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(L-R) Anna Morse, Jane Chin, San Luu, Helen Summers, Lisa Penrose, Mitchell Anjou, Genevieve Napper, Stephanie Chen, Stephen Copeland, Josiah Murphy, Amy Moreland and Luke Arkapaw   Photo: Brien Holden Vision Institute


By Helen Carter


Indigenous eye-care strategy for the Northern Territory

The inaugural NT Indigenous Eye Care Conference has called for a separate Indigenous eye-care strategy for the Northern Territory due to the high proportion of Indigenous people and the need for better co-ordination of eye services.

More than 70 representatives from eye-care and broader health sectors, including Optometry Australia’s policy and advocacy adviser Tin Nguyen, attended the conference on 14- 15 June.

It focused on co-ordinating patient access to eye care at the grass-roots level, and bigger picture systematic approaches to improving eye-care outcomes for Indigenous Territorians.

The conference provided an opportunity for people to network and share their knowledge in an attempt to break down the silos. An advisory forum will be established to develop a plan to work towards the strategy.

Brien Holden Vision Institute co-ordinated the conference, funded by Australia’s Department of Health.


Suzanne Fleiszig 2010 - Online

Professor Suzanne Fleiszig


Fleiszig honoured

Australian expatriate Professor Suzanne Fleiszig is an American Academy of Optometry 2017 award recipient.

Professor Fleiszig will receive the Max Schapero Memorial Lecture Award in the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies at the academy’s annual meeting in Chicago on 11 October.

She obtained her OD and PhD in optometry and microbiology from the University of Melbourne and has been at the University of California, Berkeley for 23 years where she is currently Professor of Vision Science and Optometry, Infectious Diseases and Immunity, and Microbiology.


PhD scholarships in eye health

Applications close on 21 July for four UNSW Scientia PhD scholarships in eye health research at the School of Optometry and Vision Science and The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney.

Apply for the surgical and refractive management of cataract to minimise falls risk project. Contact Lisa Keay

Apply for the measuring the appropriateness of eye care delivery in Australia project. Contact Isabelle Jalbert

Apply for the improving outcomes by biosampling ocular surface disease project. Contact Nicole Carnt

Apply for the nanodiagnosis of eye infections project. Contact Mark Willcox


Wrong treatment for conjunctivitis

Most people in America with acute conjunctivitis are receiving the wrong treatment, according to the first study to assess antibiotic use for pink eye.

Only a minority were diagnosed by optometrists or ophthalmologists, with most diagnosed and treated by doctors.

About 60 per cent of 300,000 patients were prescribed antibiotic eye-drops even though they are rarely necessary, and of those 20 per cent received an antibiotic-steroid eye-drop which could prolong or worsen the infection.

‘The study shows that current treatment decisions for pink eye are not based on evidence, but are often driven more by the type of health-care practitioner making the diagnosis,’ researchers wrote.


Keratoconus update

Optometrists are invited to an information session on keratoconus for practitioners, at Sydney Eye Hospital on 9 August, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Save Sight Institute is organising the free event which includes an overview of the Keratoconus Registry, patient reported outcomes and experience, and a question and answer session chaired by ophthalmologist Professor Stephanie Watson.

Register and RSVP by 31 July. CPD points are available for optometrists. For information contact


Invisible diabetes highlighted

A new digital awareness campaign by Diabetes Victoria, released during National Diabetes Week on 9-15 July, highlights that diabetes is an invisible condition.

The campaign website explains that people cannot see if someone is at risk of developing diabetes and many at risk do not have warning signs. It includes a short video visualising the growing number of people affected by diabetes.

A survey released on 5 July shows that nearly half of respondents did not know or were unsure of whether they were at risk of developing diabetes and one in five believed they were not at risk.

Most correctly identified that a family history can significantly increase the risk of developing diabetes but 72 per cent wrongly believed that the condition can be caused by eating too much sugar.

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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.