Research Title: Ocular surface in children
Background: The use of smartphone is rising rapidly globally. Recent data show that 95% of US teenagers and 68% of Australian children own or have access to a smartphone and most exceed the daily recommended screen time guidelines set by World Health Organisation. Chronic use of digital devices can induce ocular symptoms (including chronic pain), cause visual fatigue, adversely impact blinking, disrupt the tear film and cause dry eye. This threat to ocular surface health is not well studied in children, and the ocular surface in children is not well characterised. Only a handful of studies have measured ocular symptoms in children and although children appear to report less symptoms of dry eye in comparison to adults, this may be due to poor understanding and use of dry eye questionnaires which have been developed for use in adults
Aim: To characterise ocular surface of children including blinking, and to examine the impact of smartphone use on the ocular surface homeostasis in children.
Methods: This research aim will be explored in four individual/parallel studies. Study 1 focused on a systematic review and meta-analysis to characterise ocular surface homeostasis (symptoms, tear film, ocular surface, blinking) in children. Study 2 (cross-sectional, n=60) will validate Six dry eye symptom questionnaires (Symptoms Assessment in Dry Eye (SANDE), Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), Ocular Comfort Index (OCI), Dry Eye Questionnaire 5 (DEQ-5), and Instant Ocular Symptom Survey (IOSS)), to determine the feasibility of use and reliability in children aged 6-15 years. Study 3 (randomised cross-over intervention, n=24) will explore real time blinking (using wearable eye tracking headset) under stimulated habitual patterns of smartphone use and other visual and non-visual conditions (reading, conversation, walking). Study 4 (interventional, n=45) will examine the impact of smartphone use on ocular surface homeostasis (symptoms, tear film, ocular surface, blink parameters) in children.
The outcome of this research will shed light on blink dynamics, the effects of smartphone on eyes of children and help develop reliable assessment tools to diagnose dry eye symptoms among children. The findings of this research will inform evidence-based guidelines to eye care practitioners on safe screen time for eye health. Parents, guardians, and teachers will be better informed on the safe screen time for children.
Ngozi is an optometrist (OD) and has practiced as a clinical Optometrist/Lecturer in Nigeria. She is a PhD candidate at SOVS, UNSW Sydney, currently completing the third year of PhD on her research interest ocular surface in children. Ngozi has held three teaching fellowships at SOVS and mentored undergraduate and master’s research students. Ngozi is a recipient of the prestigious 2019 Dorothy Carlborg Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia (CCLSA) research award, three conference travel awards and published a paper in the highest-ranking original research journal in ophthalmology. She is an IMNIS mentee of Med Tech-Pharma Program NSW and one of the inaugural PhD champions of Women in Maths and Science, UNSW and contributes to various STEM programs at UNSW, Sydney. In addition, she is a mother to two wonderful children.
August 2017 – Present PhD in Optometry
School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
December 2018 – Present Candidate for Fellowship, American Academy of Optometry.
2019 Residency in Cornea and Contact Lenses (FNCO)
Nigerian College of Optometrists, 5070/5071 Unity Estate, Karu, Abuja, Nigeria.
2015 Master of Public Health (MPH)
Epidemiology and Community Health Department, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.
2006 Doctor of Optometry (OD)
Optometry Department, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
Link to publications provided:
2020 UNSW Postgraduate Research Student Support (PRSS) award to attend ARVO 2020, Baltimore MD, USA
2019 – 2020 2019 Dorothy Carlborg Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia (CCLSA) Research Award.
August 2019 Student travel award, 20th Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Contact Lens Research (ISCLR), Singapore.
April 2018 Student travel award, 15th Scientific and 9th Educators Meeting in Optometry (SEMO), Melbourne, Australia.
2018 – 2019 Ambassador for Women in Maths and Science, UNSW Sydney.
2018 – 2019 Mentee Award, Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS), Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
2019 – 2020 Little sister, NSW Women in Life Sciences, AusBiotech and Medicines Australia.
2018 – 2020 Tuition Fee Remission Postgraduate Research Scholarship, UNSW Sydney, Australia.
2020 May ARVO Annual Meeting, Virtual Video Presentation, Baltimore, MD
2019 August 20th Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Contact Lens Research (ISCLR), Singapore.
2018 April Scientific and Educators Meeting in Optometry (SEMO), Melbourne.
2011 – 2016 Annual Nigerian Optometric Association AGM/Annual Conferences.
2014 April World Ophthalmology Congress, WOC 2014, April 2 – 5, Tokyo, Japan.
2012 February World Ophthalmology Congress 2012, February 16 – 20, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
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