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Annual Summer Student Symposium

19 February 2016
First prize winner Jonathan Young

The New Zealand National Eye Centre (NZ-NEC) hosted its annual Summer Student Symposium on Friday 19th February.

Eleven summer students presented from the Department of Ophthalmology and the School of Optometry and Vision Science (SOVS). The students presented on the research projects that they had worked on over their 10 week Summer Studentships. The symposium was well attended by academic staff, students and funders of the summer studentships.

The presentations were judged by Professor Louise Nicholson and A/P Mark Barrow, Associate Dean (Academic).

First prize was awarded to Jonathan Young who was supervised by Dr Misha Vorobyev from SOVS. His summer student­ship was funded by the School of Optometry and Vision Science. Second prize went to Nikita Govender, supervised by Dr Monica Acosta from SOVS. Again this studentship was sponsored by SOVS. Third prize was awarded to Samuel Lie, from the Department of Ophthalmology. Samuel was supervised by Naveed Yasin, Dr Darren Svirskis and Dr Ilva Rupenthal. Samuel’s studentship was sponsored by the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

First Prize: Jonathan Young

Jonathan Young won first prize for a presentation of his summer project “Developing aids for colour deficient optometrists”.

The project was funded by the School of Optometry and Vision Science and was supervised by Dr Misha Vorobyev. Jonathan Young worked in collaboration with John Kwak. 

Colour deficient medical practitioners have difficulty in making reliable diagnoses due to their inability to distinguish between colours. Because 8% of males have inherited red-green colour deficiency, colour deficiency among medical practitioners poses a substantial hazard to society.

One of the diagnostic problems that colour deficient optometrists confront is a difficulty in differentiating pigment from haemorrhage on a fundus image. 

To improve the discrimination and to reduce ambiguity for colour in fundus images, Jonathan Joung and John Kwak transformed fundus colours. They modelled each colour deficient participant’s range of colour vision and developed personalised image transformation algorithms.

Participants (optometry students) were shown transformed and original fundus images with either subretinal pigments (choroidal naevi, CHRPE, melanoma, melanocytoma) or subretinal haemorrhages, and were prompted to make a diagnosis.

Jonathan Young and John Kwak have demonstrated that the image transformation improves the ability of colour deficient optometry students to differentiate between pigment and haemorrhage in fundus images. They have also developed an image transformation that improves the ability of colour normal optometry students to diagnose between pigment and haemorrhages.

This is the first study of its kind that has investigated colour deficiency in an optometric clinical setting.