IRIS Symposium

IRISNoel Hayman is celebrating the delivery of its first scientific symposium at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) Scientific Congress held in Hobart from the 2nd to the 6th of November. 

Titled ‘Closing the Gap through Clinical Commitment and Technology’ the one and a half hour Symposium featured addresses from 5 leading health professionals providing a ‘whole of picture’ view of the challenges and successes in delivering Indigenous eye health across Australia.

Key Speakers included:

  1.   Brisbane Ophthalmologist and Symposium Chair Dr Mark Loane (AO) who introduced the IRIS Program, its successes and the challenges of only providing Indigenous eye health services in the remotest parts of Australia
  2.   Alice Springs Ophthalmologist, Dr Tim Henderson: Service delivery in Central Australia where resources are tight, service gaps, and ongoing challenges in Indigenous eye care
  3.   Perth Ophthalmologist, Associate Professor Angus Turner: Service delivery in remote Western Australia where there is a higher level of resources, service gaps, and ongoing challenges in Indigenous eye care.
  4.   Research Director of the Australian E-health Research Centre, Professor Yogesan Kanagasingam: Satellite-Enabled Specialist Eye Care to Remote Australia
  5.   Director of the Inala Health Service, Associate Professor Noel Hayman: Improving Indigenous access to health services in an urban setting.

70 participants with a mix of ophthalmic, allied health, academic and eye health administrators attended the Symposium. Key outcomes included:

  1.   Getting a clear picture of the successful clinical and surgical approaches to delivering eye care to some of the most remote Indigenous populations in Australia (specifically in WA, NT and QLD), the lessons learnt and the barriers to further ‘closing the gap’ for these communities.
  2.   Understanding better how the internet and eye telehealth solutions can assist in ‘closing the gap’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in remote Australia.
  3.   Reflections and lessons learnt in the delivery of health services to urban Indigenous communities through the example of the Inala Indigenous Health Service.

Dr Loane has endorsed the Symposium as a meaningful forum for the sharing of approaches and lessons learnt and engagement of the broader Ophthalmic and eye health community in the improvement of eye health services to Indigenous Australians. 

Of particular note in the Symposium was the participation of Dr Noel Hayman (pictured), who flew specifically to Hobart to participate. Dr Hayman is Queensland’s first Indigenous Doctor, and amongst much other recognition was awarded as Queenslands’ Australian of the Year in 2011.

IRIS would like to acknowledge and thank the Symposium participants and the RANZCO audience for an engaging and informative session.

We look forward to continuing to provide and facilitate engagement and discussion about Indigenous eye health in Australia.  


footer_logosFunding for this project is provided to the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists by the Australian Government
under the Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program – Eye Health Teams for Rural Australia measure