Ocular therapeutics course for the path to IP status

Glasgow Caledonian University is highlighting the flexibility of its training for full-time optometrists

OCT scan

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is offering a post-graduate ocular therapeutics course for optometrists that provides the theoretical training towards Independent Prescribing (IP) status in a flexible format.

Optometrists from all over the UK can enrol on the course. Following successful completion, as well as a clinical placement, they can enter the General Optical Council’s therapeutic specialty register.

GCU’s Dr Gunter Loffler, said: “Once an independent prescriber, optometrists can prescribe medicines for ocular conditions within their area of competence.

“With prescription pads already available in some parts of the UK, IP qualification provides fast and efficient access to treatment that is highly rated by patients,” he added.

GCU’s course has adopted a modular structure providing full-time optometrists with the flexibility to complete the programme within their own timescale. It consists of three GOC-accredited, part-time modules, each around 3.5 months long.

Each module starts with a two-day course at the university. It features lectures on topic such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, uveitis , scleritis, keratitis, dry eye and glaucoma. It also features practical workshops, for example on gonioscopy, ocular first aid and optic disc assessment.

The two-day course is followed by a distance-learning element composed of online lectures, discussion forums and custom-written therapeutic articles.

Dr Loffler emphasised: “GCU’s course is highly rated by its students (over 95% satisfaction) and it is the most successful course in the UK, with over 700 optometrists enrolled, over 350 completed and more than 200 already IP qualified.

“Our students are from across the UK and include optometrists who work in hospital, academia and, the majority, who work in the community.”

Former GCU students praised the course. Bedfordshire community optometrist, Shreena Shah, said: “The IP course at GCU is a revolutionary distance learning programme. I now feel a lot more confident diagnosing red eye conditions and glaucoma, as well as managing patients with dry eyes and ocular allergies.”

She added: “I can help patients faster in practice, instead of referring them to the Hospital Eye Service. This course is excellent value for money. I would not think twice about recommending it to a fellow optometrist, even if you don't live in Glasgow.”

Lanarkshire independent prescriber, Dr Scott Mackie, said: “The IP course at GCU has fundamentally changed the way I practice by allowing me to monitor, treat and refer eye conditions that previously I would not have the skills or medication to manage.”

The fees for each course module are £650. Funding from NHS Education Scotland is available for GOS-contracted optometrists practising in Scotland. The next intake starts on 25 March 2017.

For more information, contact Lesley Napier on 0141 273 1384 or visit the Glasgow Caledonian University website.