Associate professor Simon Skalicky has been announced as Glaucoma Australia’s (GA) new president as the organisation aims to continue its recent success of reaching the country’s glaucoma patients.
Skalicky, who is associate professor at the University of Melbourne and Centre for Eye Research Australia, first became involved with GA in 2014 when he joined the organisation’s ophthalmology committee and lead a clinical trial to evaluate the impact of GA’s education efforts.
In 2016 he became chair of GA’s ophthalmology committee and joined the GA council, going on to play an instrumental role in establishing the GA Research Grants program and coordinating the Medicare submission on minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.
Skalicky also played an important part in the establishment of the GA patient referral pathway, as well as organising the patient symposium at the 2019 World Glaucoma Congress in Melbourne.
“This is an exciting time for Glaucoma Australia,” Skalicky said. “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.”
He added there is still much more work that needs to be done in order to reach the 100,000 to 150,000 Australians who are unaware they have glaucoma. As well as developing early diagnosis through optometric practice and supporting Australian research, he said measuring the organisation’s impact would also be important.
“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.”
Skalicky replaces outgoing president Mr Ron Spithill, who has served as GA president the past four years during his decade as a councillor.
Spithill said it has been a pleasure to see both glaucoma detection and referrals grow significantly during his tenure. “I expect that under the expert leadership of Simon Skalicky, the next decade will see reduced glaucoma blindness in Australians.”
Serving alongside Skalicky will be new council member Mr Rowan McMonnies, who has taken over as vice president. McMonnies is currently managing director of the research and marketing body for Australian Eggs, and will guide GA’s future governance arrangements.