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Optometry Australia is seeking to support an early career optometrist in further developing their knowledge in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health. 

The successful recipient will attend the 2024 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Conference (NATSIEHC24), which will be held on nipaluna country (Hobart, Tasmania) from Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 May 2024.

2023 NATSIEHC held on Dharug Country in Western Sydney. Photo: IEHU

The 2024 Conference is, for the first time, formally hosted by the First Nations Eye Health Alliance (FNEHA), Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led eye health organisation. FNEHA itself was born out of gatherings and workshops of First Nations delegates in the 2022 and 2023 Conferences, signifying the progress of First Nations self-determination and leadership in eye care. The Conference is again supported by the Indigenous Eye Health Unit (IEHU) at The University of Melbourne.

Optometry Australia’s bursary, valued at $3,000, is intended to contribute to the recipient’s travel, accommodation and conference registration.

Optometry Australia’s Director of Optometry Advancement, Sarah Davies, said: ‘The Conference aims to advance the collective work of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health sector towards the shared goal of improving eye health access and outcomes of First Nations Australians.

‘Optometry Australia is committed to supporting the optometry profession to provide readily accessible, culturally safe and responsive care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and we are proud to be able to assist a member with a special interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health to attend.’

The theme for this year’s Conference is Our Vision in Action, representing the next phase in the growing evolution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in eye health.

This year’s theme wishes to elevate and explore activities, projects, and initiatives to end avoidable vision loss and blindness that are led or guided by First Nations peoples and organisations. The activities delivered as part of this theme will support the eye care sector in our collective journey to implement principles of self-determination and representation in eye care.

How to apply

Optometry Australia is calling for expressions of interest from members that outline:

  • What they’re hoping to learn from the conference;
  • any experience to date they might have in First Nations health and eye care, including any cultural responsiveness education they’ve completed; and
  • how they would apply learnings from the conference to their work.

Bursaries are open to all Optometry Australia members, but preference will be given to First Nations applicants.

Applications should be sent to by Sunday, 14 January 2024.

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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Optometry Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.