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Optometry Victoria CEO Pete Haydon presents Emma Gibson with the Best Clinical Presentation award, sponsored by Optometry Australia, at SEMO 2018
Image: Vickie Wong


By Rhiannon Riches
Communications Manager


Optometry Australia, Optometry Victoria and Heidelberg Engineering have shown their support for optometry students at SEMO 2018, sponsoring several awards.

SEMO 2018, the 15th Scientific and 9th Educators’ Meeting in Optometry, was co-hosted by School of Medicine at Deakin University, and the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences at the University of Melbourne, from 5–6 April.

Representatives from every optometry school in Australia – including Deakin University, the University of Melbourne, UNSW, QUT, Flinders University, and the newest school the University of Canberra – plus the University of Auckland in New Zealand, attended the event.

‘We have not brought all the optometry schools together since 2012,’ Head of the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Associate Professor Allison McKendrick said.

Highlights included keynote speaker Professor Erica Fletcher who spoke about a multi-centre trial she is leading on laser treatment for AMD. Results are expected to be released in September.

Optometry Australia CEO Lyn Brodie attended the SEMO conference dinner on 4 April, where the student awards were presented.


Emma Gibson from UNSW received Optometry Australia’s Best Clinical Presentation award for her pilot study to assess the effects of Aromatase Inhibitors on Dry Eye signs and symptoms.

Anna van Koeverden from the University of Melbourne received Optometry Victoria’s Best Oral Presentation award for her presentation on the effect of chronic systemic hypertension on retinal autoregulation in rats.

Jacqueline Kirkman from Deakin University received Optometry Victoria’s Best Poster Presentation award for her work on the attitude of optometry students towards rural clinical placements and practice.

Alexis Ceecee Zhang from the University of Melbourne won the SEMO award for Best Student Presentation for a systematic review of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation for improving peripheral nerve health.

Nine travel awards were also awarded.

Lucia Kim from the University of Auckland received Optometry Victoria’s travel award for her presentation on the effect of temperature on the thickness of the human ocular choroid.

Lucia Kim OV travel award

Lucia Kim from the University of Auckland was presented with Optometry Victoria’s travel award by CEO Pete Haydon
Image: Vickie Wong

Zahra Tajbakhsh from UNSW received one of Heidelberg Engineering’s two travel awards for her study of corneal epithelial dendritic cells density and morphology in ocular allergy.

Safal Khanal from the University of Auckland also received a Heidelberg Engineering travel award for his research, atropine selectively enhances peripheral mfERG responses to myopic retinal defocus.

Safal Khanal

Safal Khanal (R) from the University of Auckland received a travel award, presented by Carey Hazelbank from Heidelberg Engineering
Image: Vickie Wong 

The following students also received travel awards from SEMO:

Soheil Doustkouhi from the University of Auckland: “Changes in optokinetic nystagmus due to simulated peripheral visual field loss”.

Archana Boga from UNSW: “Effects of Oestrogen on Symptoms and Signs of Dry Eye in Women Undergoing the In Vitro Fertilisation Treatment”.

David Ngo from Flinders University: “The slow light and dark oscillation of the clinical electro-oculogram”.

Emma Gibson from UNSW: “Pilot study to assess the effects of Aromatase Inhibitors on Dry Eye signs and symptoms”.

Ngozi Chidi-Egboka from UNSW: “Tear film stability and tear secretion in normal children and infants: A meta-analysis”.

Revathy Mani from UNSW: “Deficits in Saccades and Smooth Pursuit Eye Movements in Mild and Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: A meta-analysis”.

SEMO 2018 organising committee

SEMO 2018 organising committee (L-R): Moneisha Gokhale, Janet Chan, Bang Bui, Simon Backhouse, Alex Gentle, Holly Chinnery, Vickie Wong, Allison McKendrick, (absent: James Armitage)
Image: Vickie Wong


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Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Optometry Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.