Doctor of Philosophy (Candidate)
Research Title: The significance of corneal and ocular responses to rubbing-related ocular trauma in keratoconus
Supervisors: Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton, Academic Lead, Athena SWAN and Professor Charles McMonnies (DSc)
Chronic abnormal eye rubbing inflicts a form of corneal and ocular trauma that has a long-established association with the accelerated progression of keratoconus (KC). Rubbing-related ocular trauma has not yet been fully researched and attempts to reduce eye rubbing in KC patients by way of behaviour modification have had limited success. Demonstrating to patients that rubbing causes ocular trauma may be a useful approach to help motivate patients to break abnormal rubbing habits. Ocular itch is a well-known powerful rubbing provocation, so too are other factors such as rubbing induced stimulus of a pleasure centre, psychological influences for reducing stress and anxiety, as well as for relief of ocular surface dryness and other peri-orbital irritant stimuli.
Historically, clinical methods of detecting, measuring and demonstrating corneal responses to eye rubbing have been limited to basic corneal topography. Advances in the development of corneal topography, assessment of corneal densitometry, corneal pachymetry, biomechanical properties, the detection of tear film inflammatory markers, cellular responses and technological advances in corneal tomography have revolutionized the potential for the detection of corneal responses to rubbing trauma.
This study will evaluate changes in corneal epithelial thickness, corneal densitometry, corneal topography and anterior chamber volume changes in normals and keratoconic subjects before and after ocular rubbing. The aim is to establish the impact of eye-rubbing on these parameters. A questionnaire has been developed to categorise the degree of eye rubbing to also examine the association with chronic ocular changes with rubbing history.
Allan is a graduate from the School of Optometry UNSW Class of 1994 and has been working in private optometric practice ever since. His rooms are in Kogarah NSW. He has also received the distinction of hosting the longest talk back eye program on Australian radio with his weekly show airing for 20 consecutive years on Sydney’s number one station 2GB. Currently undertaking a PhD on the effects of rubbing related corneal and ocular trauma in keratoconus under the guidance of his highly esteemed supervisors. His practice is highly regarded in the fitting and prescribing of specialty contact lenses for orthokeratology, keratoconus and complex corneal diseases. He was the first Australian optometrist with an Oculus Pentacam and has a keen passion for medical optometry. His rooms are equipped with the technology and expertise to deliver exceptional quality of eye treatments to his patients and are an accredited off-campus teaching institute for the University of Sydney (USYD) School of Medicine's, Situated Learning in Community Environments (SLICE) program, an initiative for general practitioner clinical rotation placements, as well as the UNSW SOVS final year optometry student clinical placements.
2016 - current PhD candidate, Faculty of Medicine UNSW
2009 - 2009 Graduate Certificate in Ocular therapeutics, UNSW
2010 - Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry
1991 - 1994 Bachelor of Optometry (Hons.), UNSW
2017 Delegate, American Academy Chicago
2018 Delegate, ANZ Cornea Eye Bank Meeting
2018 Delegate, American Academy San Antonio
2019 Delegate, American Academy Orlando
2020 Speaker, KeraClub, Save Sight Institute, Sydney
AFFILIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry
Reviewer of submitted anterior segment manuscripts – Journal, Clinical Experimental Optometry
Member of the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia
Member of the Optometry Association of Australia
Member of the Scleral Lens Education Society
Member of the International Keratoconus Academy
Member of the Orthokeratology Association of Oceania
CASA Credentialed Aviation Vision Examiner
Justice of the Peace, NSW (1994-present)
Certificate IV in Media and Communication (Macquarie Media Broadcasting)