Glaucoma Higher Certificate course is announced

Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology encourage optometrists to take up training for greater clinical role

Moorfields Eye Hospital entrance

Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology have announced that their next course for the Glaucoma Higher Certificate will begin in March 2017.

The course prepares optometrists to independently participate in community or hospital-based schemes involving the diagnosis of ocular hypertension and the preliminary diagnosis of chronic open-angle glaucoma.

The course can be taken on its own, or as part of a UCL postgraduate qualification up to a Masters degree, which will include medical retina and contact lens qualifications.

The Glaucoma Higher Certificate programme further develops optometrists’ skills in detecting any change in clinical status in patients at risk of developing glaucoma and their decision-making process.

The course organisers highlight that, with the rapidly changing professional scene in optometry, the care of stable glaucoma patients is increasingly being delegated to optometrists.

The certificate qualification forms the necessary training recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to perform this role, they emphasise.

Incorporating blended learning, the majority of teaching for the course is carried out online.

“This enables practitioners to easily incorporate their study into their busy schedules,” Moorfields Eye Hospital’s course director, Jay Varia told OT.

Ms Varia added: “Teaching is supplemented by two face-to-face days, which include discussions on 'clinical pearls,' case scenarios and workshops. These are all run by leading ophthalmologists in the field.”

Since the successful partnership between Moorfields and UCL was formed last year, they have launched their advanced clinical optometry postgraduate courses, which are based on the College of Optometrists’ higher qualifications.

The first Glaucoma Higher Certificate course recently had its second intake, with good feedback from its inaugural cohort of students.

“A worthwhile endeavour, well-run with wonderful course facilitators and most importantly, interaction with like-minded and helpful peers,” said optometrist, Kin Mun Tam.

Optometrist, Nathanael Anguige, said: “The combination of online learning and the consultant-led, face-to-face days that we attended was very effective in developing our understanding of a complex multi-factorial condition, and gave us access to a wealth of current knowledge and thinking.”

Mr Anguige added: “The opportunity for debate and discussion was encouraged during the face-to-face days, which helped to reinforce our learning.

“The quality of teaching provided was excellent, and access to the online forums throughout the duration of the course meant that other course members were always available to talk to and discuss thoughts and questions with.”

The next course offers 45 CET points, including peer review and specialist independent prescriber points. The cost is £1200.

For more information, visit the Moorfields Eye Hospital website.