In a move that further recognises the importance of optometry in managing patients with glaucoma and improving the low glaucoma detection rates in Australia, Glaucoma Australia has made a second optometrist appointment to its Council of Management (Council).
Glaucoma Australia is pleased to announce that Dr Ben Ashby will join optometrist Tony Gibson, Glaucoma Australia Councillor for the past three and a half years, on its Council.
Ben is a nationally-known optometrist, having started his optometry career as a clinical optometrist before spending time in research and in teaching, including lecturer appointments at Deakin University and at UNSW. He is currently the Optometry Development Manager at Specsavers and is well-qualified to assist Tony and Glaucoma Australia to harness the significant opportunity offered by the simultaneous development and rising adoption of technologies that aid detection, connect healthcare providers and create new avenues to help those with glaucoma and at risk of glaucoma.
The growing body of research on how to more accurately target those at risk of glaucoma, gives Glaucoma Australia a genuine chance to eliminate glaucoma blindness. Optometry is uniquely positioned in healthcare to bring about this change and is already involved in connecting glaucoma patients to Glaucoma Australia services.
Ben will also Chair the Glaucoma Australia Optometry Committee (one of several professional liaison committees), succeeding Tony who has steered the Committee since June 2014. “Without Tony, who will continue to provide ongoing support and wisdom, this Committee would not be where it is today and have such strong representation across optometry”, said Ben, in accepting the role.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly destroyed. In most people this damage is due to an increased pressure inside the eye – a result of blockage of the circulation of aqueous fluid, or its drainage. In other patients the damage may be caused by poor blood supply to the vital optic nerve fibres, a weakness in the structure of the nerve, and/or a problem in the health of the nerve fibres themselves.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and over 300,000 Australians have this largely silent disease. While it is more common as people age, it can occur at any age. As our population becomes older, the proportion of glaucoma patients is increasing. Assessment and screening is crucial to catching glaucoma early and reducing its impact, especially in the relatives of people already diagnosed with glaucoma.
About Glaucoma Australia
Glaucoma Australia is the peak glaucoma awareness/education/support association in Australia. It is a registered, national, not-for-profit organisation whose Mission is: To eliminate glaucoma blindness. Glaucoma Australia aims to increase community awareness of glaucoma as a potentially blinding eye disease for which early detection and appropriate treatment are the best protections against progressive sight loss. It also raises funds for Australian glaucoma research, including the TARRGET Study.
National Executive Officer
(02) 9906 6640