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School of Optometry and Vision Science

Keep up to date with all the latest news and information from the School of Optometry and Vision Science.

Message from the Head of School

Tēnā koutou katoa

Welcome to the October newsletter, the first issue following our decision to switch to publication every other month.

This issue we welcome Tina Gao as a newly appointed lecturer. Tina is a binocular vision specialist who has been working with Jo Black and myself on amblyopia and squint and I am delighted she is coming on board in a permanent capacity.

As part of the Well Child Tamariki Ora review, the School of Optometry and Vision Science was recently asked to complete a rapid literature review to answer a series of questions related to vision assessment during childhood. Jo Black, Lisa Hamm and Rebecca Findlay took this on and conducted an impressively comprehensive review of evidence relating to the efficacy of vision screening for amblyopia in early childhood. This review is important as it will help guide government policy and I am grateful to Jo and her team for their heroic effort in putting together this work on incredibly short notice.

Finally some sad news; I learnt last week of the death of Peter Turner, a Wellington-based optometrist with a passion for technology. Peter’s achievements – drawn from a lifetime of innovation – included a sun-following radio telescope, the Berkeley Glare & Acuity Test and various assistive technologies for people with low vision. Our sincere condolences to Peter’s partner Kathy.

Ngā mihi

Steven Dakin

Professor Steven Dakin
Head of School, Optometry and Vision Science
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences


Rotary Newmarket visit to SOVS

On 14 August, around 20 members of the Rotary Newmarket club visited SOVS for a talk by Professor Steven Dakin and his laboratory on how technology can be used to improve assessment and treatment of vision.

Queenstown Research Week

Carrie Burgess and Neelam Hari, researchers for TOKU Eyes, travelled to Queenstown Research Week to the Medical Devices and Technology Conference.

The Check Up

Two staff members of the School of Optometry and Vision Science appeared on ‘The Check Up’, a TV programme that reported on “new health treatments and medical advances, with an eye on debunking common health misconceptions”. 

Rural Health visit – Anna-Marie Rohs

Anna-Marie participated in Block 4 of the Rural Health Interprofessional Programme (RHIP) as part of her Part V externship this year. RHIP takes place in Whakatāne, and is an initiative of the Eastern Bay of Plenty DHB to motivate health professionals in training to consider living and working rurally, particularly in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Velocity Challenge

This August, Professor Steven Dakin, Dr Phil Turnbull and PhD student Soheil Mohammadpour Doustkouhi won $1000 in the Velocity entrepreneurial development programme.

O=Mega Conference 2019

In July, a team of SOVS Professional Teaching Fellows, consisting of seven optometrists and our head dispensing optician, attended the O=MEGA conference in Melbourne for a fun and informative weekend of continued education.

SEMO 2020 at the University of Auckland

The School of Optometry and Vision Science is pleased to be hosting the 16th Scientific and 10th Educators’ Meeting in Optometry on 16 – 18 April 2020 at the Grafton campus of the University of Auckland.

HealtheX 2019 – Celebrating Student Research

On 13 September the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences hosted the 13th annual HealtheX conference, a student-led conference which showcases oral presentations, poster presentations, and a 3-minute elevator pitch competition followed by prize giving and a networking event.

Recent publications

There have been six new publications from SOVS staff recently.

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