Invited Speakers



SAW Seang Mei is the SERI Professor of Ophthalmology Research, Duke-NUS Medical School, National University of Singapore (NUS), Head, Myopia Unit, Singapore Eye Research Institute, and Professor of Epidemiology at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, NUS. She is the Deputy Co-Chair (Biomedical) of the NUS Institutional Review Board (IRB). She received her MBBS degree from NUS and both her MPH and PhD from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Seang Mei’s research expertise is the epidemiology, genetics and treatment of myopia. She has established the role of outdoors and nearwork on myopia, the natural history of myopia development, developed new gadgets for myopia, as well as the lifetime predictive risks of blindness due to pathologic myopia. Seang-Mei is the Principal Investigator of the Singapore Cohort study Of the Research factors for Myopia (SCORM), the STrabismus, Amblyopia and Refractive error study in Singapore preschool children (STARS), and Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) myopia studies. Seang-Mei has an H-Index of 80 (Scopus) and has published more than 500+ peer-reviewed international journals, including the Lancet and Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Seang Mei is the Associate Editor, Translational Vision Science and Technology and Editorial Board Member of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, and the Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology. She is the recipient of many awards including the Garland W. Clay Award (2006), the Great Women of our Times Awards, Science and Technology Category, Singapore (2006), Chew Sek Jin Memorial Lecture Award at the International Myopia Conference (2013), USA, World’s Top 100 influential people in Ophthalmology by the Ophthalmologists (2014), Gold Fellow Award, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) (2015), NUHS-Mochtar Riady Pinnacle Excellence Award (2015), and the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) Prevention of Blindness Award (2015).



Anna is Professor of Orthoptics and Visual Development at the University of Reading in the UK. She still works clinically, and has taught orthoptics since the 1970’s. For the last 20 years she has worked with Prof Tricia Riddell, researching convergence, accommodation and their linkage at the University of Reading. Currently she is a Co-Investigator on the EUscreen Project, led from the Netherlands, which is looking at making child vision screening more efficient and cost-effective. She was the International Strabismological Association Bielschowsky Lecturer in 2018 and the IOA Burian Lecturer in 2016. She is the Research Director of the British & Irish Orthoptic Society. 




Dr Carla Lanca is a Research Fellow at the Myopia Unit, Singapore Eye Research Institute in Singapore since 2018. Currently, she is the project coordinator of the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) myopia study. Carla has graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Orthoptics and obtained her PhD in Public Health in 2014 in Portugal. She has published several peer-reviewed papers and presented at conferences. Her areas of research expertise include myopia and strabismus. In addition, she has experience in higher education, having taught orthoptic students at undergraduate level.



Dr Lauren Hepworth is stroke specialist orthoptist, with over 12 years of experience of working with a stroke survivor caseload. She obtained her PhD in 2017. She is currently a Stroke Association Post-Doctoral Research Fellow based at the University of Liverpool, UK. She has been involved with numerous studies involving visual impairment following stroke and other neurological conditions including the Impact of Visual Impairment Study, Programmes for Perimetry in Neurology and Visual Impairment Assessment Tool Study. She is currently academic lead for the British and Irish Orthoptic Society Stroke and Neuro Rehab Clinical Advisory Group. 



Professor Watson is a clinician scientist known for her ground-breaking research in corneal therapies, appointed at the University of Sydney and Sydney Eye, Sydney Children's and Prince of Wales Hospitals. She has over 106 publications, is invited to speak internationally, and has raised over $10 million for her research programme. Data from Stephanie’s research has featured widely in Australian and international media, including in the New York Times and a Sydney Morning Herald article with reach of over 8,309,604 and the film Vitamania. As Chair, Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia, Chair Elect to ARVOs Advocacy and Outreach Committee, Expert Advisor to the $150M Stem Cell Therapies Mission, Editor for the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, NSW representative, ANZ corneal society she contributes to policy. Professor Watson was awarded the NSW Premier’s Prize for Leadership in Innovation, RANZCO Council lecture, first prize Medical Device Commercialisation Training Program, ATP Innovations/NSW Office for Health and Medical Research and nominated for NSW Women of the Year and a Pride of Australia award. She led her team to win the Best Health Innovation Product Idea, IDE group. 


Maria Kolic is an clinical research orthoptist who has been working with multidisciplinary research teams since 2006 and at CERA since 2014, primarily in the role of a Clinical Research Coordinator. Maria is the clinical lead for the Bionic Eye Project, and a part of a large multidisciplinary team, which has been successful in bringing two human clinical trials to fruition. 





