Glaucoma Australia plans to boost its effort to reduce blindness due to glaucoma with the appointment of Associate Professor Simon Skalicky as its new President.
An Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne and Centre for Eye Research Australia, A/Prof Skalicky serves on various committees for the World Glaucoma Association and works as a glaucoma specialist at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Glaucoma Unit and privately at Eye Surgery Associates, Melbourne.
we aim to integrate our service better with health care providers to enhance the likelihood that patients access our resources and community support, which in turn motivates long-term adherence to medication and monitoring for glaucoma
A/Prof Skalicky acknowledged the considerable achievements of Glaucoma Australia and said there remains much more to be done.
“As we have moved digitally, we are connecting with more glaucoma patients and their families, as well as health professionals. Digitally integrating the support services of Glaucoma Australia through online referral pathways ensures greater support is provided to people with glaucoma at every step along the journey, in metropolitan, rural and regional Australia. Patients are joining our online community and benefitting from our regular newsletters and online community support and events.
“More can be done to promote glaucoma awareness, to achieve our goal of detecting glaucoma earlier, and finding the 100,000¬ 150,000 Australians who are unaware they have glaucoma. Fostering early diagnosis through optometric practice is the key. By supporting and promoting great Australian glaucoma research we can hopefully encourage further research funding to improve outcomes for people with glaucoma. We need to learn how to measure the impact of our patient support and refine this service over time. Ideally, we aim to integrate our service better with health care providers to enhance the likelihood that patients access our resources and community support, which in turn motivates long-term adherence to medication and monitoring for glaucoma. We would like to foster closer integration and communication between the multidisciplinary players who care for patients with glaucoma: ophthalmology, optometry, pharmacy, and people with glaucoma. Digital and/or social media platforms are novel ways to achieve this.”
“Through our network of dedicated individuals involved in Glaucoma Australia’s clinical, research and governance committees, our council members and wonderful executive, we are lucky to have a highly motivated team that brings diverse skills, enthusiasm and experience to our organisation.”
A/Prof Skalicky’s involvement with Glaucoma Australia began in 2014, when he joined the Glaucoma Australia Ophthalmology Committee. Using his research skills in quality of life in glaucoma he led a multicentre Australia-wide randomised clinical trial evaluating the impact of Glaucoma Australia education for newly diagnosed glaucoma patients. In 2016, A/Prof Skalicky became Chair of the Ophthalmology Committee and joined the Glaucoma Australia Council. He was instrumental in establishing the Glaucoma Australia Research Grants, and in co-ordinating the Glaucoma Australia involvement in the Medicare submission for minimally invasive glaucoma surgery(MIGS). A strong supporter of glaucoma awareness activities, such as World Glaucoma Week, A/Prof Skalicky actively promotes collaborative care between ophthalmology and optometry. He has worked closely with colleagues in optometry to establish the Glaucoma Australia Patient Referral Pathway and integrate Glaucoma Australia services with online referral platform Oculo, enhancing digital referral of new glaucoma patients to Glaucoma Australia services. He helped organise the successful Glaucoma Australia Patient Symposium at the World Glaucoma Congress in Melbourne 2019. A/Prof Skalicky frequently contributes to mivision, and has been instrumental in the publication of its annual glaucoma issue.
A/Prof Skalicky will be assisted by a new Councillor Rowan McMonnies, who has taken the role of Vice President. Mr McMonnies has a commercial and legal background and is currently Managing Director of the research and marketing body for Australian Eggs. He will support A/Prof Skalicky in guiding the development of governance arrangements that reflect Glaucoma Australia’s growth and impact, as well as helping to ensure the reach and influence of Glaucoma Australia remains broader than clinical networks.
Outgoing President Ron Spithill, OAM, served Glaucoma Australia as a councillor for 10 years including the past four as President. Speaking at a recent Glaucoma Australia Board meeting, Mr Spithill said, “It has been a great honour to work with colleagues on the Glaucoma Australia Council, our CEO Annie Gibbins and her very dedicated team. In recent years we have seen glaucoma detection and referrals grow significantly and I am convinced that blindness due to glaucoma can be greatly reduced by our collaborative programs.
“I expect that under the expert leadership of Simon Skalicky, the next decade will see reduced glaucoma blindness in Australians”.
Mr Spithill also paid a special tribute to Glaucoma Australia’s co-founder, Clinical Prof Ivan Goldberg who continues to inspire the Association’s efforts as a Life Governor of Glaucoma Australia.