Alliance staff were delighted to meet face-to-face for the first time with the CEO and policy staff of Vision2020 Australia, the peak body for eye health and vision in Australia.
Also present at the meeting was Phil Anderton, who represents the Rural Interest Group of Optometry Australia on the Council of the Alliance and has provided leadership for our work in this area for many years.
Vision2020 was established as an initiative of the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and represents around 50 member organisations involved in eye health and vision. In the very productive meeting, CEO Jennifer Gersbeck outlined details of their current work, including design and oversight of the National Eye Health Survey, as well as a push for development of a new strategic national framework for eye health, which might begin in January 2017.
The National Eye Health Survey is due to be published in mid-2016, and will provide data for the first time ever on the prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed eye disease throughout Australia, including in rural and remote areas. It may well provide a source of valuable new data for more remote areas, which is often difficult to obtain.
During the positive and far-reaching discussion at the meeting, it became clear that Vision2020, both in terms of its policy interests and organisational approach, has much in common with the Alliance. Both organisations look forward to working together to identify areas of mutual interest, and to support each other’s activities wherever and whenever possible.