Associate Professor Chameen Samarawickrama is a corneal, anterior segment and refractive sub-specialist. He completed his ophthalmology training at Sydney Eye Hospital and undertook two cornea/anterior segment fellowships, first at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital (Melbourne), followed by Moorfields Eye Hospital (London). Subsequently, he was appointed as a consultant in cornea and external eye diseases at Moorfields prior to his return to Sydney in 2016. A/Prof Samarawickrama was named one of the ‘Top 5’ Young Scientists of 2019. He has made major contributions to ophthalmology research, and is a leading clinician-scientist in his field. He was awarded his PhD from the University of Sydney. A/Prof Samarawickrama has authored over 55 publications in top-tier international journals. His research interests include the formulation of a novel corneal glue, early detection of keratoconus using photonic sensors and the development of new therapies for herpes simplex keratitis. Over the course of his career A/Prof Samarawickrama has been awarded over $1.5million in research funding. He is a regular speaker at international conferences and instructs ophthalmology trainees in cataract surgery and complex corneal and anterior segment reconstructions. A/Prof Samarawickrama is a consultant ophthalmologist at Westmead Hospital. 


Karzan is a Specialist Orthoptist based at the Royal Bolton Hospital in Greater Manchester. He has an interest in clinical education and stroke-related visual impairment. Karzan also works as a clinical tutor at the University of Manchester and is involved in teaching clinical skills to Optometry undergraduates. Karzan co-leads the Medicines Clinical Advisory Group for the British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS).





Dr Jignasa (Jigs) Mehta was one of the first orthoptic graduates from the University of Liverpool where she is now a lecturer.  She has just completed a doctoral fellowship funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust Fellow on the ‘Impact of vision on falls and fear of falling in older adults’. Following her doctorate, she is keen to use mixed methods in future research studies. Broadly her area of interest is evaluating vision over the life course and the impact on older adults. In addition, she has previously examined the impact of visual display units on ocular accommodation and is interested in exploring how the accommodative system has evolved with the use of near electronic devices. Jigs also the chair of the ‘falls clinical advisory group’ for the British and Irish Orthoptic Society and is also the public health lead for the national professional body (BIOS). She has three children and in her spare time enjoys travelling, cooking and running.



Fleur holds joint clinical research positions with the University of Melbourne and the Centre for Eye Research Australia. With a background in Orthoptics and Public Health, she is a member of a multi-disciplinary team with research focus areas including retinal disease, low vision and vision restoration. 







Leena graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 and has more than 10 years’ clinical experience working as an Orthoptist. She started her Orthoptic career at Bristol Eye Hospital then moved onto Western Eye Hospital and now has been well established at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London since 2011 specialising as an Education Lead Orthoptist and a neuro-orthoptist. Leena is the lead for all undergraduate and postgraduate training in the Orthoptics department at Moorfields. This includes observers, pre-registration Optometrists, national and international medical colleagues. Leena is also the lead for providing the Binocular Vision lectures for undergraduate Optometrists at City University, London. Leena has presented at numerous conferences nationally and internationally.  She has a passion for teaching and provides regular teaching to undergraduate Orthoptic students from Universities in UK in addition to students from La Trobe University, Melbourne and University Technology Sydney. Leena was a keynote speaker at the Australia and New Zealand Strabismus Society Meeting in February 2020. In addition to raising teaching standards and improving student outcomes, she is also an honorary lecturer at University College London and an external examiner at Glasgow Caledonian University and City University, London. Leena is a volunteer Orthoptist for Orbis Flying Eye Hospital since 2018. In her spare time, Leena enjoys salsa dancing and would like to continue with classes post COVID! 



Dr Anna O'Connor is an orthoptist with over 20 years of research experience. Anna's PhD evaluated the long term ophthalmic impact of low birth weight and subsequent research has been within paediatric ophthalmology.
During her career Anna has worked on a wide range of research projects covering:
•    Paediatric cataracts
•    Retinopathy of prematurity
•    Development of tests to assess visual functions
•    The impact of stereopsis on functional ability
•    Clinical care of children with special educational needs
•    Refractive development
These clinically based projects have all involved the assessment of visual functions, some based at The University of Liverpool, others hospital based. Anna has an honorary contract at Alder Hey Children’s NHS foundation trust and Manchester Royal Eye hospital, maintaining clinical links and ensuring projects are directly relevant to clinical practice.


Dr Claire Howard is a stroke / neuro specialist research orthoptist based at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.  She has recently completed an NIHR Clinical Doctorate Research fellowship in collaboration with the VISION research unit at University of Liverpool.  Her research explored how people adapt to loss of peripheral vision after stroke. She has over 20 years' experience in assessing and treating post-stroke visual impairment in both acute and community settings.




