Centre for Eye Health undergoing strategic review

Centre for Eye Health is currently undergoing a strategic review to redefine our approach to the early detection of preventable blindness, marking the beginning of an exciting new chapter for our organisation.

The Centre was established through a joint initiative between Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and UNSW Sydney in 2008, with the aim of reducing preventable blindness through the early detection of eye disease.

As Australia’s first eyecare facility to offer advanced eye imaging and visual system diagnostic services at no charge to the patient or referring professional, we currently provide clinical services to over 13,000 patients each year across multiple locations.

In addition to collaborating with community optometrists, ophthalmologists and local area health districts to achieve impressive patient outcomes, we have achieved international recognition through invitations to speak at national and international conferences and produced hundreds of research papers with global impact. We have also delivered undergraduate and postgraduate education with UNSW and developed and distributed educational resources to community optometrists around the world.

Our evolution and success to date has been led by Professor Michael Kalloniatis, our founding director. Michael has recently stepped down from this role, and we would like to acknowledge and thank him for his contribution over the past 12 years. Michael will continue his research and to support his students at UNSW.

Under a new operating model, Centre for Eye Health will target services to assist patients with the highest clinical need in our most vulnerable communities.

“At UNSW Medicine & Health, and School of Optometry and Vision Science, we are working with health services and agencies to ensure discoveries made at UNSW translate rapidly into improved health care,” said Professor Lisa Keay, Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science.

“Our partnership with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT via Centre for Eye Health is an ideal test bed for innovations in prevention of vision loss and bridging gaps between medical care and rehabilitation services.

“Building on the successes of Centre for Eye Health, our work with eye healthcare services will play a critical role in addressing the growing burden of chronic, co-morbid eye disease and burgeoning healthcare costs by identifying affordable models of care, and implementing innovative approaches to preventing, treating and managing eye disease,” she said.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Chief Executive, Dale Cleaver said, “The future model will better align with the purpose of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, which is to see beyond low vision, find ways to support independence, look for solutions to make big differences and create connected communities,”

“We are excited to continue the positive impact we have for our most vulnerable clients in the early detection space and to leverage the expertise of the Centre for Eye Health to focus on innovation and stakeholder relationships, ensuring positive outcomes across our communities,” he said.

Both Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and UNSW are committed to ensuring the expertise developed at Centre for Eye Health over the past 12 years continues to grow and have a positive impact on both patients and industry.

A project group called Horizon, which includes members from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, UNSW and Centre for Eye Health, has been established. Horizon will map the future strategy of our Centre to ensure it aligns with the mission of both Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and UNSW.

“With the ever growing demand in the early detection space, we are excited to continue the innovation of our services to ensure maximum impact across communities with the greatest need. This will be achieved by exploring new joint initiatives, and providing agility in this space,” said Sarah Holland, Executive Manager of Centre for Eye Health and member of Horizon.

Thank you for your commitment and support to date. We look forward to continuing to work with you as we create a new future for Centre for Eye Health. There will be another update later in the autumn with more information about our future operating model.