The School of Optometry and Vision Science moved to the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the beginning of 2021. Under the new Faculty management, the School has been provided with new and exciting opportunities to collaborate with other health schools within UNSW including the School of Clinical Medicine, School of Health Sciences, School of Medical Sciences and School of Population Health in teaching and research. These collaborations are in line with our School’s mission statement to “Advancing vision and eye health in society through world-class, innovative, multi-disciplinary education and research”.

During Orientation Week (O-Week) on 10 February 2021, SOVS held its annual School Welcome at the Physics Theatre.  The welcome was presented by Professor Lisa Keay, Head of School. We were excited to be able to deliver the School Welcome in person and it was nice to have new students introduced to our community, facilities, and for students to meet their cohort for the next few years. The School Welcome was followed by a School tour and a BBQ hosted by the Student Optometry and Vision Science Society.

Undergraduate School Welcome

On 31 March 2021, the Faculty of Medicine and Health held its Prizegiving awards ceremony for its current students and recent graduates at The Roundhouse, UNSW. The awards were presented by the Faculty Executive Director and Associate Dean of Education. Our Head of School Professor Lisa Keay, Dr Sharon Oberstein and Dr Kathleen Watt were in attendance to celebrate the extraordinary achievement of our prize winners.

Faculty of Medicine & Health Prizegiving awards ceremony

As part of the outreach activities organised by UNSW Future Students, our School participated in one of the three days of “The Experience UNSW event” which was held on 15 April 2021. This event targeted 2021 Year 12 students, providing them with an opportunity to experience firsthand our campus and student life as well as establishing a connection with the UNSW community. Our Optometry and Vision Science Student Society President, Azba Mashood participated in a student panel, representing our School in students’ talks, whilst Associate Professor Michele Madigan and Dr Vanessa Honson conducted interactive 30 minute workshops titled “Vision Science and Optometry Eye Wonder!”.

The Experience UNSW Event

Prior to the NSW lockdown which commenced at the end of June 2021, our School was able to host the annual Graduation dinner and Prizegiving Ceremony for its recent graduates on the 12 May 2021 at L’Aqua Function Centre, Cockle Bay Wharf in Sydney. It was a lovely evening in which we celebrated our current and graduate student achievements.

As a result of increasing COVID-19 cases detected in New South Wales, face-to-face clinical and dispensing classes as well as student placements were postponed in Term 2 2021. Our students managed to partially complete their course requirements through online teaching delivery. Our Director of Learning and Teaching Dr Pauline Kang, Lab Manager Dr Dale Larden, Placement Coordinator Ms Michelle Bonanno, Program Administrator Ms Michelle Wanandy, Clinic Director Dr Kathleen Watt and our School’s academic team worked tirelessly to successfully organise and deliver deferred face-to-face teaching and placement activities for our Optometry and Vision Science students during Term 3 and into December 2021.

During 2021 the UNSW Open Day was delivered online through Microsoft Teams via webinar with sim-u-live lectures. The UNSW Open Day was important for the Year 12 cohort given the ongoing COVID-19 challenges they have faced. On the day, prospective students had the opportunity to join online and ask our academics and current students any questions they had about the Optometry and Vision Science’s program structure, admissions requirements, student experience, and future job opportunities.

The optometry SWAG (Student Wellbeing and Action Group) was formed during 2021.  Membership includes Dr Pauline Kang, Director of Learning and Teaching, OptomSoc executive team members and representatives from each stage from 1-4.  On 21 October 2021 SWAG held a virtual games night. This successful online social event was attended by many students and staff members.

We also congratulate our incoming OptomSoc Executive Team for 2022:

President: Karuna Darvesh

Vice President: Lucy Helena Nguyen

Treasurer: Johnson Tran

Secretary: Nhi Nguyen

Events Coordinator: Zhilin Choo

Marketing Director: Sylvia Wang

We sincerely thank the 2021 Executive Team:

President: Azba Mashood

Vice-President: Amy Yu

Treasurer: Khang Lam

Secretary: Shanice Perumal

For their commitment, dedication and leadership during a challenging 2021.

