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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.

SOVS Newsletter – February 2020

Tēnā koutou katoa

Welcome to the first issue of our newsletter for 2020.

A warm welcome to Marvin Wu, our new Senior Research Programme Coordinator who joins us from the Faculty of Arts. From what I can tell, Marvin has certainly hit the ground running and I know is already actively involved with many of you on grant proposals. We are delighted to have him join SOVS. Welcome also to two new students: Sam Schwarzkopf and I will be supervising Ecem Altan in a PhD working on size perception, and new MSc student Aryaman Taore will be working in my group on eye tracking. Last but not least for staffing, congratulations to Zaria Bradley on the recent birth of her son Maxwell – we look forward to pictures.

Regular readers of this newsletter will know there has been considerable work in SOVS over previous months organising SEMO (Scientific and Educators Meeting in Optometry) to be held in Auckland 16-18 April 2020. We have now received over 60 abstracts for the meeting and John Phillips, Naomi Twigden and the rest of the SEMO team have put together an excellent programme of events for the meeting. Thanks to all concerned for the huge effort they’ve put in; we’re now all looking forward to a great conference which I hope you’ll be able to attend!

This year within SOVS we are focusing on eye health inequity. Little is known about differences in eye health across the demographics of New Zealand. However if anecdotal reports and recent work conducted in Australia are anything to go by, it is likely that Māori will have substantially poorer eye health outcomes. Without crucial information about prevalence of eye conditions and identification of the barriers to health services that patients face, vision health research in New Zealand cannot move forward. As part of an effort to get politicians to recognise the importance of eye health equity – and specifically to support New Zealand’s first National Eye Health Survey – I have recently become deputy chair of Eye Health Aotearoa, a group comprising representatives of the major New Zealand sight charities, as well as the professional bodies representing optometry and ophthalmology. On 19 February we travelled to the Beehive in Wellington to meet the Parliamentary Friends of Eye Health, a cross-party group of MPs with an interest in this area. Attendees included the journalist Paddy Gower, CEO of Kāpō Māori Aotearoa NZ Chrissie Cowan, and MPs from across the house. We came away from the meeting feeling that there is a genuine appetite amongst politicians to see progress in this area and I am hoping that by the end of this year we will have made concrete progress towards achieving several of Eye Health Aotearoa’s goals.

Finally, COVID-19/Coronavirus remains very much in our minds. This month we welcomed Tasi Urale back to SOVS from an extended period of quarantine following his travel in China. Our best estimates indicate that it is unlikely many of our current students will be unable to commence study as planned as a result of travel disruption. However, we are aware that many will be being affected by this outbreak in one way or another – whether it be through friends or family. We know how hard everyone is working – both here, in China, in Italy and indeed all around the world – to contain this outbreak.

Our continued collaborations are the basis of our success so let’s keep it going in 2020.

Eye Health Aotearoa visit to the Beehive

Eye Health Aotearoa visit to the Beehive

Ngā mihi

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

Steven Dakin

Student success: Dean’s Medal 2019

Student success: Dean’s Medal 2019

The 2019 Dean’s Medal was awarded to Muthana Noori for his engagement in research and with students within the school.

“Fair Go” exposé on cheap versus expensive sunglasses

“Fair Go” exposé on cheap versus expensive sunglasses

Dr Andrew Collins featured on TVNZ’s Fair Go programme on Tuesday 24 February where he debunked the mystery behind the question “Can a cheap pair of sunglasses do the same job as an expensive pair?”

Summer studentship: Sachi Rathod

Summer studentship: Sachi Rathod

Part IV student Sachi Rathod carried out a research project through a SOVS-supported Summer Studentship, supervised by Dr John Phillips.

SEMO 2020 – AI workshop

SEMO 2020 – AI workshop

More than 60 abstracts on a variety of topics in education and science streams have been received for the Scientific and Educators’ Meeting in Optometry.

Clinicians’ retreat

Clinicians’ retreat

On Tuesday 11 February SOVS clinicians attended a full-day annual retreat held at the Cancer Society’s Domain Lodge.

Writers’ retreat

Writers’ retreat

In February, researchers and postgraduate students attended a two day retreat at the beautiful Vaughan Park Retreat Centre.

Recent Publications

Recent Publications

Read recent publication from School of Optometry and Vision Science staff.

SEMO 2020

SEMO 2020

Registrations for the 16th Scientific and 10th Educators’ Meeting in Optometry are open!

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