On my way home to Fiji, I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the things I had learnt and the many exciting experiences I had had in that one short week at Vision 2020 Australia.
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With the imminent commencement of DisabililtyCare Australia on 1 July, it seems timely to take a moment to think about how far Australia has come since the concept of a lifetime of support for people with disabilities was introduced in 2010.
What a month May has been for global eye health! Not only have we had the new Global Action Plan adopted at the World Health Assembly but large steps have also been taken towards the development of the draft Regional Action Plan.
I was diagnosed with keratoconus when I was fifteen, but I had glasses from age eleven and, against my wishes, was forced to permanently sit at the front of the classroom at school. The new glasses never seemed to be effective for very long and those four years of relatively rapid vision loss was the start of countless visits to optometrists and opthalmologists. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the frequent change in glasses prescription was the first tell-tale sign of this degenerative corneal disease.
In the second interview of our Q&A series, Vision 2020 Australia talks to Dr. Penny Allen about the amazing Bionic Eye Project currently running in pilot phase. Dr. Allen is an ophthalmologist in the medical and vitreoretinal unit at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital (RVEEH); a medical retina and vitreoretinal surgeon on staff at The Alfred; and Program Leader, Surgical Program at Bionic Vision Australia. She is also an associate at the Centre for Eye Research Australia.
A colloquium on Indigenous Eye Health held at the 12th National Rural Health Conference Adelaide, 7-10 of April, showcased the significance of the coordination of eye health services in Aboriginal Community Controlled Services (AMSs). In rural and remote parts of Australia, Regional Eye Health Coordinators have a pivotal role in delivering eye care services to Aboriginal communities. Despite their function, training has never been nationally endorsed for eye health workers.
Last week Vision 2020 Australia held its first Parliamentary Friends Group for Eye Health and Vision Care breakfast of the year. With a focus on global aid, it was fantastic to see such support from our members and government with a strong turnout of over 95 attendees.
In the first of a number of interviews with influential members of the eye health and vision care community, Vision 2020 Australia talks to Professor Hugh Taylor AC about closing the gap for vision in Indigenous Australia. A Melbourne Laureate Professor, Hugh Taylor also holds the Harold Mitchell Chair of Indigenous Eye Health and is the lead of the Indigenous Eye Health Unit at the University of Melbourne. Read on as Professor Taylor opens up about his current research on trachoma, the importance of national coordination in the area of Indigenous eye health policy, the Melbourne Football Club, and his love of opera!
Geoff Pollard National Executive Officer, Glaucoma Australia, blogs about World Glaucoma Week 2013 and glaucoma—a group of eye diseases that slowly destroy the optic nerve and often go undetected in the early stages.
It's not every day that you get to speak with the Governor-General and the Australian of the Year; shake hands with past Prime Ministers and meet some of Australia's most generous philanthropists; but on Monday that's exactly what I did!
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