‘Eye Health Hero’ award for PhD student
26 October 2020
Vision Sciences PhD student, Nikita Thomas, has been awarded an ‘Eye Health Hero’ Award for her outstanding work in developing a visual field-testing device for people with nystagmus.
The award was presented by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) who launched the Eye Health Hero initiative in 2012 to recognise front line staff whose work made a real difference in restoring sight all around the globe.
Of the three categories, Nikita was acknowledged in the Innovator category, where candidates ‘embrace new ideas, create new possibilities and push the boundaries of knowledge’.
Nikita’s remarkable discovery, a visual field testing device, also known as a perimeter, not only benefits those with nystagmus, but also facilitates visual field testing in the elderly, very young patients, and those with learning disabilities who normally have difficulty keeping their gaze fixed on a target.
Discussing the award, Nikita said: “It is a great honour to have won this award and to have our hard work recognised on an international scale. It is important that we endeavour to improve existing clinical methods to make them applicable to all patients, including those with nystagmus. This award sets a great foundation for us to continue development of our device, with the aim of getting it into the clinic in the future."
Nikita’s PhD Supervisor, Dr Matt Dunn said: “Nikita has demonstrated a remarkable aptitude for vision science, quickly mastering the skills necessary of an independent researcher. Her work promises to have a significant impact on both the delivery of clinical eye care and our understanding of the development of the human visual system.”