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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : February 2005
eye care Eyes on the prize Combining professional and retail management expertise in the eye care market delivers healthcare results for the customer and dividends to the pharmacy.MEGAN PEARD reports YE care, comprising the artificial tears and contact lens care cate- gories, is often an overlooked segment in pharmacy, despite its size and the oppor- tunities it offers. E Done well, eye care is an area where the marriage of professional expertise and retail management expertise can deliver results in health care, as well as provide sig- nificant profits for the business. And part- nerships with optometrists and eye care suppliers and manufacturers can go a long way towards a healthy eye care section. ‘Optometry and pharmacy are both primary care professionals and, along with general medical practice, form the three tiers of primary care under Medicare,’ said Ben Harris, executive director of the Optometrists’ Association of Australia, Victorian Division. ‘Importantly, both professions want to provide high-quality, comprehensive patient care. ‘Pharmacists are the most respected profession in the community, and are constantly asked about all kinds of health- care issues. Patients expect their pharma- cist to be the font of all knowledge. ‘So it’s important that pharmacists have a decent understanding of eye care issues, where local optometrists are, and how easy it is to get an appointment.’ Mr Harris told the AJP that most optometrists who had good relationships 102 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.86 FEBRUARY 2005 with their local pharmacists would always make time to see a patient referred for conditions such as conjunctivitis or a red eye. ‘Optometrists need to be available to back up their local community phar- macy—for example, being available by phone, or willing to swap appointments around to see patients referred by their local pharmacist,’ he said. ‘The keys are information and avail- ability. Pharmacy is generally available when optometrists are open, so it’s up to optometrists to let their local pharmacy know when they are open, and how to contact them after hours. ‘The core issue is good patient care,