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The Australian College of Optometry (ACO), in collaboration with the University of Melbourne's Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences and Indigenous Eye Health Unit, along with Murrup Barak Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development hosted a work experience program in July 2013 for Indigenous students to help raise awareness of pathways into careers in eye health and blindness prevention.
Within Victoria, which has an Indigenous population approaching 40,000, and a registered optometrist population of 1000, there are no known Indigenous optometrists. The work experience program included a range of hands-on activities such as a demonstration of an eye examination with an optometrist and the manufacture of a pair of glasses.
Lead Optometrist Aboriginal Services ACO, Dr Genevieve Napper said 'We have a great team of staff working with Aboriginal eye health services in Victoria, but what would be even more fantastic is if there were some Indigenous optometrists working with the Indigenous community.
Aboriginal Liaison Officer Cheryl Vickery said 'It would be great if some Indigenous young people were able to play a role in working to eliminate avoidable blindness in the community'.
Dr Genevieve Napper
Aboriginal Liaison Officer