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HomemioptometryAustralian Optometry: Stronger Together

Australian Optometry: Stronger Together

In changing times it is more important than ever before to work together for successful patient outcomes.


This year’s World Sight Day call to action through the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness was the tagline, ‘stronger together’.

The detail in the tagline is compelling and calls on all of us to focus on all the stakeholders who are important for successful delivery of eye care. It also reminds us that our successes are made possible by the fact that we work together, and form an important basis for our continued success.

Collaboration is a philosophy that flows through the work of Optometry Australia and our interaction within the eye care sector and broader health care sector. Optometry Australia has a rich tradition of working collaboratively across a wide spectrum of activities and with key stakeholders because we truly believe and understand that you get better outcomes with a wider group of people all pulling together to influence an outcome. This collaboration of course reflects the everyday interaction that takes place in every optometry practice in Australia where members of the profession work with patients to diagnose, manage and treat various eye care conditions.

Let’s pack up the egos with the Christmas decorations as we kick off 2017 and make a promise to identify how and where we can work together

As an organisation we have been an active member of Vision 2020 for many years. This platform allows Optometry Australia to collaborate with organisations in the eye health sector to improve the eye health outcomes in Australia, to end avoidable blindness and vision loss in Australia, and to facilitate greater community participation of people who are blind or vision impaired. It enables government stakeholders to efficiently work with our sector to achieve positive outcomes. The recent collaborative effort on the National Eye Health Survey is a great example where positive collaboration resulted in the first truly national survey of the prevalence of vision impairment and blindness.

Optometry Australia has also recently re-joined the Allied Health Professions Association which is a membership organisation of peak non-medical professions working together to influence government policy and provide a platform for liaison and discussion between the professions themselves. We have found that again, Government and other key stakeholders prefer dealing with groups of professions working towards consensus to effect positive change for better health outcomes. And of course we have been an active member of the National Rural Health Alliance for over eight years, a membership based organisation of 38 national associations, working together to improve the health and wellbeing of the seven million people in rural and remote Australia.

Our work on our professional partnership initiatives is also geared, in a collaborative way, to inform and assist other professions’ understanding of optometry’s role and how we can assist them meet their patient’s needs. Our focus in 2015 and the early part of 2016 was pharmacy and practice nurses and in the latter half 2016 we have launched a campaign focused on General Practitioners, with the tagline ‘Working with you to help your patient maintain good vision for life’.

There are numerous examples of everyday collaborations that take place to meet the eye heath needs of all Australians, such as the work between optometry practitioner and lens manufacturers; the vital work that is undertaken by pharmaceutical companies in developing sight saving ophthalmic medications, and applying for PBS listing so that the cost of these medications is within reach of our patients; the discussion and co-management of patients between optometrists and ophthalmologists; and the long term partnerships between optometrists and ophthalmologists that deliver remote eye health to rural and remote Australians supported by the Visiting Optometrists Scheme and an equivalent ophthalmic fund.

Optometry Australia recognises and celebrates collaboration and truly believes that with an ageing population our future successes for our patients will be made possible by the fact that we work together. Optometry Australia wishes everyone a very happy summer break and looks forward to working closely together in 2017. With the review of the optometric and ophthalmic Medicare funding it will be no better time to work together with the aim of ensuring that our successes are shared.

O Tas

Jonathan Jones

On Friday 14 October Optometry Tasmania’s long standing CEO Geoff Squibb retired after over ten years’ service to the optometry community. Geoff started the very successful Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress. In some ways the recent successful congress was Geoff’s swan song before departing into a busy retirement. He will continue to serve the community on a number of not for profit boards in the future. He has been instrumental in achieving the high member engagement levels between optometrists and Optometry Tasmania. Geoff knew personally the majority of optometrists in the state and formed numerous friendships within our industry.

We will continue with Geoff’s successes; Tasmania’s Lifestyle Congress will be back in 2017. We would all like to thank Geoff for his hard work, dedication and long service to the optometry sector.


Andrew McKinnon

Welcome to Christmas 2016! As I’m sure Christmas 2015 was only three months ago, I wish to register a formal complaint that someone has stolen nine months of my year – I am not impressed!

By the time this is published, a new face will be entering the White House – and as many pundits have observed, out of 300 million people, these were the best two on offer? Perhaps political institutions the world over need to have a very hard look at their performances, lest their Christmas stockings start to run dry.

And that of course leads beautifully into the topic of Christmas/New Year resolutions – you know, the things we all do every year and by 2 January have forgotten!

You’ve heard it all before, but here are a few ways to help those resolutions last longer than 24 hours:

  • Pick something that is truly important to you and which is tangible. For example, don’t say “I want to improve my family relationships” – say something like “I will spend at least two hours per week at the park with my daughter”
  • You’ll see that this is specific and, more importantly, measurable. Try to make any resolution measurable (and easy to measure)
  • Try to pick something that you actually enjoy or will enjoy if you achieve it – my youngest daughter has got me into powerlifting – if I hit my target weights I’m going to really enjoy that feeling!
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you miss your goals – maybe they were simply too ambitious. If the goal is worthwhile, refocus, set different (more achievable) goals and go for it again!

OK, that’s enough! Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year and we’ll see you in 2017!

O Vic

Pete Haydon

Compliments of the season to all mivision readers. Looking forward to 2017, our focus will continue to be the delivery of quality, personalised services to members; working with all our stakeholders to build a stronger profession and improving eye health outcomes for the community.

Early career optometrists are the future of the profession, yet many are entering the industry at a time of considerable change. Many of the old certainties no longer exist, and new challenges are arising. In this context, engaging with our early career members is critical. Understanding their perspectives and listening to their experiences must inform our future strategies.

