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Past Optometry Australia President Professor Brian Layland, OAM OLM Fellow UNSW (HON. Causa) has passed away at 92. Prof Layland was President of the National Optometry Association, now Optometry Australia, from 1975-1978. He was also a past National Councillor for the NSW Optometry Association.

Prof Layland was a dedicated and enthusiastic leader within the optometry sector in Australia for most of his life. He was instrumental in initiating ProVision Eyecare and was a Chair and Director of the Brien Holden Vision Institute Board. A champion of Aboriginal health, both through his efforts to deliver sustainable eye care services to Aboriginal communities across New South Wales and Northern Territory, Prof Layland’s support was integral to the establishment of the Aboriginal Health College at Little Bay in Sydney.

Margaret Lam, President of Optometry Australia, said: ‘This is a great loss for the optometry community. Brian was instrumental to so many advances in optometry over the years – his contribution to our profession was enormous and he will be greatly missed.

‘On behalf of everyone at Optometry Australia I send sincere condolences to his loved ones. I had the privilege of being one of Brian Layland’s students while studying optometry. To his students, Brian taught us that strong communication skills and the ability to develop rapport and understanding with your patients was the basis of providing compassionate care as an optometrist.

‘Brian has had such a profound impact on our profession by really pushing us to practice to the scope we do today.’

Speaking at the ProVision conference in Melbourne on Saturday, Ian Bluntish, Chair of ProVision, said anyone who knew Prof Layland recognised that it was difficult to suppress his energy – he remained involved in opto-politics into his ninth decade of life.

He described Professor Layland as an incredible visionary who had the initial ideas, the vision, and the drive to establish ProVision as an organisation that would provide cooperative action and support to ensure the sustainability of small, independent optometry practices.

Brian Layland was born in 1930, in the then working-class Sydney suburb of Balmain. You can read more about his extraordinary life and contribution to eye care in an article published by mivision in 2011 to celebrate his 80th year.

A version of this article first appeared in mivision. Republished here with permission.

Filed in category: Members & member initiatives

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.