More than 60 representatives from the eye health and vision care sector gathered in Canberra last week to mark the 21st anniversary of Vision 2020 Australia with a celebratory dinner.
University of Melbourne Professor Hugh Taylor, former Vision 2020 Australia chair and now patron Ms Amanda Vanstone, and Lions Eye Institute managing director Professor Bill Morgan were among the attendees.
The organisation formed in 2000 as a part of a World Health Organisation and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) initiative to help combat the increasing rates of avoidable blindness across the globe.
Keynote speaker, Vision 2020 Australia chair and former Liberal MP Mr Christopher Pyne, spoke about the nation’s success, noting Australians have been “outstanding leaders on the global eye health and vision stage”.
“Many members are closely involved in international efforts to improve eye health and vision care through their involvement in IAPB or contributions to landmark recent reports including the World Health Organisation’s World Report on Vision and the Lancet Commission on Global Eye Health’s seminal report, Beyond 2020,” he said.
Pyne paid tribute to Mr Bob McMullen who played a key role in the original formation of Vision 2020 Australia and recently concluded his tenure as president of the IAPB.
Highlighting the future opportunities for the eyecare sector, Pyne identified six key goals to work towards:
- Eliminating avoidable blindness for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Enabling people who are blind or vision impaired to fully and seamlessly engage with everyday life using readily available and funded technology.
- Delivering increased health and social wellbeing benefits that flow from investment in eye health programs for Australia’s Pacific neighbours and those further afield.
- Enhanced access to publicly funded cataract surgery and intravitreal injections which saved the sight of tens of thousands of Australians.
- Working towards a health system of which eye health and vision forms an integral part of, and is managed in the same way as, other common chronic conditions from prevention through to treatment.
- Increased investment in ophthalmic research, technology and innovation.
The event concluded with birthday cake and the ceremonial signing of a large key.