Associate Professor Jacqueline Ramke

Jacqui Ramke, University of Auckland and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 
(on behalf of the Community Eye Health Team, School of Optometry and Vision Science)

Jacqui is an eye health services researcher with a background in optometry (QUT), international development, epidemiology, and evidence synthesis. In 2020, Jacqui returned to New Zealand following a two-year Commonwealth Rutherford Fellowship at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, where she continues to hold an appointment as Associate Professor of Global Eye Health. At the University of Auckland, Jacqui is establishing a research programme at the School of Optometry and Vision Science focused on developing and testing strategies to improve access to eye care and reduce inequality. Jacqui’s appointment at the University of Auckland is funded by the Buchanan Charitable Foundation, New Zealand.

Associate Professor Maria Stubbe

Maria is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Applied Research on Communication in Health Group in the Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice at the University of Otago, Wellington. She is a social scientist and discourse analyst by training and has published widely in the fields of professional and health communication. Her current research interests include health communication and primary health services evaluation. She is the New Zealand National Representative for EACH, the International Association for Communication in Healthcare.

Dr Phil Turnbull

Phil Turnbull is the Professional Standards Advisor to the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB), and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Auckland. He has also acted as an Expert Witness in several criminal cases, and is the optometric advisor to the Civil Aviation Authority. His research interests include adapting technology to assess visual function, including virtual reality, infrared eyetracking, arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging (ASL-MRI), and multifocal electroretinograms (mf-ERG) to create more objective measures of visual function and ocular physiology

Professor Michael Kalloniatis

BSc(Optom), MSc(Optom), PhD, PGCOT, FAAO

Michael completed his optometry degree at the University of Melbourne and after completing his Master’s degree at the same institute, undertook PhD studies at the University of Houston, Texas.  After post-doctoral training at the University of Texas, he returned to Melbourne where he was an academic staff member in the optometry department before moving to the University of Auckland where he was the Robert G Leitl professor of optometry and vision science. In 2009, he took up the position of Centre Director and Professor at the Centre for Eye Health, UNSW. His expertise is in retinal neurobiology, visual psychophysics (as it applies to clinical testing) with a keen interest in glaucoma and retinal disease diagnosis. He is an active researcher publishing in a wide topic area and he also presents at both local and international meetings.

Eleisha Dudson

BOptom Hons. FIAOMC

Eleisha is an Optometrist working in private practice at McClellan Grimmer Edgar Optometrists. She specialises in contact lens fitting including OrthoK, Scleral lenses, and custom contact lenses.
With her experience in OrthoK, Eleisha was part of the first Australasian group to obtain their Fellowship for the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control. She is passionate about myopia management, having spoken previously at an NZAO conference on the topic. She is a self-professed contact lens geek and has been part of pre market trials for new lenses, trying to keep on top of the new science and understanding of how contact lenses can be more comfortable and the emerging research on how the eye maintains a healthy ocular surface.

Stacy Wilson

Stacy is the CEO of the National Advocacy Trust who have been contracted to provide the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service since 2007. 

Originally a nurse, then a manager within a hospital setting, Stacy joined the advocacy service in 1997 as Manager/advocate for Advocacy Network Services Trust, one of the original 10 providers of the service. In 1999 the number of providers was reduced to three and Stacy took over the management of the service from Waikato to Wellington. 

In 2005, when both her children had flown the coop, she and her husband decided it was time to leave home too and moved to the UK. During her time in the UK, she worked on a casual basis in a children’s nursery and upon deciding it was time to find a more permanent position approached a recruitment agency and due to her prior experience found herself managing the agency while the owners took their first break in 20 years.  

Upon her return to NZ in August 2006 she worked as a contractor until her passion for the work of the health and disability advocacy service lured her back.  

Wilson Sue

Wilson is an optometrist owner of Bentley and Sue Optometrists, a long-established community optometry practice in Upper Hutt, north of Wellington.  Graduated Bachelor of Optometry 1991 from The University of Auckland, was in the first NZ trained cohort of optometrist therapeutic prescribers 2004, credentialed for diabetic retinal screening for his local DHB service 2008, was a member of the Implementation Group for the Ministry of Health Diabetic Retinal Screening Grading Monitoring Guidance 2016, and is a NZ Optometrists Board approved independent prescriber of glaucoma medicines since 2017.  He was elected to NZAO Council in 2006, NZAO President 2009-2011, is a trustee of the NZAO charitable trusts that support NZ education and research related to eyes and vision, has represented NZAO on various university, regulatory and government groups, and has helped to organise the education programme of the NZAO Annual Conference for the last 15 years.

