A study by Deakin University and Coopervision has revealed that between 2011 and 2019, the number of registered optometrists in Australia increased by 30.1%, outstripping the country’s 12.1% population growth.
Published in Clinical and Experimental Optometry, with data sourced from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, the study revealed 1,680 optometrists entered the profession between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2018. Statistically, a typical new optometry professional is female in her mid to late twenties and is qualified for therapeutic practice, researchers noted. Australian‐trained optometrists also tend to start practice in the state where they trained, primarily in larger cities.
Researchers also expressed surprise at the strong flow of New Zealand graduates to their shores, with 180 commencing practice in Australia, compared with just 64 Australia‐registered optometrists relying on the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement to register in New Zealand during the same eight‐year period.
“Concerns have been expressed about the size of the optometry workforce in a context of increasing numbers of graduating optometrists,” they told Optometry Australia, adding that if this trend continues, the size of the optometry workforce in Australia is likely to exceed demand for its services.