OptomSoc Executive 2022 & 2021

The UNSW International Open Day specifically held for International Undergraduate Students was held on 4 December 2021.  This event had a similar structure to the UNSW Open Day held earlier in the year.  There was strong interest from prospective overseas students.

We commend our students for their hard work and resilience during 2021 and wish them all the best for their studies in 2022.

Dr Pauline Kang, Director of Learning and Teaching

Ms Michelle Wanandy, Program Administrator

Previous undergraduate news updates

  • 2020 was a challenging year for all of us here in Australia and around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Teaching, research activities and social events for our Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry students were all impacted. Perhaps the biggest challenge was the suspension of face-to-face teaching in March and the transition to online learning. Special care was needed to ensure that our standards of teaching quality were maintained for these online classes.

    Our new first year students have been supported by our dedicated fourth year peer mentors. This program is designed to assist first years’ transition to university life by providing them with program advice from older students as well as an opportunity to make friends. The adaptiveness of our peer mentors was demonstrated by their shifting to online, weekly catch ups as soon as Covid-19 restrictions suspended face-to-face social activities.

    Our final year (Stage 5) Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry clinical students’ rotations and placements during mid-April to May were also cancelled. During stage 5, students would normally examine many patients across a range of clinics, with a variety of conditions.  This valuable clinical experience is necessary for their eventual registration as optometrists. Fortunately, the Australian government issued new Covid-19 recommendations in early June and our final year students were able to resume their work at the Optometry Clinic.

    On August 4th, 2020, the School of Optometry and Vision Science recognized the diligence and achievements of 2019’s graduating cohort with our annual prizegiving awards (delivered over Zoom, of course). Dr Jack Phu from the Centre for Eye Health was our keynote speaker. Dr Phu’s inspirational speech encouraged the graduating cohort to find opportunities to shape how the profession will meet the challenges raised by the pandemic. Ivy Kol, the 2019 UNSW Student Optometry Society President, spoke on behalf of the graduates and award winners also with an outstanding speech, sharing her thoughts about the resilience and professionalism of Optometrists in these trying times. This annual prizegiving event is a wonderful acknowledgment to all the undergraduate and postgraduate students who excel in their academic life. We sincerely thank our donors and sponsors for their continued support of our School and students.

    Towards the end of the year, UNSW delivered its first digital Open Day on 5 September 2020. This turned out to be a vibrant and engaging digital event that showcased what our university has to offer to prospective students. The most popular component proved to be the ‘live’ lecture schedule, a rotating showcase of UNSW faculties and services. The ‘live’ lecture was available on demand for prospective students to watch before the end of the year.

    In September the inaugural SOVS student led conference was held.

    The conference was spearheaded by Master of Clinical Optometry student Judy Nam and Lecturer Dr Jack Phu, along with the support of their organising committee. They took the initiative to create a conference solely for students which was aptly named “Seeing Beyond 2020."  Originally scheduled as a face-to-face conference for July 2020, it was rescheduled to 4 September 2020 as a fully online event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Enlisting the help of the Optometrists Association NSW/ACT, recent graduates and a myriad of optometrists, clinicians, UNSW faculty and alumni, this online student led conference covered topics from practising during COVID-19, leadership, ownership of a practice, career pathways and research to interactive workshops on science communication and live demonstrations on gonioscopy.  

    This was a jam-packed schedule, but it was also a great success and the school is grateful for all those who volunteered their time. For more details on the conference, see this article in Mivision [https://www.mivision.com.au/2020/11/seeing-beyond-2020-inaugural-unsw-sovs-student-conference/]

    Finally we thank our School of Optometry and Vision Science 2020 Executive Team for the Optometry and Vision Science Student Society: Claudia Jiang, Stephanie Huang, Rodger Zhang and Paula Gu for their valuable contributions to the School, and especially for their leadership during a challenging 2020.

