October 23, 2015

Southampton, United Kingdom, October 2015 — Global contact lens manufacturer CooperVision has announced that the 2015 CooperVision Student of the Year is Romana Khaliq, a final-year optometry student at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) in Scotland.

The final of the competition took place during CooperVision’s National Student Summit, held at its European Headquarters in Segensworth, Hampshire from 14-16 September 2015. Finalists also toured the company’s manufacturing site in Hamble and its European Distribution Centre.

Students from five UK universities – Anglia Ruskin, Aston, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester – presented the results of their research projects. Each had received a Summer Research Scholarship from CooperVision to conduct a project on a contact lens topic of their choice. A panel of academics, chaired by Optician Clinical Editor Bill Harvey, and including the students’ project supervisors, judged the presentations for content, creativity and delivery style.

Romana Khaliq had investigated the effects of two contact lens materials (hydrogel and silicone hydrogel, single use lenses) on tear evaporation rate under different environmental conditions. Tear evaporation was measured at high and low relative humidity using two instruments: the ServoMed research evaporimeter and a new clinical evaporimeter, the Delfin VapoMeter.

The ServoMed device showed no significant difference between materials within 30 minutes of insertion. With the Delfin, hydrogel lenses did increase evaporation but the silicone hydrogel lenses showed no significant change in evaporation rate.

Topics for other projects were: lens centration in Biofinity multifocal soft contact lenses from Zaheera Bissessur and Lacey McCay, Anglia Ruskin University (supervised by Robert Conway, Dr Sheila Rae and Dr Marta Vianya-Estopa); early career support for eye care practitioners in contact lens practice by Fawzia Mohamad, Aston University (Professor James Wolffsohn); short-term effects of two lubricant drops on tear film properties measured with the Tearscope Plus and EasyTear View by Amy Gatfield, Cardiff University (Dr Katharine Evans and Dr Ashley Wood); bandage contact lenses and their clinical evaluation by Jessica Corrie, The University of Manchester (Dr Amit Jinabhai).

Conducting a project allows students to gain basic research skills such as literature search, participant recruitment, data collection and data analyses, as well as developing their presentation skills and teamwork.

Romana receives a full delegate package to attend the 2017 BCLA Clinical Conference & Exhibition and will go on to represent the UK at CooperVision’s European FORCE – Future Ocular Research Creativity Event – to be held at its Centre of Innovation in Budapest, Hungary in spring 2016. FORCE brings together students from across Europe to compete for the title CooperVision FORCE Student of the Year. The prize for the overall FORCE winner is a full delegate package, including travel and accommodation, to attend a major international contact lens meeting.

Romana’s project was supervised by Dr Ian Pearce, senior lecturer at GCU. Two of his students have gone on to be awarded CooperVision FORCE Student of the Year: the 2015 overall winner Fiona Buckmaster and Michelle Snowball in 2013.

Karl Aberdeen, CooperVision’s Professional Development Manager ACE Distributor Markets, established the Summer Research Scholarships and UK Student of the Year competition five years ago. He commented: ‘Each year the students raise the bar on the standard of research and presentation. All this year’s finalists show great promise. It’s wonderful to see this young talent and for CooperVision to play a part in nurturing that talent.’