13 November 2019

The College of Optometrists celebrates researchers at its annual Diploma Ceremony

The College of Optometrists recognised the achievements of new and established researchers at its annual Diploma Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster in London on Tuesday.

Five optometric researchers were presented with one of the College’s Research Excellence Awards:

  • Dr Ruth Hogg MCOptom was awarded the Neil Charman Medal for Research for her work in the area of macular degeneration and disease.
  • The George Giles Postgraduate Research Prize was presented to Dr Laura Edwards MCOptom Prof Cert Glauc for her work in the area of public health, relating to optometry.
  • Dr Pavan Kumar Verkicharla was awarded the Bernard Gilmartin OPO Award, along with co-authors, for the paper, ‘Current and predicted demographics of high myopia and an update of its associated pathological changes.’
  • The Philip Cole Prize for excellence in practice-based research was presented to Dr Lesley Doyle MCOptom Prof Cert Med Ret, for her work in the area of paediatrics and cycloplegic refraction.
  • Lisa Donaldson MCOptom was awarded the Giles Van Colle Memorial Award (in conjunction with the Giles Van Colle Memorial Foundation) for her work investigating the provision of eye care in children attending special schools.

Three undergraduates were also presented with the College’s Naylor Prize for their project work:

  • Emma Armstrong MCOptom, for the clinical review category, for her project ‘Review of recent and ongoing treatment for advanced dry AMD’.
  • Alexa Normore MCOptom, for the literature reviews category, for her project ‘The Brain in Glaucoma – An integrative literature review of structural neuroimaging advancements and functional assessment of the brain’s role in glaucoma’.
  • Mona S Peirov Mousavi Jalali MCOptom, for the experimental project category, for her project ‘The effect of reduced retinal illuminance and eccentricity on achromatic and chromatic shape discrimination for earlier detection of age-related retinal diseases.

The College also welcomed over 350 newly qualified optometrists to the profession at the ceremony, as well as recognising outstanding achievement through the presentation of Higher Qualifications, Fellowships by Portfolio, Life and Honorary Fellowships.  

Speaking at the event, Professor Edward Mallen MCOptom, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “It is such a pleasure to honour and celebrate the success of those who have made a significant contribution to the profession and practice of optometry through the awarding of Fellowships, Research Awards and Higher Qualifications. It’s also great to welcome so many young and talented newly qualified members to the profession and celebrate the start of their new challenging and rewarding careers.”

Miriam Hallak MCOptom received her diploma at the ceremony and said: “The diploma ceremony was remarkable and the Fellows and prize recipients were so inspiring. It’s exciting to start my career as a fully-qualified optometrist, and to hear from those who have built on their careers in such an interesting way. I’m really grateful to be part of such a rewarding profession.”

Find out more information on the Naylor Prize and the Research Excellence Awards.


Notes to Editors

  1. The College is the professional body for optometry. It qualifies the profession and delivers the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.
  2. The College’s awards recognise achievement and celebrate outstanding contributions to research in the fields of optometry, optics and vision science. 
  3. The College of Optometrists has introduced an opportunity for members, organisations and the public to support the College’s research work. The College is inviting donations to allow individuals and organisations to play a part in its work to develop evidence that is capable of advancing the profession, reduce preventable vision loss and providing accessible, high quality, eye care for all. To contribute to the Research Fund, visit the College’s donation page.

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