Member Contact: Maureen O'Keefe
Position: Chief Executive Officer & also Director of BioMelbourrne Network
The Australian College of Optometry (ACO) is an independent, not for profit, membership based organisation, dedicated to preserving sight and preventing blindness.
The ACO was founded and incorporated in 1940 and is dedicated to:
• providing affordable eye care, principally to communities experiencing disadvantage, through the provision of comprehensive public health eye care services and an integrated primary care and specialist service, with referral pathways to ophthalmology and other appropriate health care.
• advancing eye and vision care through research aimed at preservation of sight, prevention of blindness and improvements in vision care and treatment and graduate education.
• supporting the education and development of current and new generations of optometrists through the provision of teaching, resources, facilities, educational awards and the setting of professional standards, the provision of advice and support services to the optometry profession and to members of the ACO.
The ACO delivers a major public eye health program for the Victorian government and indigenous health programs for the Commonwealth government, and undertakes basic, clinical and translational research in vision and eye health through the National Vision Research Institute (NVRI), a division of the ACO. The ACO’s academic, professional, research and service delivery programs are characterised by innovation and impact and are supported by a team of dedicated staff including optometrists, researchers and educators. The ACO is an independent organisation that aims to be a ‘voice of the profession’ in partnership with the sector in the area of advocating for ethical practice and standards and inspiring up-and-coming practitioners to pursue a higher level of optometric practice in both specialised and general practice and imbue them with a sense of responsibility for public health. The ACO also seeks to show leadership in collaboration with ophthalmology, with developing and publishing new models of collaborative and public health care. The ACO collaborates with national bodies with similar goals such as Vision 2020 Australia and Optometry Australia.
The ACO is the only organisation in Australia that specialises in the important area of providing public health optometry care, as well as providing clinic based and outreach optometric clinical training and observation to undergraduate and postgraduate optometry students in a public health environment.