Glaucoma Australia has appointed Specsavers Optometry Development Manager Dr Ben Ashby to its Council, following a competitive process. He has also been appointed as Chair of Glaucoma Australia’s Optometry Committee, having served as a committee member since 2016.

In addition to being a key member of the Specsavers Support Office Team, Ben is a nationally-known optometrist. He began his optometry career as a clinical optometrist before spending time in research and teaching, having been a lecturer at both Deakin University and UNSW.

He was formerly the course convenor for the UNSW post-graduate therapeutics program, which trains therapeutically-endorsed optometrists to prescribe medications for patients of glaucoma, and continues to be part of the Optometry Australia Glaucoma Advisory Group.

In his new roles, Ben will support Glaucoma Australia to deliver measurable strategies that eliminate glaucoma blindness. He will also lead a passionate committee of optometrists whose proactive efforts to drive change will help identify the 150,000 Australians with glaucoma who have not yet been diagnosed.

Ben is the second optometrist to be appointed to the Glaucoma Australia council, following Tony Gibson, with the move said to further recognise the importance of optometry in detecting and managing patients with glaucoma.

In a statement, Glaucoma Australia stated, “[Ben] is well-qualified to assist Tony and Glaucoma Australia to harness the significant opportunity offered by the simultaneous development and rising adoption of technologies that aid detection, connect healthcare providers, and create new avenues to help those with glaucoma and at risk of glaucoma.

“The growing body of research on how to more accurately target those at risk of glaucoma gives Glaucoma Australia a genuine chance to eliminate glaucoma blindness. Optometry is uniquely positioned in healthcare to bring about this change and is already involved in connecting glaucoma patients to Glaucoma Australia services.”

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. It is said to affect more than 300,000 Australians, with the proportion of glaucoma patients continuing to increase.

Glaucoma Australia, the peak glaucoma association in Australia, aims to eliminate glaucoma blindness by educating and increasing awareness within the community, providing patient support, and funding glaucoma research.