    We are delighted to introduce to our alumni the 2021 Optometry and Vision Science Student Society Executive Team:

    President: Azba Mashood

    Vice-President: Amy Yu

    Treasurer: Khang Lam

    Secretary: Shanice Perumal

    2021 Optometry executive team. L to R: Shanice Perumal, Khang Lam, Amy Yu, Azba Mashood, Claudia Jiang, Stephanie Huang, Rodger Zhang, Paula Gu

    Dr Pauline Kang
    Director of Learning and Teaching and

    Ms Michelle Wanandy
    Program Administrator

  • Undergraduate and Master of Clinical Optometry News

    Congratulations to all our Graduates!

    On May 14, 2019 the School of Optometry and Vision Science recognised the diligence and achievements of 2018's graduating cohort with our annual prizegiving awards and luncheon prior to the official graduation. This luncheon was well attended by our graduating students, other year prizewinners, donors, sponsors and key stakeholders of our School.

    Dr Angelica Ly from the Centre for Eye Health was our keynote speaker. Her excellent and inspiring occasional address encouraged our graduates to ‘challenge themselves and to think about what they are experts at.’ Kevin La, the 2018 UNSW Student Optometry Society President, responded on behalf of the graduates and award winners with an impressive speech, sharing his thoughts about how ‘the values and characteristics that make a great Optometrist resonate within all of us.’

    This annual prizegiving is a wonderful acknowledgment to all of the undergraduate and postgraduate students who excel in their academic life. Our donors attend every year and particularly enjoy meeting and networking with the graduates and prizewinners. We sincerely thank our donors and sponsors for their continued support of our School and students.

    Finishing your degree doesn't mean you're no longer a part of UNSW SOVS. For more information see Alumni.

    Congratulations to our undergraduate and postgraduate prizewinners of 2018 who were recognised at the 2019 graduation luncheon.

    The school would also like to extend its gratitude to all prize sponsors. 

    The Stage-1 Optics Prize [Sponsored by Transitions Optical (Essilor)]

    for the best performance in VISN1111 Geometrical and Physical Optics and VISN1221 Visual Optics

    CHRISTINE YUAN

    Christine Yuan

    The Stage-2 Clinical Optometry Prize (Sponsored by BOC Ophthalmic Instruments Pty Ltd)

    for the best performance in OPTM2133 The Clinical Environment and OPTM2233 Optical Dispensing

    AARON TSE

    Aaron Tse

    The Stage-3 Ocular Diseases Prize (Sponsored by Essilor Australia Pty Ltd)

    for the best performance in OPTM3131 Ocular Disease 3A and OPTM3231 Ocular Disease 3B

    AND

    The Stage-3 Environmental Optometry and Dispensing Prize (Sponsored by UVEX SAFETY AUSTRALIA LIMITED) 

    for the best performance in stage-3 Environmental Optometry and Dispensing

    LINCOLN LE

    Lincoln Le

    The CooperVision Prize in Contact Lenses (Sponsored by CooperVision Australia)

    for the best performance in OPTM6411 and OPTM6421 (Contact Lens Strand) in Stage-1 of the Master of Clinical Optometry

    PHOEBE WONG

    Phoebe Wong

    We commend our students for their hard work and resilience during 2021 and wish them all the best for their studies in 2022.

