Contact lens rebates
KA has pursued its efforts to improve rebates for contact
lenses; notably rigid gas permeables. Retiring vice president Matt
Vaughan has arranged for an article arguing the KA case for higher
private health fund rebates for contact lenses to appear in the Optometry
Association of Australia newsletter next month. An article from Brisbane
optometrist John Mountford, who strongly supports KAís position,
will also be published in the same issue
.John, who develops contact lenses for keratoconus,
is urging all optometrists to lobby the health funds over the issue
and to promote membership of KA amongst their patients to help strengthen
our role as advocates on this issue. These articles will be
posted on the website after publication.
Belinda and I are meeting with the private health funds
next month in Sydney to argue the case for treating contact lenses
for keratoconus as a medical device and for raising rebates from
their currently unacceptable level. Weíll keep you informed on progress ≠ but
donít hold your breath at this stage.
The committee has been actively pursuing a series of
initiatives to raise the profile of KA amongst eye-carers and within
the general community.
Perhaps the most noteworthy initiative recently was
the contact made with the producers of Channel 9 RPA series, which
showed a corneal transplant last month. This led to RPA putting
a link to our website on their website. We subsequently received
a flood of inquiries about keratoconus and the Association from RPA
The committee will continue to take advantage of all
such opportunities to promote the Association and its activities.
Membership has continued to grow rapidly. The
number of full members rose from 307 in June 2003 to 423 in June
2004 and currently stands at 483 Australia-wide ≠ an increase of
57% in the past 16 months.
Membership in NSW has almost doubled in that same period
from 51 in June 2003 to 98 today. Thanks to the efforts of John Mountford,
Queensland membership has jumped 130% to 71 members while Western
Australian membership has climbed to 32.
Although Victoria remains the centre of our activities
with 233 members, growth in NSW and Queensland has reduced the Victorian
share in total membership to just under 50% for the first time.
would like to extend a vote of thanks to retiring vice president
Matt Vaughan who has gone overseas to pursue new career paths. Matt
was a founding member of KA and its committee. Often in these volunteer-run
organizations, people tend to arrive with great enthusiasm but over
time lose interest or fail to maintain their involvement because
of other activities. Not Matt. He was a dynamic, reliable and hard
working member of the group and both initiated and participated in
many of the associationís actions. He continued his work for the
Association while completing a university degree and despite the
problems and hardship he suffered as a result of losing useable vision
in one eye. He then required a corneal transplant, which was followed
by a lengthy recovery period. Rather than simply disengage from the
Association at that time to concentrate on his own personal situation,
Matt decided to draw on his experience to assist others to confront
and overcome the many complications caused by this eye disease.
he gave presentations on his experiences with keratoconus and his
corneal transplant at information seminars organized by the association.
Amongst his other achievements, he launched an inquiry into health
insurance rebates for keratoconus in an effort to assist financially
disadvantaged patients. He also provided counseling to members of
the association as part of its support work.
be sorely missed by the committee and we wish him all the very best
in his future activities and with his keratoconus. We also wish he
would start using traditional wetting and cleaning solutions for
his contact lenses.
would also like to thank the College of Optometry for its support
during the year and for kindly allowing us to use its facilities
to hold our seminars and meetings. Special thanks also to the optometrists
and ophthalmologists who support our work and assist us by providing
technical answers to the many issues raised by members. Finally,
many thanks to our hard-working committee for their efforts during
the year and in particular to Belinda for allowing us to hold our
meetings at her place.
again for coming along tonight and supporting the association.
I would like to announce the associationĎs new officeholders. As
only one nomination for each position was received by November 3,
2003, the following persons were elected unopposed.
- Belinda Cerritelli
Treasurer ≠ Elizabeth
President ≠ Larry
was received for vice president and that position remains vacant.
I would also
like to welcome Helen Rizvi to the committee. Helen will soon be
based in Brisbane and hopes to be able to organize a support group
there in 2005.