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David Atchison joins a group of esteemed peers, as the winner of the H Barry Collin Research Medal for 2014.

Professor Atchison accepted the award on 30 July. He will be presented with the medal and deliver a presentation at Southern Regional Congress, to be held in Melbourne on 21-23 February 2015.

He is a professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at Queensland University of Technology, and his research interests include ophthalmic and visual optics, and colour vision.

He regards his work on the optical and neural limitations to vision in myopia as his most valuable contribution.

‘The highlights of my research have included understanding how the shape of the retina and peripheral optics of the human eye are affected by direction in the visual field,’ Professor Atchison said.

His early optometry education in Melbourne steered him towards a career in research.

‘From near the end of my undergraduate studies in optometry, there seemed to be many important questions in vision science. Investigating some of these was more appealing to me than entering clinical practice. I was inspired by the intellectual climate at the Department of Optometry at the University of Melbourne under the leadership of the two Barry’s, Cole and Collin,’ Professor Atchison said.

He has co-authored two books, Optics of the Human Eye (2000) and The Eye and Visual Optical Instruments (1997), and published 160 papers in refereed journals, and has more than 25 years of teaching experience.

Professor Atchison leads the Ophthalmic and Visual Optics Research Group at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, is chairman of the Standards Australia MS/24 Ophthalmic Optics committee, and an assessor with National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia.

He says his collaboration with many colleagues in Australia and overseas has been the most enjoyable aspect of his career.

‘I should also mention those occasional Eureka moments when you suddenly realise the solution to a problem that has been bugging you for years,’ he said.

Professor Atchison is working on three research projects.

‘My present investigations include how diabetes affects the ocular biometry, particularly that of the crystalline lens; how race and myopia influence retinal shape; and developing equipment to continue research into peripheral aberrations and their influence on visual performance,’ he said.

He was elected a Fellow of the Optical Society of America in 2003, and was awarded the Doctor of Science degree in 2004 for his research in ophthalmic and visual optics.

He also serves on the editorial board of Clinical and Experimental Optometry.

Professor Atchison obtained his Bachelor of Science, Masters of Science (Optometry), and PhD from the University of Melbourne, and his Doctor of Science from QUT.

The H Barry Collin Research Medal is awarded by Optometry Australia to recognise outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge in optics, vision science or clinical optometry by a person who is an Australian citizen or a graduate of an Australian optometry school, or who has done a significant part of his or her research in an Australian institution.

The recipient is expected to attend a conference in Australia to be presented with the medal and to deliver a paper to the conference. It is expected that the paper or a version of it will be submitted for publication in Clinical and Experimental Optometry. The medal is accompanied by a prize of $5,000.


Award recipients

H Barry Collin, 1977

Brien Holden, 1988

Gerald Westheimer, 2009

John Pettigrew, 2010

Anthony Adams, 2011

Donald Mitchell, 2012

Robert Hess, 2013

David Atchison, 2014

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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.