Geoff Pollard has retired from Glaucoma Australia, where he held the role of National Executive Officer for almost seven years, from 27 April 2011 to January 31 2018.
Mr. Pollard said he leaves the Association in good hands, having almost doubled its asset base and developed a strategic direction to take it forward. Additionally, the Association has embarked on important research projects and education campaigns.
Currently underway are studies that aim to improve patient understanding of Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) and standardise SLT procedures for maximum outcome; and campaigns to increase awareness of glaucoma among those at risk (particularly younger generations). Following a successful pilot study (TARRGET), profiling the glaucoma risk of relatives of people diagnosed with advanced glaucoma, the NHMRC has provided a three-year grant to take this nationally. The study, led by Professor David Mackey and Professor Jamie Craig, is something Mr. Pollard is passionate about. “The randomised pilot tested the direct relative of 100 cases of advanced glaucoma and found over half were glaucoma suspects or were diagnosed with the disease, a prevalence at a particular point in time that is staggering. The results demonstrate just how important it is to make relatives aware of their risk factors and encourage them to have their eyes checked.”
He said educating patients and their relatives requires a change in the way eye care professionals (ECPs) deliver consultations.
In his own gentle, persuasive way, Geoff has implemented Association policies that have enhanced liaison with all eyecare professional groups
“We need them to ask patients to give permission for their details to be passed on to Glaucoma Australia, We can provide the education that not only gives the patient the best outcome, but also gets their relatives involved.
Mr. Pollard recently formalised a partnership with Oculo (a first for a not for profit organisation) to automate ECP referrals of people diagnosed with glaucoma to the Association for essential education and support. This is designed to provide a way to make contact with, and educate, patients’ relatives.
Glaucoma Australia’s new strategic direction will see the Association focus more on increasing awareness of the importance of early detection, something Mr. Pollard said he will miss.
Associate Professor Ivan Goldberg AM said Mr Pollard’s contribution to glaucoma awareness in Australia has been significant.
“2018 is a momentous year for Glaucoma Australia: it marks the 30th anniversary of its foundation and it farewells Geoff Pollard after seven years as National Executive Officer.
“During that time, Geoff has worked productively with three Presidents and an expanding Board to transform the Association, its mission and goals, strategies and priorities.
“Gone are the resource-demanding small community meetings trying to raise community awareness of the need for eye tests, replaced by a clear focus on high-risk first-degree relatives.
“In his own gentle, persuasive way, Geoff has implemented Association policies that have enhanced liaison with all eyecare professional groups; that have initiated research projects with several university groups around the country (resulting in peer-reviewed publications); that have transformed the organisation from paper-based to multi-channel interactions with persons with glaucoma and the broader community; and that have built solidly on MOUs with RANZCO and OA.”