We were pleased to send two early career representatives, Katrina Yap and Jason Tan, to Optometry Australia’s early career think tank in late November in Adelaide – an event organised and facilitated by Optometry Victoria. The think tank report makes for interesting reading – it’s great to see the way in which our younger members can inform the work of the association.

On the conference side in 2017, a strong and varied program remains the cornerstone of SRC and we are excited to confirm Dr. Ben Gaddie (USA) and Dr. Jim Thimons (USA) as our keynote speakers. They will be supported by a well-credentialed domestic contingent, including Dr. Ann Webber and Dr. Simon Chen. The 2017 program will focus around the themes of glaucoma, diabetes and paediatric care.

We are also pleased to welcome a new principal partner, 1st Available, who will already be familiar to many optometrists currently using the online booking portal.

Full program details will be available on the website in conjunction with early-bird registrations opening on January 30.


Tony Martella

Our Western Australia division has had another great year with a strong membership supporting our activities and benefiting from the new services and boosted education events on offer.

A small but enthusiastic group of O WA members attended our division’s 100 Year celebration conference in Hong Kong, where they heard presentations delivered by Australian and Hong Kong speakers. Timed to coincide with the Hong Kong Optical Fair, this was a fantastic way to celebrate Optometry Western Australia’s milestone year as well as take part in one of the world’s major optical trade fairs.

Our Optometry Western Australia Graduate Group (OWAGG) program has continued to increase in popularity with strong support for practical and relevant CPD including clinical and non-clinical topics. To meet demand we have planned an additional seven education courses for OWAGG in 2017.

In 2016 we increased the number of education programs available to the general membership in metro and regional areas. With an average of 90 metro members attending each event, these CPD sessions are not only meeting the learning needs of our members but also their ongoing AHPRA registration requirements. I thank our enthusiastic and committed sponsors for their proactive support of these events and look forward to continuing to work with them in 2017.

Our 2016 Annual General Meeting was held in late October. Darrell Baker was reappointed as President and Geoff Smith was reappointed Treasurer. Two of our long serving board members, Kate Hegarty and Ross Palmer, resigned their positions due to their personal and work commitments. On behalf of the membership and the Board, I sincerely thank them for their many years of commitment and service and wish them all the best in their ‘retirement’.

OWAGG Chair David Hsu (SpecSavers) and Roxanne Medhora (Abernethy Owens) were subsequently appointed to the board to fill the vacancies. We welcome David and Roxanne whose fresh thinking will particularly drive our OWAGG agenda. I would like to acknowledge our board’s work this year in achieving so many successful outcomes for our members. Next year will be an important year for O WA and I look forward to their continued support.

On a personal note, I’m especially pleased that O WA continues to be relevant and engage as well as it does across all areas of the WA membership. To that end the O WA Board reflects a strong commitment to its members, profession and the community at large. Congratulations to all on the Board.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jude Martindale who manages so many of our ongoing activities and keeps the office operating so smoothly. Without Jude’s invaluable support we wouldn’t be able to achieve anywhere near what we do. I’d also like to thank the team at mivision for their continued support.

Finally, I hope you’ll put WAVE on your calendar for 2017. The OWAGG lecture series will take place on Friday 11 August with the main conference running from 12 –13 August.

Wishing you all the best for a fantastic festive season.

O Qld/NT

Cathyrn Baker

On behalf of the OQNT Board and staff we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

What a year it has been!

OQNT had a very prosperous 2016, launching two new initiatives, Smart Eye Smart and the i-Partner program.

The Smart Eye Start initiative, which aims to encourage comprehensive eye examinations prior to the first year of school, is developing strongly with more schools and optometrists signing on each day. So far we have received significant positive feedback from both schools learning of the program and optometrists alike.

We are also proud to have launched the Young Optoms i-Partner program, which works in conjunction with final year QUT students and aims to facilitate mentoring partnerships. Through these partnerships OQNT aims to support the next generation of optometrists as they make their journey from final year students into the workforce.

Recently, we held VISIONaries: past, present and future, our annual awards evening at the Hilton Hotel, overlooking the beautiful Brisbane city skyline. Each year we take this opportunity to formally thank, celebrate and acknowledge reunionists and award recipients for their dedication to the optometry profession.

We feel privileged to formally welcome the new Queensland University of Technology (QUT) graduates into the profession. We wish the final year students all the best in their future endeavours. As they progress, OQNT very much looks forward to supporting and contributing to their prosperous careers.

As 2016 draws to an end, here’s to a successful and rewarding 2017.


Liby Boschen

Back home in the UK, it is said to be lucky to have a visit from a tall, dark stranger bearing coal on New Year’s Eve! I have no idea where or how the tradition started, but am just going to put it out there that on 31 December 2016, ditch the coal – I’ll settle for anyone bearing a gift of healthy collaboration with no hidden agendas in the small print.

Collaboration has been the buzz word across the industry in 2016, but too often it seems to have received lip-service in preference to genuine belief and commitment. I propose that in 2017 we all commit to actively pursuing at least one collaborative partnership with the aim of achieving a shared goal across our industry: the enhancement of eye health care to the Australian community.

Let’s pack up the egos with the Christmas decorations as we kick off 2017 and make a promise to identify how and where we can work together, as opposed to constantly coming up with spurious reasons not to. The Australian community needs timely, convenient and cost-effective world-class eye health care. We all play a role: optometrists, optical dispensers, ophthalmologists, orthoptists, our support teams and technical support sector.

Collaboration doesn’t always mean we secure exactly what we want for our organisation in that moment. We win some, we lose some: but our shared patients always win and that ultimately is what we should be aiming for.

Season’s Greetings from Optometry SA.