DRILL Fellows attend the European Academy of Optometry and Optics conference in Rome, Italy.

The European Academy of Optometry and Optics recently held its annual conference in Rome, Italy. Delegates and researchers from across Europe and the United States of America were in attendance. Two academics from UKZN’s Discipline of Optometry were the only representatives from Africa. Academic leader Dr Diane Van Staden and Lecturer Mr Alvin Munsamy both presented findings from their DRILL-supported research projects. Mr Munsamy presented his first paper from his PhD study “Recognising the threat of vision changes in people living with HIV”, raising awareness of structural and functional changes in the eye in people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy. This was his first international academic conference, following which he now feels confident and excited enough to share his research work with the world. Dr Van Staden presented her work “Social Justice and Service Learning: The complexities of expanding optometry services into rural areas within a South African context.” Dr Van Staden is passionate about contributing towards the development of contextually appropriate training models that support the health system needs of South Africa and its population.

Both Optometry staff are DRILL fellows and were fortunate to network with world renowned experts in the field of Optometry. In its closing ceremony the Academy expressed its honour at attracting academics from Africa to its conference, and welcomed continuing cross-regional collaboration going forward.

By Dr Diane van Staden, DRILL Fellow and Academic Leader in the Discipline of Optometry

DRILL Fellows Mr Alvin Munsamy and Dr Diane van Staden attending the European Academy of Optometry and Optics conference

Mr Alvin Munsamy’s poster presentation of his DRILL PhD research project, “Recognising the threat of vision changes in people living with HIV”

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