Associate Professor Darren Oystreck holds the positions of Program Chair, Clinical Vision Science, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University and Professional Practice Leader, Orthoptics, IWK Eye Clinic Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Following certification as an orthoptist in 1995, Darren has consistently pursued new clinical and research endeavors through academic studies, publications and employment in several tertiary Ophthalmology departments around the world. His main areas of interest are congenital and inherited forms of strabismus. More recent work includes the clinical application of virtual reality and development of remote testing platforms. As Chair of the Clinical Vision Science program at Dalhousie University his objectives are to expose students to best clinical practice paradigms, high level academic teaching and development of research capacity.



Amanda French PhD, BAppSci (Orth) Hons 1M, GradCert (Higher Ed), AOBR. Dr Amanda French graduated as an orthoptist from the University of Sydney with first class honours and the university medal in 2007 and completed her PhD in 2013. From 2008 to 2014, she was an academic at the University of Sydney and part-time clinical orthoptist. She has been an academic in the Discipline of Orthoptics at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) since its establishment in 2014 and in 2018 was promoted to senior lecturer. Amanda’s research is in ophthalmic epidemiology and healthcare services, with a specific interest in paediatrics and neuro-ophthalmology. She has a number of publications in international journals and has presented at many national and international conferences. She has been the recipient of various awards including, the Emmie Russell Prize (2008, 2009, 2011).Amanda has been an active member of Orthoptics Australia (OA), as NSW Secretary (2013-2014), NSW Councillor (2014-2020) and NSW Chair (2018-2020). She became a member of the OA Federal Council in 2018 and has been on the OA Conference Scientific Committee in 2015, 2019 and 2020.




Prof. Fiona Rowe is Professor of orthoptics and health services research at the University of Liverpool and a recent NIHR Research Fellow. She is associate-editor-in-chief for the journal Strabismus, editor for Current Eye Research, Cochrane Eyes and Vision group editor and a mentor for the National Institute of Health Research clinical academic research pathway. Her particular research interests include visual impairment due to acquired brain injury (particularly stroke), visual field evaluation and control of ocular alignment. Prof. Rowe is the author of two textbooks: ‘Clinical Orthoptics’ and ‘Visual fields via the visual pathway’, co-author on seven book chapters, and has presented and published her research extensively. 




Presentation Speakers



Zeeshaan Daruwalla is an Orthoptist currently working at Dry Eye Victoria which runs alongside an Ophthalmic clinic at the Australian Eye Specialists. She obtained the Bachelor of Orthoptic and Ophthalmic Science in 2010 and gained experience in general ophthalmic practice among other fields including a 4 year background in refractive practice. Currently, she is enrolled in the Masters of Health research program at LaTrobe University aiming to improve outcomes for dry eye patients and participate in developing an effective model of care. 





Czarina Obtinalla is a clinical orthoptist at Australian Eye Specialists who completed her Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Orthoptics at La Trobe University in 2018. Currently she is also enrolled in a Masters by Research at La Trobe University. Since being part of Australian Eye Specialists she has been involved in several clinical research audits involving treatment and management of patients with retinal conditions including Diabetic Retinopathy, Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Retinal Vein Occlusions.







Diana graduated from the University of Sydney as an orthoptist in 1997 and since then has worked in a diverse range of general ophthalmology and specialised paediatric, neuro-ophthalmology and retinal clinics. Diana is currently the Genomic Eye Coordinator at the Eye Genetics Research Unit of the Children’s Medical Research institute at Westmead, NSW, working with a multidisciplinary team of scientists, geneticists, ophthalmologists and genetic counsellors in both inherited eye research and also in inherited eye disease clinics. With genetic therapies for otherwise untreatable inherited eye disease and clinical trials commencing in Australia, it is a very exciting time to be working in this field of ophthalmology.







Dr Sue Silveira, RIDBC Renwick Centre and Macquarie School of Education Studies, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University. Sue is the Course Director for the Master of Disability Studies and teaches in the area of vision impairment. She is also a research fellow with the RIDBC Renwick Centre. She is the chief investigator on the project which has established the Australian Childhood Vision Impairment Register.





Dr Philip Rothschild is a Masters by Research Candidate at the University of Melbourne (through the Centre for Eye Research Australia). His masters thesis topic is artificial intelligence within ophthalmology, including exploring clinician expectations and the implementation challenges of AI. His supervisors in this are A/Prof Peter van Wijngaarden and Dr Myra McGuinness. Philip also works as a surgical resident at the Alfred Hospital and has a budding passion for gardening.






Mythili Ilango is an Orthoptics PhD candidate at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) supervised by Professor Kathryn Rose and Dr Amanda French. Her current research is focusing on preschool vision screening and barriers to follow-up care after referral. Her area of interest includes binocular vision and children’s visual development. She has been teaching in the Master of Orthoptics at UTS since 2017 and works in private practice. 





Gareth is an orthoptist and PhD candidate located in Perth. His research interests include ophthalmic epidemiology and investigating the relationship between time spent outdoors and myopia.