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.)
– 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.
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.