Orthoptics Australia (OA) will host the profession’s international conference in 2024, marking 30 years since it was last held on Australian shores.
Following World Orthoptic Day on Monday, the organisation revealed it won the hosting rights for the International Orthoptics Association (IOA)-sanctioned event to be held in Brisbane, featuring professionals from 21 other member nations.
OA president Ms Marion Rivers told Insight the application process involved an extensive venue search across Australia before deciding to partner with the Brisbane Convention Centre.
“Our feedback was that our bid was the most professional and well-researched. We understand there were two other serious bidders,” she said, adding that the last Australian-hosted event was in Melbourne, 1994.
“We are delighted to host this international convention as orthoptics grows in our region. We are an ideal location for our South East Asian and New Zealand colleagues to attend and hear leading researchers from all over the world from a variety of vision researchers.”
The international conference is held every four years, with the next event being hosted in Liverpool in 2020.
Meanwhile, this year OA is celebrating 75 years as a member association, with the body now representing 563 active members and continuing to increase in size. According to the latest 2016 census, 814 people identified as orthoptists, an increase of 19% since 2011.
Rivers said student numbers across the two training schools – the University of Technology Sydney and La Trobe University – rained steady, graduating approximately 60 orthoptists per year from each institution.
“Orthoptics Australia is aware of the need to encourage orthoptists into rote and regional areas with nearly 80% of orthoptists currently employed in Sydney and Melbourne,” she said.
“Queensland orthoptic numbers are growing and we cannot meet demand at present, but by showcasing Brisbane and Queensland [in 2024] we may attract more orthoptists to work in this state.”
OA was a foundation member of IOA and continues to play an active role in its managent and work.