This year marks 20 years of excellence in patient care, research and education for Vision Eye Institute, one of Australia’s largest and most respected providers of specialist eye care and an established operator of day hospitals.
We are delighted to announce the launch of the Future Vision Foundation (a not-for-profit research foundation) and Vision Hospital Group to mark our 20-year milestone.
A vision realised
Vision Eye Institute was incorporated on 28 November 2001.
The company (then known as Vision Group) was the world’s first publicly listed ophthalmic company and one of the earliest publicly listed group medical practices. We continue to evolve and innovate to this day, proudly setting a high benchmark for patient care in Australia.
Now privately owned, the company started as a group medical practice in Melbourne with 3 consulting clinics and 2 day surgeries before expanding to cover the eastern seaboard and, more recently, South Australia.
While Vision Eye Institute was officially established in 2001, many of the eye clinics and day surgeries that have become part of the group have been operating for far longer – some, like our Camberwell and Footscray clinics, for over 60 years.
One of Vision Eye Institute’s founding partners, Dr Joe Reich AM, explains that the then Camberwell Eye Clinic was the first of the suburban eye clinics built in Melbourne in 1959. ‘This was later followed by the addition of Melbourne’s first two-theatre day surgery in 1985,’ he says. ‘Then, just over 20 years ago, we started to think about the possibility of amalgamating with other clinics and this was where Vision Eye Institute was born.’
Did you know? Cataract surgery used to require a 5-day hospital stay and the second eye was operated on 3–6 months later!
Today, Vision Eye Institute operates 20 consulting clinics, 10 day surgeries and 4 laser suites in Australia, which are staffed by 130 doctors and nearly 500 support personnel.
CEO James Thiedeman says several factors differentiate Vision Eye Institute from other providers, particularly its scale, access to technology and long-standing culture of collaboration and innovation.
‘We attract and retain the highest calibre of people – ophthalmologists, optometrists, orthoptists, nurses and support staff. Vision Eye Institute’s team of doctors and ancillary staff look after more than 100,000 patients every year. Without question, our people and the exceptional care they provide are what make us a world-leading eye care provider,’ says Mr Thiedeman.
A/Prof Tim Roberts, Vision Eye Institute National Medical Director: ‘Vision Eye Institute is on the cutting edge of technology and always mindful of what we can do to provide better resources for all of us to do our best work. Our mission of helping patients (and knowing that the work we’re doing every day is making an impact and transforming the lives of patients who need our help) is inspiring. Great staff and teamwork are our foundation, and during the pandemic, we’ve strived to support our doctors and all the team and keep everyone well informed. We are focused on encouraging and empowering all the VEI team to continue growing and expanding their skills and careers.’
A/Prof Michael Lawless, whose Chatswood clinic joined Vision Eye Institute in 2005: ‘It was about being able to create an environment with like-minded people, share and discuss complex cases, access the latest equipment and technology, conduct research and accept academic positions.’
Ms Amanda Cranage, General Manager (Victorian Operations and National Projects): ‘One of the reasons I’ve been with Vision Eye Institute for so long is the team. I can honestly say, all of our staff quite naturally put the patient first. I work with these people every day and am immensely proud of their professionalism and their shared drive to provide the very best care to our patients. We all have a shared goal of providing the very best visual outcomes for patients.’
Full circle with Future Vision Foundation
Vision Eye Institute has a deep heritage in ophthalmic research to acquire new knowledge and improve patient care, says Mr Thiedeman.
‘This constant search for better diagnosis, better treatments and better healthcare experiences is what drives us.’
‘Our scale places us in a privileged position – one that lends itself to giving back to the community. Through the not-for-profit Future Vision Foundation, we can do more to encourage and support the research endeavours of our staff and associated clinicians. Support will be in the form of funding, clinical resources, new initiatives and mentoring,’ he says.
‘The Foundation has been a dream since Vision Eye Institute first began and everyone is thrilled to watch it come to life. We are also delighted to have secured several prominent experts for the board of directors, including Professor Fiona Stapleton, Ms Fiona Davies, Mr Joe Redner and Associate Professor Tim Roberts,’ he says.
‘The Foundation looks forward to working alongside other research organisations within ophthalmology, optometry and industry and contributing to the excellent research already being undertaken in Australia.’
The Future Vision Foundation is part of the OneVision ESG program, which encompasses Vision Eye Institute’s various environmental, social and governance initiatives.
Day surgery expansion leads to Vision Hospital Group
Over the last few years, Vision Eye Institute has commissioned a number of greenfield day hospitals, while expanding its hospital offering beyond ophthalmic care to provide a wider range of surgical services. In recognition of this new direction, we have launched the Vision Hospital Group to brings our ten day surgeries together under one banner.
‘We genuinely believe we provide world-class care, along with the infrastructure and know-how to meet the growing needs of local communities. While continuing to work closely with ophthalmologists, we now also partner with surgeons in the fields of gastroenterology, pain management, plastic surgery, dermatology and urology to name a few,’ says Mr Thiedeman.
‘Vision Hospital Group’s core philosophy is the practice of surgery deserves a highly focused, specialist environment where surgeons are supported to perform at their best and patients experience exemplary, seamless care,’ he says.
Timeline of Vision Eye Institute’s evolution
And a trip down memory lane!