Staff and industry stakeholders gathered at the Flinders Vision Clinic on Wednesday (October 1) to celebrate the official launch of the new eye care centre, which was opened by Flinders University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, and Kaurna MP Mr Chris Picton.
The Flinders Vision Clinic opened its doors on Sturt campus in March 2014 and has treated approximately 600 patients in its first six months of operation.
The clinic provides high quality eye care to patients who traditionally access public hospital ophthalmology services but can be effectively treated in community-based settings.
In addition to providing first-class optometry care in state-of-the-art facilities, Professor Barber said the purpose-built learning and teaching facility will significantly enhance clinical training outcomes for Flinders students.
“As the only provider of an optometry qualification in South Australia, Flinders University takes its position as leaders in this field incredibly seriously and is committed to producing optometry services, research and graduates who can transform eye care health,” Professor Barber said.
“Approximately 75 per cent of fourth and fifth year students will have undertaken placement in the Flinders Vision Clinic by the end of the year,” he said.
“Feedback from placement partners who host our students has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly in regards to the high levels of skill and knowledge our optometry students possess.”
Mr Picton, who helped unveil a commemorative plaque at the launch event, highlighted the importance of new and innovative approaches to eye care to reduce pressure on the public hospital system, and to meet the strong demand for optometrists in rural and remote areas.
“The clinic provides South Australia with new capacities in eye health management by providing primary screening, diagnosis and referral of eye pathology and monitoring of people with eye disease who do not yet require surgery,” Mr Picton said in his address.
“Flinders University’s commitment to teaching and student practice through the Flinders Vision Clinic, coupled with opportunities for clinical placements in regional and remote settings, will make a significant contribution to the future of remote health,” he said.
“The undersupply of optometrists in South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and rural and remote areas of the eastern states provides real opportunities for Flinders to make a difference in transforming the Australian remote and rural eye care landscape.”