Staff changes at Optometry Australia

Optometry Australia has announced the following staff changes:

  • Former national communications manager Sandra Shaw departed after 30 years;
  • Bookshop and brochures manager, Natalina Bortone, after 33 years;
  • Standards and research advisor, Patricia Kiely. after 18 years; and
  • Executive assistant, Maria Wallis, after 21 years.
  • Laura Gulbin; graphic designer, Ashleigh McMillian, journalist and Tin Nguyen, policy and advocacy advisor also left the organisation.

New appointments include:

  • Optometrists Sophie Koh, national professional services advisor and Kerryn Hart, standards and policy advisor. Kerryn Hart has subsequently been appointed clinical editor of Pharmawhilst maintaining her policy role.
  • Shayley Kilderry, digital support officer, Sarah Davies, policy and advocacy manager and Lachlan Hessing, brand custodian and multimedia designer, also joined the organisation.
By | December 24th, 2018|People|

Health minister loses bid to be deputy, but keeps portfolio in reshuffle

Federal health minister Greg Hunt lost his bid to become deputy leader of the federal Liberal Party on 24 August in an election held for the position after a failed coup by members of the party’s hard right.

Mr Hunt survived a reshuffle of portfolios by the prime minister on 25 August, remaining minister for health.

He was one of five MPs who had lied to parliament and declared they supported the former prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, a day after voting against him in a spill and a day before voting against the then PM again.

All five wanted conspirator Peter Dutton, not the successful Scott  Morrison.

By | August 27th, 2018|People|

$2m allocated for Aboriginal and Torres Strait people’s prescription glasses

The federal government has allocated $2 million to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with easier access to affordable prescription glasses.

Health minister Mr Greg Hunt said the investment would allow Vision 2020 Australia to work with state and territory governments to streamline, standardise and improve their schemes that provide subsidised glasses to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘Current arrangements can make it difficult to obtain affordable glasses’

“There are inconsistencies in current arrangements which can make it difficult for many of our these people to get affordable glasses,” Mr Hunt said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have three times the rate of vision impairment and blindness as compared to non-Indigenous Australians.

“That is totally unacceptable, especially when almost two-thirds of impaired eyesight can be corrected by prescription glasses.”

Indigenous health minister Mr Ken Wyatt said introducing a nationally-consistent system to simplify and ensure better access to affordable glasses would significantly improve people’s vision and overall quality of life.

‘Significant barrier to education and employment’

“Not only does poor vision adversely affect a person’s general wellbeing, it can be a significant barrier to education and employment, and can restrict a person’s mobility and social interaction,” Mr Wyatt said.

“The cost of prescription glasses often deters Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from visiting an optometrist to

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By | August 12th, 2018|People|

AMA encourages more to become organ donors

The Australian Medical Association is urging more Australians to use this week – DonateLife Week 2018 – to register to become an organ donor, and to share and discuss that decision with their family and friends.

AMA president, Dr Tony Bartone, said Australia is a leader in organ and tissue transplantation, in terms of transplant outcomes, but our donation rates lag well behind world donor leaders like Spain, Portugal, and Croatia.

“Australia’s donation rates are continually improving as a result of reform measures introduced since 2009, but there remains potential for significant further growth,” Dr Bartone said.

Insufficient too meet demand

“In Australia, as with all developed countries, there continues to be insufficient donated organs to meet the needs of those who might benefit from transplantation.

“By increasing Australia’s rate of organ and tissue donation, more individuals and their families have the opportunity to benefit from receiving life-enhancing organs and tissue transplants.

“This has a positive impact on the health-care system as transplantation of organs and tissues, such as kidneys and corneas, is cost-effective compared to the expense of providing ongoing treatment for those waiting for a transplant.

“Around 1400 Australians are on the transplant waiting list at any time, with a further 11,000 on dialysis.

“Donation happens infrequently as fewer than two per cent of people in Australia who

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By | August 1st, 2018|People|

RANZCO elects first female president

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists has elected Dr Heather Mack as its first female president.

Dr Mack, will serves as president-elect until the RANZCO 50th Annual Scientific Congress in Adelaide in November, when she will become president, and her predecessor, Associate Professor Mark Daniell, stands down.

A senior consultant with a focus on visual electrophysiology and medical retinal disorders, she is also a senior associate at Eye Surgery Associates in Melbourne

Continuing education

Dr Mack has a particular interest in continuing professional development and headed RANZCO’s CPD committee from 2004 to 2011. As well as being the first woman elected as RANZCO president, Dr Mack was the college’s first female treasurer, serving in the role up until her election as president, and the first female head of the CPD committee.

