June 06, 2017

Southampton, United Kingdom, June 2017 — Optometry student at Glasgow Caledonian University, Ambreen Hussain, was among researchers from across Europe who reached this year’s final of the CooperVision FORCE Student of the Year competition.

The FORCE (Future Ocular Research Creativity Event) final took place at CooperVision’s Centre of Innovation in Budapest, Hungary from 19-20th May. Teams of students and educators from nine countries took part.

This year’s overall winners of FORCE Student of the Year 2017 were Alessandra Rossi and Sara Picarazzi from the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy. Supervised by Silvia Tavazzi, this team had evaluated the absorption of eyeshadow in soft contact lenses. Cosmetic absorption was greater than expected and different types of contact lens material interacted differently with the cosmetic.  

In addition to the overall winners, two other teams reaching the final were also specially commended for their studies: Malgorzata Hadzicka from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, and Marie Kodetová and Barbora Hráčková, students at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.

UK finalist Ambreen, supervised by Dr Louise Madden, looked at what types of contact lens material offer optimum comfort to patients in low humidity environments. Silicone hydrogels and low modulus lenses performed better for in vitro lens wettability under these conditions, as measured by break-up time and drying duration.  

FORCE is an annual competition in the field of contact lenses, pitching the very best students from colleges and universities all over Europe against each other. Students are invited to undertake a research project on a contact lens-related subject of their choice and to present their findings.

Winners from each country go forward to the European final for a chance to become CooperVision FORCE Student of Year. The prize is a full delegate package, including travel and accommodation, to attend an international contact lens meeting.

This year’s students and topics for the fifth FORCE European final were:

  • Andrea Alcaraz Cáceres, University of Alicante, Spain

Supervisors: Dr María del Mar Seguí Crespo and David Piñero Llorens

Evaluation of quality of life and its relationship with vision function in the presbyopic patient wearing multifocal contact lenses.

  • Małgorzata Hadzicka, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

Supervisor: Dr Magdalena Grajek

Influence of a contact lens on the measurement results by ultrasonography of the eye.

  • Ambreen Saira Hussain, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Supervisor: Dr Louise Madden

The effect of contact lens material on in vitro wettability in adverse environmental conditions.

  • Kinga Istvánfi and Tímea Gulyás, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary

Supervisor: Dr Beáta Tapasztó

Contact lens-related dry eye.

  • Marie Kodetová (presenter) and Barbora Hráčková, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

Supervisor: Dr Pavel Beneš

Soft contact lens wearers: are they doing everything the right way?

  • Alessandra Rossi and Sara Picarazzi (presenter), University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy

Supervisor: Silvia Tavazzi

Eyeshadow-polymer interaction in soft contact lenses: a comparative study.

  • Linda van Hees and Jennifer Meerding, Hogeschool Utrecht, the Netherlands

Supervisor: Jeroen Mulder

Dry eye syndrome and asthenopia related to modern digital lifestyle.

  • Julie Vaulot, Ecole Française Supérieure des Opticiens, Lyon, France

Supervisor: Bérenger Roca

Influence of corneal eccentricity on the measurement of corneo-scleral profile.

  • Johan von Unge and Sebastian Moghaied, Karolinska Institute Stockholm, Sweden

Supervisor: Dr Anna Lindskoog-Pettersson

Corneal apex, visual axis and pupil centre: the influence of these parameters for the importance of decentred contact lenses.

Judging the projects were researchers and clinicians Pascale Dauthuile (President of the Association of Contact Lens Experts, France), Elena García Rubio (National Institute of Optometry, Madrid, Spain), Dr Eef van der Worp (Maastricht University, the Netherlands) along with panel chairman Professor James Wolffsohn (Aston University, UK).

Entries were invited for clinical trials, clinical review papers and case reports, and were judged for the evidence for and importance of the project, and the quality and clarity of presentation. This year, for the first time, finalists could choose to present in their native language.

Presenting the awards on behalf of the judges, Professor Wolffsohn said the panel had learnt a lot from the presentations. All the teams deserved commendation for reaching the final. ‘Ambreen delivered a clear, confident introduction with a personal link to an individual patient. This was a large, ambitious study involving a lot of work.’

Commenting on her experience, Ambreen said: ‘Taking part in FORCE has definitely opened up the opportunity to do research and now I have an idea what it consists of that’s different from a nine-to-five job. It was really good to be able to meet with students from other countries and universities, to see how their courses differ from the UK, and to see contact lenses being made at CooperVision’s manufacturing site.’ 

FORCE Student of the Year 2016 Izabela Garaszczuk, from Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland, returned to describe her year since winning the award. Izabela has joined the European Dry Eye Network (EDEN) project and is now a PhD student at the University of Valencia in Spain. She has travelled to several international meetings and next month will present her work at the 40th British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference.

‘FORCE gave me confidence in presenting and was a leap into my future career,’ she said. ‘I realised I wanted to go further into research and FORCE was a strong motivation for me to discover what I really like doing the most.’

About CooperVision FORCE

Entries for the national CooperVision FORCE (Future Ocular Research Creativity Event) can be submitted from spring of each year. Students then have time to plan and submit their piece of work to their colleges and universities and colleges. Successful regional candidates go forward to the FORCE final. For more information, contact CooperVision professional services.

About CooperVision

CooperVision, a unit of The Cooper Companies, Inc. (NYSE:COO), is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of soft contact lenses. The Company produces a full array of monthly, two-week and daily disposable contact lenses, all featuring advanced materials and optics. CooperVision has a strong heritage of solving the toughest vision challenges such as astigmatism and presbyopia; and offers the most complete collection of spherical, toric and multifocal products available. Through a combination of innovative products and focused practitioner support, the company brings a refreshing perspective to the marketplace, creating real advantages for customers and wearers. For more information, visit www.coopervision.com.

About The Cooper Companies

The Cooper Companies, Inc. ("Cooper") is a global medical device company publicly traded on the NYSE (NYSE:COO). Cooper is dedicated to being A Quality of Life Company™ with a focus on delivering shareholder value. Cooper operates through two business units, CooperVision and CooperSurgical. CooperVision brings a refreshing perspective on vision care with a commitment to developing a wide range of high-quality products for contact lens wearers and providing focused practitioner support. CooperSurgical is committed to advancing the health of families with its diversified portfolio of products and services focusing on women’s health, fertility and diagnostics. Headquartered in Pleasanton, CA, Cooper has more than 10,000 employees with products sold in over 100 countries. For more information, please visit www.coopercos.com.