ASO Advocacy in Action Timeline

We recognise it is important for not only our members but the broader community to understand the role of the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) in safeguarding ophthalmology practice and the accessibility of eye health services in Australia.

Since the ASO was established in 1982, it has grown from humble beginnings to become a leader of medico-political advocacy in Australia.

Click here to download a copy of the ASO Advocacy in Action Timeline or scroll on to review some of the Society's more recent wins for Australian ophthalmologists and their patients.

Are you an Australian ophthalmologist or patient with an issue that requires championing? Please reach out to us at


2023 — Present

The ASO capitalised on the opportunity of World Ophthalmology Day to champion public awareness around Ophthalmology and the role of Australian Ophthalmologists in the delivery of eye care and surgery.

The soft launch in 2023 was highly received and attracted global attention across ophthalmic and health care communities on social media. 



2023 — Present

As part of ongoing reform into cosmetic surgery, use of the title ‘oculoplastic surgeon’ has been restricted.

The ASO continues to advocate for recognition of ophthalmologists with sub-specialisation in oculoplastics. 



2022 — Present

To continue to advocate for the eye health sector and increase community health literacy, the ASO launched a public summer eye safety campaign to educate on appropriate eyewear and sun safety practices, the risks of ocular melanoma, and the eye injuries every Australian should avoid during a summer of recreation.

Through media attention, the campaign reached an audience of 1 in 12 Australians.


To protect patients undergoing cosmetic surgery, the Federal Minister for Health ordered a number of comprehensive reviews into the regulation of cosmetic surgery, including a national review into all medical practitioners using the title surgeon.

As a result, 16 recommendations were endorsed by AHPRA and the medical boards to improve the regulation of medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery.

Following extensive advocacy by the ASO, the Health Minister announced a legislative change to restrict the use of the title ‘surgeon’ to only three specialist areas: surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, and ophthalmology.





At a time when cost-of-living pressures were on the rise, the ASO successfully lobbied against a proposed 70% cut to patient intravitreal injection rebates.



2021 — Present

The ASO led a national public awareness campaign calling for stronger laws to prevent US-style managed care in Australia. As a result, the ACCC issued strict criteria on an American health fund from extending its ‘buying power’ and influence across the Australian health fund sector.




The ASO was instrumental in ensuring that the Medical Services Advisory Committee approved an MBS item for standalone micro-bypass glaucoma stents, commonly referred to as MGBS or MIGS surgery.

This innovative technology provides a major advancement for the treatment of patients with Glaucoma.



2019 — Present

The ASO championed a campaign to advise patients about vital eye care information, including informed financial consent, out of pocket costs, and health insurance rights.



2018 — Present

The ASO led fellow medical groups (including AMA NSW, COPS, ASOS, ASA & ANZAOMS) in launching this influential campaign to raise consumer awareness about their right to switch private health insurers, without affecting waiting periods, if they weren’t satisfied with their levels of service.




The ASO successfully lobbied the Federal Health Minister to squash pre-approval activity for private health insurers. This put a stop to inappropriate managed care strategies by Health Insurers.





The ASO and RANZCO secured Ophthalmologists in the pre-eminent role of treating Glaucoma.




The ASO and RANZCO successfully lobbied for an increase to the Paediatric Ophthalmology Medicare patient rebate.

This resulted in paediatric patients receiving a 50% increase to the Medicare rebate.



2013 — Present

The ASO and RANZCO successfully lobbied for an increase to the Paediatric Ophthalmology Medicare patient rebate.

This resulted in paediatric patients receiving a 50% increase to the Medicare rebate.




The ASO attained funding for the first Indigenous and Remote Eye Health Service (IRIS).

Since its inception, IRIS has delivered over 3,000 cataract surgeries to First Nations patients in rural and remote areas of Australia.



2009 — 2010

In 2009, the ASO fought to protect the Medicare patient rebate for cataract surgery from government cuts and won.

This resulted in a reversal of the Federal Government’s former decision to cut the cataract rebate for patients by 50%.