Vision 2020 Australia members from across the country gathered in Canberra this week with a number of MPs and other key stakeholders to mark the 21st birthday of the organisation with a celebratory dinner.
Despite the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic it was great have more than 60 attendees from across the eye health and vision care sector together.
Vision 2020 Australia was formed in the year 2000 as a part of a World Health Organisation and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness initiative to help combat the increasing rates of avoidable blindness across the globe.
Keynote speaker, Vision 2020 Australia Chair The Hon Christopher Pyne spoke about the success of Australia’s work in this area, and noted that despite being a relatively small nation located deep in the Southern Hemisphere, Australians have been “outstanding leaders on the global eye health and vision stage.”
“Many members are closely involved in international efforts to improve eye health and vision care through their involvement in IAPB or contributions to landmark recent reports including the World Health Organisation’s World Report on Vision and the Lancet Commission on Global Eye Health’s seminal report, Beyond 2020,” he said.
Highlighting the future opportunities for the sector, Mr Pyne identified six key goals for the sector to work towards:
- The elimination of avoidable blindness for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
- Enabling people who are blind or vision impaired to fully and seamlessly engage with everyday life thanks to readily available and funded technology and other key supports.
- The delivery of increased health and social wellbeing benefits that flow from investment in eye health programs for our Pacific neighbours and those further afield.
- Enhanced access to publicly funded cataract surgery and intravitreal injections which saved the sight of tens of thousands of Australians.
- Working towards a health system of which eye health and vision forms an integral part of, and is managed in the same way as, other common chronic conditions from prevention through to treatment.
- Increased investment in ophthalmic research, technology and innovation.
Mr Pyne also paid tribute to the Hon Bob McMullen, who played a key role in the original formation of Vision 2020 Australia and recently concluded his tenure as President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
In true 21st birthday style, the event concluded with birthday cake and the ceremonial signing of a large key.
Thank you to event supporters The Fred Hollows Foundation, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Optometry Australia and The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmology.