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ACO launches its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan

On Thursday 30 May, the ACO launched its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan. Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Colin Hunter performed a Welcome to Country ceremony, followed by a performance from the Djirri Djirri Dance Group. Kelvin Rogers, was also present to speak about his experiences as an artist and a Yorta Yorta man and to unveil his striking artwork 'Journey Down The Murray'.

The ACO commits to implementing practical actions which will strengthen current relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, build new partnerships, strengthen the cultural competency of its workforce, build the cultural safety of the organisation and create employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Innovate RAP has been developed collaboratively to guide us in walking with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities towards providing equitable and appropriate eye care services.


ACO RAP frontcover web

Celebrating our people

At the recent Annual General Meeting on 29th May 2019, the ACO regognised staff, members and stakeholders for their outstanding contribution and committment to the college. Awardees were as follows;

L.E.W. Carty Charitable Fund & Lions Research Fellowship
Dr Molis Yunzab

Nicola Family Trust Travel Grant
Dr Wei Tong

Outstanding University Graduate awards
Tim Murphy - Deakin University
Sam Hobbs - Flinders University
Scott Panozza - University of Melbourne
Jin Jane Kwon- University of New South Wales
Katelyn Rose - Queensland University of Technology

Outstanding Graduate for ACO Certificate of Ocular Therapeutics Award
Lisa Deacon

Staff Service Awards
David Leeming; 20 years
Piers Carozzi; 25 years
Leonidas Vlahakis; 20 years
Heidi Saheed; 20 years

Residents Completion Certificate
Vanessa Tang
Rachael Kwok

Honorary Life Membership
Emeritus Professor Leo Carney
Mr Damien Smith

ACO Member Award for Outstanding Service
Ms Susan Kalff

NVRI Fellowship
Professor Jan Provis

ACO Travel Grants

Travel Grants are provided with the aim of giving members an opportunity to travel overseas in order to gain knowledge of international best practice or to contribute their time and skills to a disadvantaged community either in remote Australia or overseas. We recently awarded ACO Member, Bao Nguyen with a $500 travel grant to present her work at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Canada. Article below.

BNguyen ARVO

Australian College of Optometry travel grant 2019
Optometrist and research fellow at The University of Melbourne, Dr Bao Nguyen, recently presented her work at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Vancouver, Canada, in May this year. ARVO is the largest international conference for eye and vision clinicians and scientists, and is an excellent opportunity for researchers and clinicians from around the world to hear the latest advances in research.

This year Dr Nguyen presented work arising from the funding received as recipient of a Melbourne Neuroscience Institute Fellowship in 2017. “The Fellowship enabled me to divert some of my time to a new area of research, specifically, the use of ultra high field magnetic resonance imaging of the eye. A key advantage of magnetic resonance imaging over other ophthalmic imaging such as OCT is that we can get ‘real’, unprocessed images of the shape of the eye, and that we can actually see what is behind the eyeball. At The University of Melbourne we are fortunate to have access to a 7.0 Tesla magnetic resonance scanner at the Melbourne Brain Centre Imaging Unit, which is the highest magnetic field strength available for human scanning, in conjunction with a unique, dedicated eye coil – one of only two in the world. This work was basically a proof-of-concept study to demonstrate that we could use this cutting-edge technology to take unprecedented images of the retrobulbar anatomy, particularly of the optic nerve, surrounding subarachnoid space and optic nerve sheath.”

Since becoming a Member of the Australian College of Optometry in 2009 and a Fellow in 2014, Dr Nguyen has continued to maintain her membership and has been awarded the Travel Grant three times for national and international conference attendance (2011, 2016 and 2019). She is grateful for the funding support, and encourages other members and optometrists to apply for the grant. “I particularly appreciate that the ACO Travel Grants can be applied for at any time, which is not typical of other funding schemes where there are specified deadlines and grant rounds. The Travel Grant contributed to my international travel costs, which are never cheap from Australia. The funds also paid for my conference registration, including an optional ‘Breakfast with the Experts’ where I met with two prominent female vision scientists from the United States to discuss ways to navigate work-life integration – not balance! – with kiddies and partners and all else that life throws our way.”

ACO President, Professor Konrad Pesudovs named International Optometrist of the year

Prof Konrad Pesudovs Council Member

The ACO congratulates its President Professor Konrad Pesudovs who has been recognised as International Optometrist of the Year. A ceremony to mark the event was held in Barcelona on September 19th 2018. The International Optometrist of the Year Award is bestowed annually to an optometrist of recognised international prestige who has excelled in academic, research, professional and social activity during recent years.

Congratulations Konrad on this wonderful achievement. For further information on Konrad's work in the optometry community, please see the press release and biography.

Announcement of the ACO Council appointments 2018/19

At a meeting of ACO Council on 13 June 2018, office-bearer appointments were made for 2018/19 as follows:
President – Professor Konrad Pesudovs
Vice President – Sarah Byrne
Honorary Treasurer – Denise Gronow
Additional Member of Council to sit on the ACO Executive Committee – Mitchell Anjou AM
The four office bearers named above, together with Maureen O’Keefe, Chief Executive Officer, will form the ACO Executive Committee for 2018/19.
The Honorary Treasurer was appointed as Chair of the Finance & Risk Committee (in accordance with the Finance & Risk Committee Terms of Reference) and the NVRI Board of Administration (in accordance with the NVRI Constitution).
Sarah Byrne was appointed to the position of Chair of the Human Research Ethics Committee and Mitchell Anjou AM was appointed as a second member of Council to sit on the Finance & Risk Committee.

New Certificate in Advanced Contact Lenses

 Contact Lens

The ACO is excited to announce that the Certificate in Advanced Contact Lenses (CACL) has been launched and is now open for enrolments. This comprehensive six-month certificate is designed for flexible learning, with modes of delivery that include online lectures in addition to clinical experience placements. Read more.

ACO Council & Committee
Executive Appointments

President Letter June 2016

Congratulations ACO-COT Graduates


Congratulations to the latest graduates of the Australian College of Optometry's Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics! They were honored at a graduation ceremony at the ACO recently, more here


Letter from the President

Thanks to our donors!

We are thrilled to have reached our $20K fundraising target for the National Vision Research Insitute's Nicola Family Fund.  John Nicola of Optiqueline, a long term supporter of the NVRI (an ACO division), is currently undertaking the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert and has generously committed his fundraising efforts to the NVRI.   See John's FB page for the latest updates.

It's not too late to make a donation to help us really exceed the target! 

The ACO relies on the generous support of donors to continue its important work and we are extremely grateful to the intrepid John for making this further commitment of support to the NVRI - we wish him the very best of luck for his run!  

Our Board at Parliament House helped showcase our global eye health successes @JessGallagher86 @IEHU_UniMelb

— Vision2020Australia (@Vision2020Aus) February 22, 2016


New Glaucoma Clinic Established to mark Victorian Eyecare Service 30 Year Anniversary

VES anniv photo 

(From Left:  Kathleen Philip, Catherine Green, Sharon Bentley, The Hon Jill Hennessy MP, Maureen O’Keefe, Mark Petty).

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Victorian Eyecare Service a new glaucoma clinic will be established as a partnership between the Australian College of Optometry and The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

The clinic, for the management of patients with suspected or early glaucoma, aims to address the existing and growing demand for glaucoma services and enable safe, correct and timely management from eye care practitioners.

Since the introduction of the VES in 1985, over 2 million Victorians experiencing disadvantage have benefited from quality eye care consultations and services aimed at correcting refractive error and preventing eye disease.

The new glaucoma clinic will be located at the Australian College of Optometry’s main clinic in Carlton. Staffed by ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists working as a team to target patients with suspected or early glaucoma, it is planned to commence in February 2016.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable and irreversible blindness worldwide. It is estimated that 3.7% of the Australian population have glaucoma or are strong suspects for the disease. In Victoria it is estimated to affect over 200,000 people.

At a special event to celebrate the 30th anniversary and launch the new clinic, Health Minister The Hon Jill Hennessy said: “As our population ages, the prevalence of glaucoma will continue to rise, placing added demand on Victoria’s eye care services and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.”

“We’re responding to this challenge by funding a more effective and efficient model of care that will ensure low risk glaucoma patients receive earlier care and treatment.”

“Congratulations to the Victorian Eyecare Service on 30 years of providing eye care and glasses for the Victorians who need it the most.”

Mark Petty, Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital said: “Our experienced team of ophthalmologists are working closely with optometrists at the Australian College of Optometry to design a more effective and efficient model of care to address the growing demand for glaucoma services. This will provide benefits both for patients accessing the new clinic and will also improve hospital access for patients with more severe disease.”

Maureen O’Keefe, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian College of Optometry, said: “The collaboration between the Eye and Ear and the Australian College of Optometry in establishing a multidisciplinary collaborative glaucoma clinic is a significant step in collectively addressing the complex problems of glaucoma at its various stages and improving patient care.” 

 Full copy of the media release


Historical Book Launch!

Book Launch
On Saturday 24th October the ACO launched a new book in commemoration of its 75th Anniversary.  The launch was held at a cocktail party with 75 guests at the MCG, at the end of the first day of the ACO National Conference.  

The History of Australian Optometry, by Emeritus Professor Barry Cole AM, tells the 200 year story of the emergence of optometry in Australia as an important primary health care profession.  It has been carefully researched to tell the "what, why and who" of the story in the context of a changing society.  For all this it is still an easy read and is lightened with pictures, anecdotes and asides about the quirks of history.

Make sure you don't miss out on purchasing your copy! Click here to download an order form, or here for further information.


SnapforSight PromoPoster


Each year, Vision 2020 Australia uses World Sight Day to talk about the importance of eye health and vision care. This year, they are hoping to inspire Australians through images.


On 8 October 2015, Vision 2020 Australia is launching #snapforsight - a social media campaign encouraging Australians to focus on what they cherish and imagine what life would be like if they could no longer see that person, that pet, watch that game or enjoy that sunset.


Many Australians continue to take their sight for granted, thinking of vision loss and blindness as something that only happens to other people.


Vision2020 Australia hope by securing thousands of images across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that Australians will be reminded about what they would miss if they no longer had their sight and make getting their eyes examined a health priority.


Your support is needed, for more information on how you can get involved click here.


So, what do you cherish?

Professor Nathan Efron AC now a Companion of the Order of Australia 
Nathan Efron preferredThe ACO congratulates its President Prof Efron AC on being the first Optometrist to be awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in the general division of the 2015 Queens Birthday Honours List. 

Professor Efron is a Queensland-based academic optometrist and the first optometrist to have been accorded this significant honour for “eminent service to medicine in the field of clinical optometry, particularly to vision correction and corneal physiology, as an academic, researcher and author, to the treatment of juvenile diabetes, and through executive roles with national and international professional organisations’.

The Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia is the highest level of Queens Birthday Honour aside from Knights and Dames. 

The ACO is exceptionally proud of the long association Nathan has had with the College which he joined in 1977 and the privilege of his leadership as President of the ACO Council and exceptional contributions to the field of Optometry.  

For further information about Prof Efron please refer to


Dr Alan Isaacs AM awarded an Order of Australia 

Alan IsaacsThe ACO congratulates Life Member Dr Alan Isaacs AM on being awarded an Order of Australia in the general division of the 2015 Queens Birthday Honours List. 

Dr Alan Isaacs AM has been awarded this honour in recognition of his “   significant service to medical education, particularly in the field of Ophthalmology “ 

Dr Isaacs has a long and close association with the Australian College of Optometry which started in 1947 when he became the youngest member of the College Council and then in 1948 proceeded to completely rewrite the curriculum of the College’s optometry course.  He completed a medical degree at the University of Melbourne in 1962 and then trained in London as an Ophthalmologist. 

On return to Melbourne he was appointed to teach optics and refraction to ophthalmologists, which he did for the next 50 years.   However, he never lost touch with his first profession. He was awarded an honorary life membership of the Australian College of Optometry in 1963 and in 1965 he was awarded the LOSc diploma without examination. His enjoyment of ophthalmic practice is testified by his continued practice of ophthalmology, but more as an optometrist than a surgeon, past the age of 90.  

The ACO is exceptionally proud of the close association Alan has with the College and values the privilege of his leadership and exceptional contributions to the fields of Optometry and Ophthalmology 

For further information on Dr Alan Isaacs AM please refer to

Congratulations inaugural ACO-COT Graduates!
ACO-COT Graduates

The first group of graduates of the ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics were presented with their certificates as part of the celebrations at the AGM on 20th May.  
Congratulations to them all, as well as to the ACO-COT team!!


Vale Nghia Nguyen
1980 - 2015

Nghia Nguyen

The ACO community was deeply shocked and saddened over the recent tragic death of Staff Optometrist Nghia Nguyen.

Nghia died, along with a close friend, whilst snorkelling at Fingal beach, Cape Schanck on 7th March.   Nghia was 34 and leaves behind his wife Huong, 10 year old daughter Phibi and 9 year old twins, Tom and Dan.

Nghia was a very passionate person and would spend every possible moment talking endlessly about all aspects of optometry. Not because that was the only thing he could talk about, but because he loved optometry so much. Nghia became a full time staff optometrist at the Australian College of Optometry recently (after a number of years as a Sessional Optometrist) so he could practice optometry with a strong focus on clinical excellence. His keen interest in public health optometry saw him volunteering on multiple trips to Vietnam and Cambodia with Project HOPE to provide eye care to the poor and visually impaired. Most recently he had enrolled in the ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics course to broaden his scope of practice and provide leading patient care.

For the past 15 years Nghia also ran an incredibly successful tutoring school out of his house, teaching students VCE chemistry, math methods and specialist maths.   Nghia worked tirelessly to support his family; full-time, weekends and nights. He also found time to broaden his kids’ experiences, taking them to scouts and campaigning strongly for ‘proper camping’.

Nghia had a wide variety of interests outside of his work - he built his own electric bike and self-sustaining planter boxes of herbs and strawberries.  He grew an avocado from its stone.  His talents in the garden extended to the kitchen. And so did his passion. Only Nghia could argue unwaveringly how stoichiometry must be applied when making the broth of pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup).  And it was delicious. 

Although Nghia liked to talk a lot, his determination meant that his actions matched his words. He thoroughly enjoyed the physicality of challenges, whether it was running, cycling or swimming. Nghia pushed through pain and injury to complete the 2014 Melbourne Marathon. An impressive feat given how busy his family life is.

A group of Nghia's friends, including a number of ACO staff, plan to run in the Melbourne Marathon 2015 in his memory in order to raise funds for his children.

RIP Nghia, you are greatly missed.

 ACO Celebrates 75 Years

The ACO is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2015 and to celebrate we would love to hear your anecdotes and stories! We would greatly appreciate your recollections, stories and photos from your association with the ACO. Please send them through ASAP to receive a mystery reward! Please download the recollection form or contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for more information.


Leader in the field of bionic vision from Japan visits Melbourne
Professor Takashi Fujikado of Ossaka Unversity Medical School recently visited Melbourne as a part of his organisation's collaboration with Bionic Vision Australia.  At a presentation at Melbourne Town Hall on 15 October he shared his experience of testing the bionic eye in patients with the attendees at the public lecture in the Melbourne Town Hall last Wednesday. Our NVRI PhD student, Matias Maturana thanked Professor Fujikado in fluent Japanese.
Professor Fujikado

Today we are celebrating World Sight Day and calling for No More Avoidable Blindness!

On World Sight Day 2014 (October 9th) the ACO's Site Manager Angeliki Arvanitis was guest speaker at the Launch of the Vision Initiative new Multicultural Materials.  The other guest speaker was Victorian Minister for Health, Hon David Davis.

WSD14 Staff Photo Minister Pic

Furlong Park School for Deaf Children

The ACO's yearly visit to Furlong Park School for Deaf Children occurred in mid September.  Lead Optometrist Paediatric Services, Dr Nellie Deen, and Staff Optometrist, Hee Wei Yii, saw around 30 children for comprehensive eye examinations.  Of the children seen at Furlong Park 35-40% had vision related problems, compared to another local primary school where the ACO usually detects around 16% with problems. This is testament to the fact that there is an increased prevalence of significant vision impairment in children with other disabilities, making these visits even more important.
Furlong Park 2

8th National Homeless Conference

The ACO's Lead Optometrist Outreach Services Piers Carozzi attended the 8th National Homelessness Conference on the Gold Coast in September 2014.  This was an opportunity for people within the homelessness sector to network and learn. The conference provided a time to stop, think and reflect. Homelessness service managers and staff, federal, state/territory and local government representatives, academics and research as well as homelessness associations and other national organisations will all benefit from attending.  Piers presented on A partnership approach to building outreach eye care programs for people experiencing homelessness.
Piers  Kevin Andrews

CBA Grant Improves Access to Eyecare for Disadvantaged Youth

The Australian College of Optometry has been awarded a Commonwealth Bank Community Grant for the second year in a row.  The grant of $10 000 will be used to develop specialised youth eyecare education material and a portable children’s vision testing kit.  The education material (posters and brochures) will be distributed to community centres, schools and youth service providers.  The vision testing kit will allow expansion of the ACO’s youth outreach program which targets youth who are homeless, have a disability, are from a disadvantaged or refugee background, are in juvenile detention or are indigenous community members.  An example this work occurred this week when the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency arranged for ACO optometrists to visit Reservoir High School and provide eye care services to indigenous students.
Reservoir HS 2 Reservoir HS 1

2nd Prize in 3 Minute Thesis Competition

Susmita Equipment c

Congratulations to our National Vision Research Institute PhD student, Susmita Saha, on her 2nd Prize in the University of Melbourne Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience 3 Minute Thesis Competition!

Museum Gains a Piece of Political History

The Cyril Kett Optometry Museum and Archive at the Australian College of Optometry recently requested donations of spectacles worn by past (and the present) Prime Ministers of Australia.  We have now received our first donation, from the Honourable Kevin Rudd!


ACO Appoints New Director of Clinical Services


The Australian College of Optometry is very pleased to announce that, following an international search process, Dr Sharon Bentley has been appointed as our new Director of Clinical Services, replacing Associate Professor Jonathan Jackson.  Sharon is a registered optometrist with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in optometry and public health, having studied at the University of Melbourne and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, USA.  Sharon is a highly experienced optometrist clinician, educator and researcher, having worked in Australia, Canada and the USA over more than 20 years.  Sharon is committed to evidence-based public health eye care and vision service delivery and has a strong interest in the area of low vision.  Sharon will commence in her new position as ACO's Director of Clinical Services on 3rd November.

Low Vision Clinic Welcomes Referrals

The ACO's new Low Vision Clinic at Carlton, operated in partnership with Vision Australia, opened in October 2013.   All new patients are seen by both an optometrist and occupational therapist, ensuring a thorough assessment is made.  The ACO Low Vision Clinic is open to all Victorians, and subsidised glasses and aids are available to those with a Pensioner Concession Card or Health Card Card. Referrals are welcome from optometrists, ophthalmologists, GPs and others. Referral pads and brochures are available by contacting the ACO or a referral pad can be downloaded here.  


NACCHO Health Summit

ACO was a partner in an Indigenous eye health booth at the NACCHO Health Summit, held in Melbourne 23-26 June.  Our booth partners were Brien Holden Vision Research Institute, Fred Hollows Foundation, Vision 2020 Australia and Optometrists Association Australia.  Eye health featured at the summit with presentations from the ACO, Brien Holden Vision Institute, IEHU and VACCHO.  There was also a radio interview on 3 KND on Tuesday 24th June with Jimi Peters, Eye Health Project Officer VACCHO and Genevieve Napper ACO.  John Brumby, former Victorian Premier, was filmed visiting the Indigenous Eye Health booth by NITV. 

Eye Health Survey Funding

Vision 2020 has announced that it has received federal funding for the National Eye Health Survey to go ahead.

ACO features in segment on The World, ABC Television

Professor Hugh Taylor AC was the subject of a recent segment on the ABC's The World program, documenting his fight against trachoma.  Some of the segment was filmed at the ACO Carlton clinic and Lead Optometrist Aboriginal Services, Genevieve Napper, was interviewed.  See the clip here.


ACO part of winning team at M!Q Awards

The Dandenong Hospital Young Adult Diabetes Service (YADS) has recently been awarded a Monash Innovation and Quality (M!Q) Award in the category of 'excellence in supporting self managed healthcare'. ACO optometrists are involved in this service through the provision of diabetes eye screenings held on a monthly basis on Thursday evenings.    The YADS team will now be entered by Monash Health into the Victorian Public Healthcare Awards, the results of which are announced in September.

Congratulations to all involved!

Celebratory AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the ACO and NVRI was held on 21st May and included several celebratory items including awards and birthdays.  Ms Georgie Crozier, Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Health was Guest Speaker.

 _DSC9439 _DSC9381 _DSC9421

Life Membership Awards

On Friday 4th April the ACO bestowed Honourary Life Membership on two of its best known historical figures. Professors Jan Lovie-Kitchin and Ian Bailey developed the very significant LogMAR chart in the 1970s and have both had distinguished careers in optometry and vision science.

Bailey__Lovie-Kitchin_Awards Bailey__Lovie-Kitchin_LogMAR


Vision2014 - the 11th International Conference on Low Vision

The Australian College of Optometry had a huge presence at Vision Australia’s Vision2014, which took place from 31st March to 3rd April 2014 at the Melbourne Convention Centre. The Conference theme was advancing research, upgrading practice and improving participation. The ACO’s Head of Clinical Services, Associate Professor Jonathan Jackson, was on the organizing committee for the conference and also its Master of Ceremonies.  Jonathan and other ACO staff presented papers, posters, and moderated sessions. The ACO also had a booth at the conference and attendees were able to take a site visit to the ACO at the end of the conference.

TWO_172 PIC_623
Photos courtesy Vision Australia.

The Lowitja Institute 2nd National Conference on Continuous Quality Improvement in ATSI Primary Health Care

The ACO had a booth at this conference - held 17th - 18th March at Etihad Stadium - in partnership with the Indigenous Eye Health Unit (University of Melbourne), Brien Holden Vision Institute, Fred Hollows Foundation and Vision2020 Australia.

L - R: Genevieve Napper (Lead Optom Aboriginal Services, ACO), Mitchell Anjou (Indigenous Eye Health Unit),Anna Morse (Brien Holden Vision Institute), Andrea Boudville (Indigenous Eye Health Unit), Aryati Yashadhana (Brien Holden Vision Institute) and Colina Waddell (Brien Holden Vision Institute).

ACO on ABC Local Radio


Launch of ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics

The official launch of the Australian College of Optometry Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics occurred on Wednesday 19th February. Webinars commenced on Monday 10th February, with full capacity enrolment of 51 participants. 

The course is the first online course in Australia that enables scheduled medicines endorsement for registered optometrists.  Course content will be delivered by an expert team of both national and international presenters, via flexible methods including online lectures, webinars, forums and local clinical placements. 

The second intake will commence in August 2014, expressions of interest are being taken now and can be registered on the ACO-COT webpage.  Applications for the next course will open on 1 April 2014.

More information.


