Today I started my training to become an Independent Prescribing (IP) optometrist. It’s something I have wanted to do for a long time but you know how it is; the time has never been right. I’ve finally decided that I need to stop making excuses and get on with it. The practice I work in is a centre of excellence for digital imaging, dry eye services, specialist contact lenses (including eyeprint pro sclerals), and myopia management. One of my colleagues already has his IP qualification and he was instrumental in nudging me towards doing it myself.
I’m registered to train with Aston University. Registration was easy aside from the fact that following a house move my degree certificate had gone missing! Fortunately admissions accepted my professional certificate instead. The Aston course involves two four-month long modules: OP4OPT1 Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and OP4OPT2 Prescribing for Disorders of the Eye. Both of these modules feature online learning material and lectures, each followed by a multiple choice question (MCQ) examination. After OPT1 I also have to submit 2 case records, a critique, and an essay. After OPT2 I have to submit three case records and sit a VIMOC (Visual Identification and Management of Ocular Conditions) type exam. If all goes well and I pass all this I can then complete my clinical placement and sit a final exam.
Clinical placements have to be secured before starting the course and agrred in writing prior to registration. I am fortunate that our practice has a good relationship with the local hospital and the consultant Tristan McMullen was kind enough to volunteer to be my mentor. But that’s some way off yet.