Dr Ann Webber
By Helen Carter
A symposium has explored vision research opportunities across disciplines.
About 40 research optometrists, private practice optometrists, ophthalmologists, ophthalmology registrars, orthoptists, biomedical scientists and students attended the first Queensland Collaborative Vision Research Symposium at QUT.
They discussed potential topics for collaborative research including myopia, amblyopia and microbiota and the eye, and potential research questions that could be answered by cross-professional clinical trials.
Dr Ann Webber was the main organiser of the event on 27 June, in partnership with Queensland University of Technology School of Optometry and Vision Science, and Queensland Eye Institute (QEI).
Dr Webber said the goal of the first program was to foster networking among QUT vision scientists, biomedical scientists, optometrists, and ophthalmologists interested in clinical research.
‘Feedback from this initial symposium was highly positive, with keen interest for a second symposium planned for September to be hosted at Queensland Eye Institute with Associate Professor Peter Keller from the Therapeutic Goods Administration as key speaker,’ she said.
Professor Susan Cotter is the incoming chair of the Paediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group, a collaborative network of North American paediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists who conduct multi-centre clinical research for eyes in children. She emphasised the value of inter-professional collaborative clinical research using the PEDIG network as an example.
This was followed by six talks from QUT and QEI researchers before attendees divided into focus groups to discuss amblyopia, led by Dr Ann Webber and Professor Glen Gole; myopia, led by Associate Professor Scott Read and Dr Abhishek Sharma; and microbiota and the eye, led by Associate Professor Katrina Schmid.
Professor Schmid from QUT and a visiting senior scientist with QEI said: ‘It was a great event with the aim of fostering increased research collaboration across discipline groups. Discussion sessions were really interesting, with real eye problems discussed and potential project ideas put forward.’