Eyes on the 2014 Australia Day Honours List

Mr Joseph Chakman AM (pictured below left), previously National CEO of the OAA for 30 years, was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia, for significant service to opometry and public health, particularly through policy reform.  
Dr Darryl Gregor OAM (pictured below right), a pioneer of cataract surgery and a leading ocular therapeutics educator, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia, for service to ophthalmology, and to education.  
The Australian College of Optometry extends our congratulations to both gentlemen for their distinguished services to eye care.

JoeChakman  DarrylGregor

NVRI Grant Win

The National Vision Research Institute (NVRI), a division of the ACO, has won a $22 600 grant from the William Buckland Foundation.  The grant will be used to purchase equipment to be used in conducting an examination of the experience dependent neural plasiticity in the visual cortex.  The research will be led by Professor Michael Ibbotson, Dr Markus Hietanen and Dr Shaun Cloherty.  The NVRI team are pictured below.


ACO Affiliation Agreement with Eye & Ear

On Monday 16th December, the ACO and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital signed an Affiliation Agreement.  This affiliation is a major step forward in our partnership and further highlights the improved integration of primary and secondary care services that is being achieved by ophthalmology and optometry working together to provide care for those patients needing both ophthalmological and optometric management.  The agreement will be for a period of three years in the first instance until 31st December 2016, with the affiliation being reviewed annually in the intervening years.  

ARC Centre of Excellence in Integrative Brain Function

Professor Michael Ibbotson, Director of the National Vision Research Institute (NVRI), a division of the Australian College of Optometry, is one of the 14 Chief Investigators in the consortium that was recently awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Integrative Brain Function.  The consortium is being led by Monash University and includes Australia’s top six research universitites.  The ARC have awarded $20 million and the participating universities will also provide considerable additional support, to fund the Centre over the next 7 years.  The Centre will study the neural basis of attention, prediction and decision-making through all of the senses, including sight. 

ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics

The ACO is pleased to announce that it's therapeutics course is now accredited by OCANZ and approved by the Optometry Board of Australia (OBA). Successful completion of the ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics (ACO-COT) will enable scheduled medicines endorsement for registered optometrists in Australia and New Zealand. More information.

Mallee District Aboriginal Health Service Opening

ACO staff attended the opening of the Mallee District Aboriginal Health Service on 31st October, whilst they were working in the area with the Visiting Optometrists Scheme (VOS).  The building was opened by Andrew Broad MP, Federal Member for Mallee.  The ACO has been providing optometry services through VOS at what was formerly the Mildura Aboriginal Corporation in their old building four times each year since March 2011, in partnership with local VES optometrist Stephen Jones.  This work is ongoing for 2013/2014.

 Andrew_Broad_MP_with_Cheryl_Vickery  Angela_Hall_Kylie_Belling_and_Genevieve_Napper

Mobile Eye Care Launch - Ouyen

On 17th October, the ACO launched a new Mobile Eye Care Service, in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Mallee Track Health and Community Services, in Ouyen.
 Mobile_Eye_Care_Launch Katrina_Koenig_with_patient_a

NIE Business Recognition Awards Ceremony

The Northern Indigenous Employment (NIE) Business Recognition Awards 2013 were held on Friday 25th October. The awards aim to recognise businesses that have shown best practice in employing and training Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  The ACO was a proud recipient of an award for the employment of our Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Cheryl Vickery.  Congratulations to all involved!


Low Vision Clinic Launch

D80_3246    D80_3293

Thursday 10th October was World Sight Day, an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and low vision.

To celebrate, Vision Australia and the Australian College of Optometry launched a new clinic that will provide a full service facility for low vision patients. The launch was attended by Jennifer Kanis MLA, Member for Melbourne (pictured above).