    Dr Pauline Kang, Director of Learning and Teaching

    Ms Michelle Wanandy, Program Administrator

    The Optometry NSW/ACT Prize in Ocular Therapeutics

    for the best performance in OPTM6413 Anterior Eye Therapeutics and OPTM6423 Therapeutics and the Posterior Eye in Stage-1 of the Master of Clinical Optometry

    Shared by

    ROCKY SHI

    BRIAN WONG

    Brian Wong and Rocky Shi

    The Mivision Prize in Recognition of Social Engagement

    to recognise students that have demonstrated excellence in communication, advocacy or in promoting eyecare to the community or other professions

    THALIA LIM

    Thalia Lim

    The Neville Fulthorpe Prize for Stage-5 Clinical Optometry (Sponsored by Judy Rainsford)

    for the best performance in Master of Clinical Optometry, Stage-2 (OPTM8512 Clinical Optometry 5A and OPTM8522 Clinical Optometry 5B)

    COURTNEY PRIESTLEY

    Courtney Priestley

    The Designs for Vision Prize

    for the best overall performance throughout the Bachelor of Optometry/Master of Clinical Optometry Program in Primary Care Optometry

    ANN WEN LIM

    Ann Wen Lim

    The Dr Andrew Whatham Prize for Stage-5 Centre for Eye Health (CFEH) Clinical Excellence (Sponsored by the Centre for Eye Health)

    for the best performance in the Centre for Eye Health (CFEH) Stage-5 Clinical Rotation (Master of Clinical Optometry Stage-2)

    AMANDA SOBBIZADEH

    Amanda Sobbidazeh

    The Specsavers Prize for Excellence in Patient Management

    for excellence in patient management by a student in the final year Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry Program

    NANCY LIU

    Nancy Liu

    The ACBO Prize in Binocular and Children’s Vision (Sponsored by the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists)

    for the best overall performance throughout the Master of Clinical Optometry program in Binocular and Children's Vision

    LOWANA LITTLECHILD

    Lowana Littlechild

    The Research Project Prize in Master of Clinical Optometry (Sponsored by Optometric Vision Research Foundation) 

    for the best overall mark in the research project in the final year of the Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry program

    Shared by

    TIANNI JIA

    ROSLYN LIAO

    Tianni Jia and Roslyn Liao

    The Australian College of Optometry (ACO) Prize

    Awarded for academic excellence in Primary Care Optometry, specifically in the ACO placement

    JIN JANE KWON

    (absent)

     

    The Luxottica Prize for the Best Performance in Clinical Ocular Therapeutics (Master of Clinical Optometry, Stage-2) (Sponsored by Luxottica) 

    for the best performance in OPTM8513 Clinical Ocular Therapy 5A and OPTM8523 Clinical Ocular Therapy 5B

    AND

    The Specsavers Prize for Overall Excellence in the Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry Program (Sponsored by Specsavers)

    for the best overall weighted average mark (WAM) in the Bachelor of Vision Science/ Master of Clinical Optometry program

    AND

    The University Medal

    PATRICIA TSONG

    Patricia Tsong

    The Postgraduate Ocular Therapeutics Prize (Sponsored by Luxottica)

    for the best performance in Postgraduate Ocular Therapeutics

    ROBYN MADIGAN

    (absent)

     

    The Brian Kirby Prize for Research Excellence in Optometry (Sponsored by the Brian Kirby Foundation) 

    for the Doctoral student in Optometry with the best thesis

    Shared by

    EMMA GIBSON

    JACK PHU

    Jack Phu

    (Emma Gibson absent)

     

    The David Bard Award in Optometry and Vision Science

    AARON KAN

    Aaron Kan

    Eye Ball 2019

    The annual UNSW OptomSoc Eye Ball 2019 was held on 20 July 2019 at Doltone House Darling Island. Students, staff, key stakeholders and sponsors attended this beautiful event which was themed Winter Wonderland.

    Practice Excellence Scholarship Awarded to Master of Clinical Optometry Student

    Congratulations to Ivy Kol, a Master of Clinical Optometry final year student was awarded a Practice Excellence Scholarship from VSP Global and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. The purpose of the scholarship was to "help foster networking opportunities and teach the importance of Academy Fellowship."

    Ivy had a fantastic time and said "It was an invaluable experience attending the Academy meeting and the VSP Global reception. It was great to meet so many like-minded students and professionals on the other side of the world and attend lectures about prominent eyecare issues."