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|

Death of Tony Gross

Tony Gross, of the pioneering optician and frame stylists Cutler and Gross, has died peacefully at the age of 78. He suffered from a severe stroke 11 years ago.

He met his business partner Graham Cutler at Northampton College while studying optometry. On graduating in 1963 he went into practice but saw an opportunity to make spectacles more exciting.

Cutler and Gross began selling hand-made fashion frames in 1969 and opened a Knightsbridge practice in 1971. The duo quickly became famous for providing eyewear to Icons such as Elton John, Princess Diana, David Hockney and Grace Jones.

Cutler and Gross flourished during the 1980s as the ‘yuppie’ culture grew and in 1983 the pair launched their first ready-to-wear collection from the Italian region of Cadore.

After suffering his stroke, he sold his stake in the business to pay for his health care.

By | April 2nd, 2018|People|

‘Collectively we can eliminate glaucoma blindness’: Glaucoma Australia CEO

Together, we can eliminate glaucoma blindness, the chief executive officer of Glaucoma Australia, Ms Annie Gibbins, said at a ‘Beat Invisible Blindness’ breakfast at Studio Sydney Tower on 12 March.

The breakfast was held to mark the launch of this year’s World Glaucoma Week being held on 11-17 March.

• “Our mission is to eliminate glaucoma blindness. It almost sounds impossible. Can we really do it? Ms Gibbins asked.

• “Yes, I believe, that collectively, we can. In my early 20’s, I had two sets of twins 26 months apart; I’ve trekked on remote mountains up to 6000 metres high; I was a nurse for 25 years and saw miracles happen time and time again.

• “Anything is possible if you focus on the positives, look for synergies and dedicate yourself to making the extraordinary happen.

“Imagine a world where preventable sight loss from glaucoma was eradicated?

“We can make that happen in Australia through increased awareness, early detection and greater treatment adherence.

If treated early, 90%of all  blindness is  avoidable

“If treated early, approximately 90 per cent of all blindness and vision impairment is avoidable or treatable.

“Considering more than 60 per cent of Australians say that going blind is worse than having a heart attack or losing a limb, we should have a very receptive audience.

“We all know the

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By | March 19th, 2018|People|

Share-bikes hazardous for vision-impaired people with guide dogs

Share-bikes are hazardous for vision-impaired people relying on guide dogs for their mobility.

Guide dogs are trained to take their handler to traffic poles to be in a position to safely cross a road, however when share-bikes are abandoned carelessly against a pole or elsewhere the guide dogs may not see them and their handler may become entangled and have a fall.

It isn’t only when riders carelessly let their share-bikes be strewn across; even leaning the bikes against a wall can be a major hazard for people who are vision impaired.

By | March 19th, 2018|People|

Medical students to march over refugee and asylum-seeker health

Medical students are to march in Sydney to its Hyde Park on 7April in protest at Australia’s ongoing policy of mandatory detention at Manus Island and Nauru.

The policy is jeopardizing the lives and wellbeing of hundreds of vulnerable men, women and children by forcefully detaining them in unsafe, unsanitary living conditions that lack adequate access to medical services, according to the Australian Medical Students’ Association.

The AMSA had been in contact with the Department of Home Affairs since December last year expressing concerns about the health and wellbeing of the Manus Island asylum seekers, it said.

“We asked the department to confirm that they are ensuring medical care is being delivered to the asylum seekers on Manus Island in a timely and sustainable manner, without interruption, to a standard equal to that in Australia,” an AMSA spokesperson said.

“The responses have been disappointing. They have not directly addressed the concerns we raised, and have not clarified the health status of the asylum seekers.

“The federal government refuses to be accountable for the treatment of the asylum seekers on Manus Island, insisting that it is the PNG government’s responsibility. But under international law, the government has a legal and ethical obligation to protect and provide adequate health care to these asylum seekers.

“Mandatory detention is

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By | March 19th, 2018|People|