Vision Initiative Pilot Programs Launch at ACO

D30_3794    D80_3178

A new pilot program launched on World Sight Day (Thursday, 10 October) by the Victorian Minister for Health, the Hon David Davis MLC and Vision 2020 Australia aims to help Victorians save their sight.
(Photos by Les O’Rourke courtesy of Vision 2020 Australia) 


Get Your Eyes Tested

ACO Staff Optometrist Angela Hall (left) is pictured with AFL Indigenous Ambassador and Essendon player, Paddy Ryder, and Vision 2020 CEO, Jennifer Gersbeck, promoting World Sight Day 2013. (Photo by Les O’Rourke courtesy of Vision 2020 Australia). For more information click here.

$10 000 CBA Community Grant Awarded

On 25th September the ACO was very pleased to receive a $10, 000 Commonwealth Bank Community Grant for the purchase of specialist equipment to be used in providing eye care services to disadvantaged young people through the ACO's Outreach and Aboriginal Services programs. Three to four hundred young people will benefit from this program each year.  The ACO also provides affordable eye care each year to more than 70,000 disadvantaged Victorians with complex health conditions.

Ho Wah in the Hot Seat!!



The ACO's very own Ho Wah Ng, Acting Manager Visual Function Clinic, appeared on Hot Seat with Eddie Maguire on Tuesday 3rd September. During recording Ho Wah made great use of the opportunity to talk on national television about the ACO “providing accessible and affordable eyecare to people of limited means”, its main activities “we mainly see people with concession cards, health care card holders…one of the main causes of blindness is uncorrected refractive error – people don’t have access to glasses” and Outreach Services “we do a lot of work in homeless drop in centres.  I’m there quite a lot doing outreach work with people with mental illness and other issues like that”!  Thanks Ho Wah for being a wonderful ambassador for the ACO!!

Indigenous Students Work Experience Program


The ACO, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne’s Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences and Indigenous Eye Health Unit, along with Murrup Barak Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development hosted a work experience program in July 2013 for Indigenous students to help raise awareness of pathways into careers in eye health and blindness prevention.  Within Victoria, which has an Indigenous population approaching 40,000, and a registered optometrist population of 1000, there are no known Indigenous optometrists.   The work experience program included a range of hands-on activities such as a demonstration of an eye examination with an optometrist and the manufacture of a pair of glasses.

Lead Optometrist Aboriginal Services ACO, Dr Genevieve Napper said “We have a great team  of staff  working  with  Aboriginal  eye  health  services  in Victoria,  but what would  be even more fantastic is if there were some indigenous optometrists working with the Indigenous community.  Aboriginal  Liaison  Officer  Cheryl  Vickery  said  “It

would be great if some Indigenous young people were able to play a role in working to eliminate avoidable blindness in the community”.


Victorian Government Announces Funding Boost for Aboriginal Eye Care

$750 000 will be provided over 4 years to the ACO to continue the very successful Victorian Aboriginal Spectacle Subsidy Scheme readmore


Self-education expense deductions decision deferred

envelopeThe ACO is pleased with the Government's decision to defer the introduction of the proposed $2000 cap on tax deductibility of self-education expenses until 1 July 2015. This deferral will allow for further consultation and a better informed decision making on the matter. The ACO and many other organisations have lobbied against the proposed cap and welcome this delay. The ACO will continue to consult on this issue on behalf of the optometry community. The cap deferral was announced in the Government's Economic Statement, page 34. The ACO's submissions to Treasury and the Minister can be found under News on the ACO website.

ACO and UM sign Affiliation Agreement

The ACO is pleased to announce the recent signing of a new Affiliation Agreement between the University of Melbourne and the Australian College of Optometry, which will remain in place until 31 December 2022 in the first instance.  

This Agreement recognises the long term historical association between the University and the College, particularly in the areas of teaching and research, as well as the valuable interactions between our staff and students and the close proximity of the College and University in the Carlton/Parkville precinct.  

Optometrist awarded OAM


Dr Jonathan Nathan OAM was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2013 for   service to medical education, particularly in the field of optometry.  
Dr Nathan was president of the ACO from 1970 - 1978 and was involved in the establishment of the NVRI.

Click here for further information about Dr.Nathan.



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