Melbourne shows vision with focus on optometry events

Melbourne is showing vision as a leader in eye health, partnering a major international optometry congress win with its existing events focused on the optometry field.

Some 2,000 international eye health professionals are expected to meet at the World Congress of Optometry (WCO 2021) in September 2021. The three-day Congress at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) will provide local optometrists with valuable exposure to global knowledge, experience and approaches to practice.

Melbourne has the largest concentration of eye and vision researchers in Australia.

Pete Haydon, CEO of Optometry Victoria South Australia, said: “Optometry in Australia is a strong and thriving profession. We believe that we have the best destination in Australia for this Congress, and we’re looking forward to working with the Melbourne Convention Bureau and other partners in bringing it here. The support we’re getting from the sector to date has been fantastic.”

Melbourne recently hosted successful optometry meeting the Southern Regional Congress (SRC). This was merged for the first time with the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association (ODMA) to create O=MEGA19, a new biennial event which aims to be the largest education, eye care and eyewear event in the Southern Hemisphere.

This created a readily engaged audience in the optometry industry, providing a successful platform for WCO 2021 to be hosted in the city alongside O=MEGA21. Leading international manufacturers and equipment suppliers will share the latest technological and patient care advances.

“Partnering O=MEGA21 with the WCO 2021 will be a tremendous opportunity for our members to come together, share ideas, and make international connections,” Haydon added.

The bid for the WCO was secured by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) in partnership with Optometry Victoria South Australia and the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association, with support from the Victorian State Government and Tourism Australia’s Business Events Bid Fund Program.

As well as enabling optometrists to maximise their potential to make a significant impact on eye health in Australia and beyond, the event is anticipated to generate almost $12 million in economic impact for the state of Victoria.

MCB Acting Chief Executive Officer Julia Swanson said the win underlines Melbourne’s reputation as a knowledge capital and innovation centre: “Melbourne is recognised as a premium destination in hosting global events in the medical field and the city provides the platform for further research and development while contributing to the economy.”

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said this was a major win for Melbourne: “As a country, we have a distinguished track record of hosting large-scale international business events, and I am pleased that the Morrison Government’s Bid Fund Program is continuing to assist in the conversion of new business for Australia which provides a boost to our economy.”