School of Optometry, Makerere University visits SOVS
During July 2018 we were privledged to host our friends,Anguyo Dralega (Head, School of Optometry, Makerere University) and Godfrey Wanok (Student Representative) who visited our School and met with SOVS academics, students and UNSW representatives. The University of Makerere, Uganda, has developed a partnership with the Brien Holden Vision Institute and SOVS to establish an East African regional optometry program. During 2019 SOVS will send staff to Uganda to assist with teaching and curriculum development and in the future it is hoped that an exchange program will be initiated.
ORLAB hosts the Colour Society of Australia, a UNSW Sydney Science Festival Event
On the 8th August, members of the Colour Society of Australia and general members of the public, attended an event called Colour and Vision, on the second day of the Sydney Science Festival. The evening opened with welcomes from the Director and Deputy Director of ORLAB (Dr Mei Ying Boon and Dr Maitreyee Roy) and the Chairperson of the Colour Society of Australia (David Briggs).
Next came a series of talks on the Nature of colour vision (by Dr Mei Ying Boon and Vanessa Honson), followed by the Occupational uses of colour and the colour vision Test Development activities of staff at ORLAB and the School (by Emeritus Prof. Stephen Dain). ORLAB has developed colour vision tests for railway workers and firefighters, and an ipad App which may be used to quantify reductions in colour sensitivity due to acquired colour vison deficiences, for example due to conditions such as diabetes, even in the absence of overt diabetic retinopathy or cataract in the eye. The final talk was on the multiple effects of "Blue-blocking lenses" on human physiology, and the variability of the blue filtering abilities of different brands of blue-blocking lenses currently avaialable on the market (by Dr Maitreyee Roy).
The attendees were treated to a tour of ORLAB facilities. Firstly, Muhammad Kalleem provided demonstrations of how traffic lights and other lights are measured. Next, Ash Ang and Olga Pitt demonstrated how spectral transmittance of eye wear is measured and how this information is used by Australian and International standards to calculate whether colours viewed through the eye wear are too distorted for viewing traffic lights and signals.
Next, attendees walked over to the UNSW Optometry clinic to learn how colour vision is assessed clinically, explained by Vanessa Honson. Attendees enjoyed testing their own vision against colour vision tests that pilots, electricians and railway workers have to pass prior to obtaining employment. We all left learning something new. Some fun facts: it is difficult to enjoy a Portugal vs Mexico football match if the opposing teams are wearing red and green kits and you have a colour vision deficiency (as 8% of all males have), Isaac Newton and Thomas Young are giants in science, but also in our understanding of colour vision. Different wavelengths in the visible "blue" light spectrum have different physiological effects so be careful when you are choosing the tint of your eyewear, say the team from ORLAB, who love their eyewear.
Clockwise from top left, Sydney Science Festival, Portugal vs Mexico as seen by people with normal trichromatic vision and people with dichromatic red-green colour vision deficiencies, the ORLAB team and three headforms used in the testing of eye protectors, measuring lights in ORLAB as demonstrated by M. Kalleem, Emeritus Prof. S. Dain speaking about occupational uses of colour vision, attendees testing their colour vision in the UNSW Optometry clinic and asking questions of staff.
Davood Kharaghani, from Iran, is a PhD student and research assistant at Nano Fusion Technology Research Group, Division of Frontier Fibers, Institute for Fiber Engineering (IFES), Shinshu University, Japan, working under supervision of Professor Ick Soo Kim. His research interests include biomaterials and their application in ophthalmic tissue engineering.
Davood visited Professor Mark Willcox and Dr Debarun Dutta at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, at UNSW Sydney earlier this year and his trip has been supported by Shinshu University. Davood worked closely with the researchers at the School on learning the domain of cell culturing and antibacterial testing. Davood has been collaborating with SOVS on the following projects: production and biocompatibility of artificial cornea, development of antibacterial bandage lens, and nanofiber scaffold for retinal applications. He is involved in designing and synthesis of composites for artificial cornea application which led to receiving a national patent and won the gold prize at the Seoul International Invention Fair (SIIF) in 2015.
Davood is confident that his visit will further strengthen strategic research collaborations between Shinshu University, Japan and UNSW Sydney.