Dr Ian de Terte

Dr. Ian de Terte is a Senior Lecturer in clinical psychology. He completed his clinical training at the University of Canterbury. Dr de Terte has held clinical positions at Anxiety Disorders, Forensics, Department of Corrections, Pain Management Service, Private Practice, and the Psychology Clinic at Massey University. He holds the designation of Specialist Assessor under the Intellectual Disability Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation Act. Dr de Terte is a former detective with the New Zealand Police and currently a reservist with the New Zealand Army where he holds the rank of Major and specialist role as clinical psychologist. At the moment, Dr de Terte is based at the Wellington Campus of the School of Psychology, Massey University, New Zealand and involved in the Clinical Psychology training programme. Dr. de Terte’s philosophy is that clinical practice and teaching should be evidence based and focuses his research on applied matters. His overarching research theme is how clinical psychology adds to the area of high-risk or first responder occupations. In particular, his scholarship can be divided into three main themes: (1) the health/mental health of workers in high-risk or first responder occupations; (2) strategies or interventions that moderate or protect workers against the potential consequences of occupational trauma; and (3) the psychological consequences of work-related trauma. He has published over 50 peer reviewed papers, been involved in the presentations of over 90 papers, which includes approximately 30 invited presentations, and secured in excess of NZ$300,000 in research funding. Dr de Terte is on five editorial boards. He is the member of three professional bodies including the Institute of Clinical Psychology, which is a division of the New Zealand Psychological Society and the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association. Dr de Terte is currently the co-ordinator for Clinical Psychology training at the Wellington Campus of Massey University. He has also held positions of Chair of the Institute of Clinical Psychology, member of the Board of Directors for the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association, and the New Zealand representative for the Stress, Trauma, Anxiety, and Resilience Society. Dr de Terte has been fortunate to conduct clinical and research projects in Thailand, Pitcairn Islands, United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines.

Dr Lize Angelo

Dr Lize Angelo is currently a Junior Ophthalmology Research Fellow in Auckland and is doing her PhD in Ophthalmology under the supervision of Dr Akilesh Gokul, Dr Mohammed Ziaei and Professor Charles McGhee. When completed, she will apply for the RANZCO training programme. Her PhD aims to assess health disparities and inequities spanning from referral, diagnosis, and treatment, including crosslinking, of subjects with keratoconus. She is currently working on a project that is investigating low attendance to keratoconus and crosslinking clinics in Auckland.

Dr Joevy Lim

Dr Joevy Lim is a qualified medical practitioner pursuing a career in Ophthalmology. She completed both a medical degree and a Bachelor of Medical Science (1st Class Honours) qualifying in 2018. She has published several papers on ocular disease and is currently undertaking PhD doctoral studies in ocular melanoma in Aotearoa/New Zealand. These comprise two large studies: a 20-year retrospective study of the incidence, presentation, and treatment of ocular melanoma in NZ; and a nationwide prospective study on ocular melanocytic lesions. These studies will provide local data on ocular melanoma, improve and streamline the current referral process for concerning ocular melanocytic lesions, and explore the utility of telemedicine in patient management. 

Zaria Bradley

Zaria is an optometrist who graduated from the University of Auckland in 2013 with first class honours. She worked in the community at both corporate and private optometrists throughout Auckland for a number of years, before moving to her current position as clinical supervisor of undergraduate optometry students at the University of Auckland. Zaria is passionate about paediatric optometric care, spending time regularly at school vision screenings and teaching in the paediatric clinic. She has led a number of undergraduate research projects since 2019, with a primary focus on myopia management. 

Dr Ben O'Keeffe

Director and co-founder of oDocs Eye Care with Dr Hong Sheng Chiong in 2014. oDocs Eye Care is a social enterprise which aims to create eye care technology and devices which makes eye health more accessible and affordable to people within New Zealand and globally. Currently working as a locum non-training registrar in ophthalmology in Wellington and the Nelson and Marlborough DHBs. He also has a background refereeing rugby representing New Zealand on both the national and international stages.

Dr Ehsan Vaghefi

Ehsan is a bioengineer who has been working on Medical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence in Optometry and Ophthalmology. He is the co-founder / CEO of Toku Eyes (www.tokueyes.com) and a senior lecturer at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, The University of Auckland.

In his academic life, he is leading the curriculum development group for Masters of Artificial Intelligence (health specialization) and Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences in Digital Health at The University of Auckland. Meanwhile he has supervised more than 7 PhD students and 4 Masters students to completion. So far, he has published 45 peer-reviewed journal articles, 41 refereed conference abstracts, and 3 patents, gaining an h-index of 12.

In his entrepreneurial life, Ehsan has successfully led Toku Eyes to New Zealand’s highest seed round fundraising, making Toku Eyes to one of the most valuable MedTech companies of its stage. Backed by Australia and New Zealand VC and supportive clinicians, he is now leading Toku Eyes through its FDA and CE regulatory processes, eminently entering the international markets.

Alan Benjamin

B.Sc., Dip.Optom.

Alan graduated as an Optometrist at The School of Optometry in 1987.

Following a 2-year period at St. John’s Eye Hospital, he established two practices where he focussed on Paediatric Optometry and Contact lenses.

