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Most pressing eye health issues raised with PM

The state of public cataract surgery and Indigenous eye health were among the key issues a delegation from the ophthalmic sector raised in a recent meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The meeting – arranged by Vision 2020 Australia – took place in the PM’s Canberra office on 16 March and involved Vision 2020 Australia chair and former Liberal MP Mr Christopher Pyne, RANZCO CEO Dr David Andrews, Optometry Australia CEO Ms Lyn Brodie, The Fred Hollows Foundation deputy CEO Mr Nick Martin, Novartis Australia and New Zealand general manager Mr Richard Tew, Vision 2020 Australia CEO Ms Judith Abbott and the University of Melbourne’s Professor Hugh Taylor.

According to Vision 2020, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health investment and the need for more public cataract surgeries were among the key talking points.

This was in addition to tackling blindness in Papua New Guinea, opportunities arising from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and eye research and innovation.

“The sector values the continued support of the Australian Government and the meeting provided a valuable opportunity to brief our nation’s leader about areas of work that can change the lives of people affected by vision loss, in Australia and abroad,” Vision 2020 Australia stated.


The ophthalmic delegation (from left) Richard Tew (Novartis), David Andrews (RANZCO), Professor Hugh Taylor (UniMelb, Indigenous Eye Health), Judith Abbott and Christopher Pyne (Vision 2020 Australia), Lyn Brodie (Optometry Australia) and Nick Martin (Fred Hollows Foundation). Image: Adam Taylor

Andrews, RANZCO’s CEO, said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health discussions focused on closing the gap in eyecare and eliminating avoidable blindness in these populations by 2025, which the PM was “very happy to hear about”.

“He indicated that the government would support specific efforts to address this. [I] also spoke about the importance of eye research and that Australia is a world leader in this area,” he said.

“Mr Morrison was very pleased to hear this and encouraged further collaboration. Overall, the Prime Minister was open to all the good work being done in the eye sector and he said he will actively consider support for closing the gap when it comes up in budget discussions.”

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