It’s only clothing right? Everyone wears clothes- it’s nothing special. But I’m arguing that being a Sharkie is special; because not only do I get to wear nylon and super bright prints, but I am supporting 100% Australian made and owned products. They are also a Brisbane based online store that trumps (I’m going to say ALL) department store customer service, and doesn’t stomp all over the little guys in the process.

Here comes the segue… my first job was in a locally owned and operated optometry practice in Mackay, I then moved to Scotland where I worked in one of the biggest chained pubs in the UK. OK, a complete career change but the environmental change was even greater – and I am not referring to the difference in climate between these two great countries. I had gone from being able to speak with my boss/practice owner on a daily basis, to being so far down the ladder of communication that I had NO idea who actually ran the company or why we had certain procedures in place!

Returning to Australia I knew that I never wanted to work for a big company again and instead wanted to work for someone who knew me personally, where I wasn’t just a number on the payroll, and was instead made to feel like I actually made a difference to the business. In short to be able to replicate the same customer service experience that I had grown to love from my Sharkie habit supporting Black Milk friends. Hmmm that nylony goodness that’s like wearing stretchy butter overlayed with galaxy print….

There is something about walking in to a small business as a customer. The staff are a little more laid back and friendly, taking the time to get to know you and your needs, which the majority of larger companies will pay lip service to do, but instead with a goal to make the sale rather than build rapport with their customers. This positive staff attitude is the reason I keep shopping with Black Milk Clothing- they have millions of followers worldwide but still take the time to reply to each individual on social media sites- they will even draw a picture on my delivery slip when I ask for one! It’s also the reason I keep going to the tiny family owned coffee shop down the road from my house, who take the time to make my visit an experience rather than treating me like another order to bump off the board when my order is ready.

I am now working for another locally owned and operated business, Gerry & Johnson Optometrists, who have a strong and growing patient base. It didn’t take long for me to see why. Our optometrists genuinely care about solving our patients’ vision problems while striving to educate them on all aspects of their eye health with the aim to secure them best quality vision throughout their lives. These guys truly get as excited about eyes as I do about my next Black Milk purchase! Out front we have the flexibility to make our own decisions about what stock and sundries come into the practice. By doing this we can also consciously make the choice to support other small businesses and keep the cycle going.

GJO staff wearing Blck Milk Eyeball tights in support of World Sight Day Challenge 2014As for the good life? All my dreams were reached when I was allowed to indoctrinate all of the staff as Sharkies in support of Optometry Giving Sight’s World Sight Day Challenge, where we all got to wear the Black Milk ‘Eye see you’ legs for the day. Not only was this a great deal of fun for us and customers alike, but through donating the exam fees for the day we got to raise over $500 for Optometry Giving Sight in the process. Don’t you think there is an argument to be made from the blog post picture above that this Sharkie uniform should remain?

Another great cause that we are currently promoting at Gerry & Johnson is Think Big Shop Small, a movement born in America but now in its second year in Australia to promote small business. I can tell you from my experience working in this industry that small retail is under colossal pressure from big chains and is hurting. Without these small family owned business our world would be a less customer friendly place.

So to keep these wonderful small business’ going, I ask that you join me in making a special effort to shop in locally owned small business during this Shop Small month, not only in November, but all year round. Not only would this make a huge impact on the shop owners’ livelihood, but in turn you will be contributing to your local community. As for being a Sharkie – I dare you to join me –!

By | 2018-06-28T07:03:02+00:00 10th November 2014|In the news|0 Comments

Music Made Visible

Have you heard of the cymascope? It is an instrument that makes music visible, creating detailed 3D impressions of sound vibrations. Music is represented not as waves, as is commonly believed, but as beautiful holographic bubbles, with shimmering kaleidoscopic patterns on their surface.

See the rapidly expanding musical sphere captured in a frozen moment above. The interior reveals a beautiful and complex structure representing the rich harmonic nature of violin music.

The cymascope uses a high definition camera to monitor the effect of an individual sound’s particular vibrations on purified water. Due to the high surface tension of the water, the harmonics of a particular sound create a unique imprint and just like snowflakes no two sounds are alike.

New Zealand artist Shannon Novak commissioned pictures to be made of the notes of a chromatic scale on the piano and these will be blown up in size for a series of 12 musical canvasses. He said: ‘I have always been fascinated with the translation of that which is invisible, into something visible that individuals can relate to, in particular, the representation of sound through colour and geometric form.

Further information on the cymascopec can be found in this Daily Mail story.


By | 2015-08-21T05:16:09+00:00 21st August 2013|In the news|0 Comments

Obama Recognises the Value of the Eyes

President Barack Obama has bestowed the highest honour on an American Ophthalmologist. Professor Gholam Peyman, received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, during a ceremony at the White House on Friday the 1st of February.

Prof. Peyman is a professor of Optical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix and a long-standing member of the America Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. He was among 12 researchers to receive the honour.


By | 2018-06-28T07:03:02+00:00 3rd May 2013|In the news|0 Comments

Google Glass Coming Soon!

They are known as wearable computers and are yet to hit the streets, but already they are creating controversy.

Google Glass is supposed to perform many of the same tasks as smartphones, except the spectacles respond to voice commands instead of fingers touching a display screen. The glasses are equipped with a hidden camera and tiny display screen attached to a rim above the right eye.
Google touts the technology as a way to keep people connected to their email, online social networks and other information without having to gaze at a smartphone.

At this stage, anyone who wears prescription glasses will need to consider contact lenses in order to use this product (so get in now if you are keen!) – Although Google says they are taking steps to address this issue.

The equipment’s ability to record surreptitiously has prompted South Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi to say it could ”mean the end of privacy as we know it”. Prime Minister Julia Gillard was more positive when she test-drove a Glass late last month, describing it as ”an amazing display of innovation … all this information right before your eyes responding to voice commands”.

Already, a range of Glass apps have been announced or demonstrated, including those for Facebook, Path, The New York Times, Gmail, JetBlue and Skitch. Google says the technology can tell you the weather forecast, provide directions, send messages and translate. Researchers at Duke University have developed an app called Insight that can identify people by ”visual fingerprints” such as their clothes, body shape and motion patterns.

”At this early stage the full implications of this technology, such as how people will use it, and for what purposes, are unclear,” Mr Pilgrim said.
The commissioner’s spokeswoman said while the Privacy Act did not cover individuals, it was possible the technology could be used to breach state surveillance laws.

Some critics fear Glass will infringe cultural norms and protocols around when it is permissible to record images in both public and private. For users, they may end up being overloaded with notifications and ads that, being right in front of their eyes, are difficult to ignore.

Several amusing parody videos showing supposed real-world uses of Glass have gone viral, such as getting drunk (and arrested) on St Patrick’s day or a man on a first date who researches his companion and even watches sport while still sitting opposite her.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard tests out Google Glass

Prime Minister Julia Gillard tests out Google Glass

Australian inventor Mark Pesce said Glass raised questions such as whether it was safe to drive while wearing the device. “There are also questions relating to whether it is a good idea to have a fixed-focus device pointed into one eye – it can cause continuing eyestrain,” he said.

For Google not even having to take your phone out of your pocket to interact with its services gets one step closer to fulfil its co-founder (Sergey Brin’s) ultimate wish: to make Google “the third half of your brain”.


By | 2018-06-28T07:03:03+00:00 27th March 2013|In the news|0 Comments