In addition to her clinical roles and her roles with RANZCO, Dr Mack is a member of Medical Panels for the Victorian government and a clinical researcher, holding the positions of honorary senior clinical lecturer at the University of Melbourne Department of Surgery (Ophthalmology), honorary research associate at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and honorary clinical associate at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research at the University of Melbourne.

Fusrther developing leadearship role in region

During her two years as president,

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By | July 14th, 2018|People|


The Queen’s Birthday Honours were announced on 11 June:


Professor Robyn Heather GUYMER. VIC.

For significant service to medicine in the field of ophthalmology, particularly age related macular degeneration as a clinician, academic and researcher.

Dr Timothy Roger HENDERSON. NT.

For significant service to medicine in the field of ophthalmology, and to Indigenous eye health in the Northern Territory.

Professor Lawrence William HIRST. QLD.

For significant service to medicine in the field of ophthalmology through the development of clinical care techniques and eye disease management.


Dr Graeme Alfred POLLOCK. VIC.

For service to medical research, particularly to corneal transplantation.

Dr Sudarshan Kumar SACHDEV. NSW.

For service to the community, and to medicine, particularly to ophthalmology.

Ms Julienne TYERS. VIC.

For service to nursing, and to international eye-health programs.

By | June 11th, 2018|People|

Retiring after 60 years practising

After 60 years practising as an optometrist and examining the eyes of thousands of patients, Perth’s Graham Fist has called it a day and retired on 30 May.

Mr Fist, who turns 82 in August, started work in the family business in Perth six decades ago in 1958.

His retirement also marks the end of an era as the business, Mr Fist Optometrist, is believed to be Australia’s oldest family-owned optometry practice. The third-generation optical business operated for 121 years after being established by Mr Fist’s optician grandfather William.

Mr Fist is Optometry Western Australia’s oldest member and possibly its longest serving.

He is closing his Murray Street premises to make way for a redevelopment and a decision to triple the office rent hastened his retirement. The practice has a refractor dating from the 1960s and patient records kept on cards and notebooks dating from the 1900s which include a list of WW1 soldiers.

By | June 3rd, 2018|People|

Nathan Efron takes over as C&EO editor

Optometrist, academic and researcher Emeritus Professor Nathan Efron this month has officially taken over as editor of Clinical and Experimental Optometry, published by Optometry Australia, replacing Emeritus Professor Barry Collin, who retired in March after 24 years in the role.

Professor Efron will head the journal along with deputy editor Dr Maria Markoulli.

In the May issue, published online on 26 April, Professor Efron said the status of optometry as an independent profession required that it be underpinned by a thorough evidence base and demanded that a learned journal be retained as the centrepiece of its activities.

He plans to introduce “a slick new look for a modern, forward-looking journal”.

Although Professor Efron formally took over editorship this month, he has served as editor for the past six months, shadowing Professor Collin who was editor-in-chief, during the time he prepared for full editorial responsibility.

By | May 3rd, 2018|People|

AMA appoints next secretary general

The Australian Medical Association has appointed Dr Michael Schaper as its next secretary general.

Dr Schaper will take up the position in late July, replacing Ms Anne Trimmer, who will leave the AMA in August at the completion of her five-year term.

He will join the AMA from his current position as deputy chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), a position he has held since 2008.


By | May 3rd, 2018|People|

Death of Bernie Egan

Bernie Egan, one of the best salesmen ever to open a sample case of spectacle frames and sunglasses, died on 29 March after several years battling dementia. He was 85.

Bernie began his lengthy career in the optical industry when he was apprenticed as an optical mechanic at Frank G O’Brien in Sydney’s Camperdown.

When O’Brien’s closed its prescription laboratory, he, and others, were taken on by nearby Australian Optical Company, whose laboratories were in every capital city (except Hobart) as well as Newcastle and Townsville.

That was the beginning of a long association with AOC and owner Polarizers Australia, culminating with appointment as a sales representative for AOC, covering the Sydney city and metro area and the southern half of country New South Wales. AOC was sold and became International Optical Company in 1977.

When Austria-based frames and sunglasses manufacturer Optyl opened its Australian subsidiary, Bernie was appointed its first sales representatives, his initial task being to assist optometrists, optical dispensers and optical mechanics understand the Optyl material, particularly how to handle this new material when glazing lenses and adjusting frames for best fit.

Optyl went on to become clear market leader, the material finding favour with wearers and practitioners alike, as it was light to wear, facial fittings remained in place and there

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By | April 18th, 2018|People|