Since immigrating to New Zealand in 1997, he has consulted in both private practice and Corporate Optometry. Currently, he is a technical consultant at CLC, which involves supporting Practitioners with specialty lens fittings, including RGP’s, soft lenses, sclerals and Ortho-K.

He has lectured in Paediatric Optometry at Witwatersrand Technicon, and held seminars and workshops in Australia and New Zealand covering different contact lenses and fitting principles.

Charl Laas

B.Optom (UJ), CAS Diag & Pharm (NEWENCO), BSc.Med.Sc (Hons) Epidemiology (Stell), MDP (Stell)

Charl recently immigrated to New Zealand and works as a technical lens consultant at Corneal Lens Corporation.

In South Africa, he was the founder and director of a large independent specialty lens practice focussing on specialty lenses and myopia management.

He is a founder and director of InnoCon SA, providing distribution, training and support for speciality contact lenses to Southern Africa. Currently, he is the clinical director of Innovatus Technology, based in Australia, which develops the EyeSpace software, manufacture technology, and lens designs for specialty contact lens fitting.

He is a past director of the South African Optometric Association, senior contact lens lecturer at the University of the Free State Optometry school. He has lectured nationally and internationally on the subject of specialty contact lenses.

Dr. Samantha Simkin

Dr Samantha Simkin, is a therapeutically qualified optometrist who graduated with first class honours and completed her PhD in childhood visual impairment at the University of Auckland. Samantha continues her research as the Stevenson post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Auckland. She also has clinical appointments at BLENNZ and in private practice. Samantha’s areas of interest include newborn ocular screening including retinopathy of prematurity, causes of visual impairment in children and management of children with low vision. She has multiple peer-reviewed publications and regularly speaks at both national and international conferences on her areas of expertise.

Andrew Sangster

At some stage in his optometric career, Andrew became a “Senior Optometrist”. This came as a surprise and he is still in somewhere between the stages of denial and acceptance. He spent a large proportion of his career serving on the NZAO Council and enjoyed this immensely.
He has been fitting OrthoK lenses since around 2002, before myopia control was a “thing” and has been inspired by on the outcomes he has with long-term mitigation of myopic progression. In 2018 he attained a fellowship with International Academy of Orthokeratology.  He uses all modalities of myopia control in practice and is keen to encourage all optometrists to take up this rewarding area of practise.

Graeme Curtis

Since 2001, Graeme Curtis has been the owner and director of the Corneal Lens Corporation NZ, New Zealand’s largest contact lens manufacturer. CLC is based in Christchurch and specializes in custom made RGP’s Clerals, soft and Ortho-K lenses and supplies to practitioners throughout New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Workshop Presenters

Renee Edgar

Renee Edgar is an Optometrist at McClellan Grimmer Edgar Optometrist in Wellington. An avid sports player (back in the day) and now coach and supporter saw her pursue an interest in sports vision. Working with athletes made her realise that concussion was to become part of the care she would need to deliver and saw her dive into the area of post-concussion visual rehab. Many conferences overseas to soak up the information available saw her post-concussion special interest blossom into a significant part of her practice, both assessment and the vision therapy. It is rewarding work and she enjoys the difference she can make to people’s lives.

Richard Shanks

Richard Shanks works at Barry and Sargent Optometrists in Wellington.  He trained as an optometrist in New Zealand before travelling to the United States, where he studied and worked with leading practitioners in the developmental optometry field, attended combined OT/OD symposiums and worked with optometrists who specialised in working with the visual sequelae from head injury. Upon returning to New Zealand, he joined the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometry, continuing to work in both developmental optometry and head injury, and was instrumental in inviting leading optometric practitioners with a special interest in head injury to both Australia and New Zealand.  Richard has spent the last 30 years working in both primary practice and behavioural optometry, including working with head injury clients with associated vision problems.  He provides a broad range of optometric solutions to these clients including lenses, prisms, filters, optometric vision therapy and light therapy combined with judicious referral to other health professionals.

Quiz Masters

Rochelle van Eysden

Rochelle is an optometrist and is an hororary teaching fellow in optometry and vision science. She is the current president of NZAO and runs her own practice in Christchurch. Rochelle spent four years achieving two degrees in psychology before completing her BOptom(Hons) in 1998.

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson graduated from the School of Optometry at the University of Auckland in 1993. He worked in the UK, Australia and Austria for a number of years as both an optometrist and contact lens fitter and since 2003 has been the principal optometrist at the Ophthalmology Department at Greenlane Hospital, where he works in the Acute Eye Service as well as paediatric, glaucoma and medical retinal clinics.

He is a past president of the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of NZ and was also a trustee of the Eye Bank of NZ. He has been the chairman of VOSO, the charitable trust of optometrists and ophthalmologists providing eye care throughout the Pacific from 2006 to 2016 and is still a trustee and active volunteer with them.