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DR DIRK BOOYSEN

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Dr Booysen is a registered Clinical Optometrist with 37 years clinical and 34 years academic experience. Currently in private practice he holds a part time teaching position at the UJ Department of optometry and serves as an independent consultant to Bausch & Lomb, Zeiss, Essilor, Genop Health care, Alcon and Johnson & Johnson South Africa.

He holds ocular diagnostic and therapeutic privileges in SA, UK, Namibia, New Zealand and the USA. His passion for continued professional development, optometric education and clinical research is complimented by his accomplishment as an author and presenter of over 80+ Clinical papers, articles and books.

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DR NAIMAH EBRAHIM KHAN

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Dr Naimah Ebrahim Khan is the Head of Department of Optometry at UKZN. the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She describes herself as easy going but is always up to a challenge. She is a mother to two beautiful children who keep her busy outside of work. Most weekends the family enjoy hikes and exploration within the KZN region. Community engagements include volunteering with the Institute for Learning and Motivation South Africa (ILM-SA), the Islamic Medical association and the eye care wing of the Ramakrishna Society.

Dr Naimah Ebrahim Khan obtained a Bachelor of Optometry degree and began her professional career as an optometrist in private practice in Durban. She completed a research masters in Optometry which was centred around dry eye tests.

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THANUJA PANICKER

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CURRENTLY rendering eye care service delivery through Private Practice License at Eyelight Optometrists, Tlokweng issued by the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Botswana since 2015 until date.

Thanuja graduated Optometry in 1992, with distinction from Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai. She then went on to study a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a post grad in Health Administration.

Thanuja is currently the chairperson for the Botswana Optometrists Association and Public Health Committee for the African Council of Optometry. She is a member of the Public Health Committee for the World Council of Optometry.

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PROF PAUL RAMKISSOON

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BOptom(UDW),CAS(NECO),ACSpVis(RAU),PGCOT(SUNY)
MPhil(RAU),MOptom(UDW), OD(NECO),)DPhil(RAU),FAAO(USA)

Paul Ramkissoon graduated from UDW in 1987 and completed postgraduate qualifications from UDW, RAU, UKZN, NECO, SUNY and the American Academy of Optometry. He is a perpetual student, successfully acquiring all qualifications offered in Optometry. UKZN conferred Honorary Professor title to him in 2012 for his contribution to optometry. Paul has over 130 publications and has delivered over 60 lectures locally and abroad. He has served on several committees of the South African Optometric Association (SAOA) and the Health Profession’s Council of South Africa (HPCSA) advancing eye and vision care. Some of the committees include: Ocular Therapeutics committee of the Professional Board for Optometry and Dispensing Opticians (PBODO), Preliminary committee of the PBODO, Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs) committee of the SAOA, National Health Insurance (NHI) committee of the SAOA and the Together Towards Tomorrow committee of the SAOA. Notwithstanding being in private practice in Newcastle, he is actively engaged as an external examiner and supervisor to local and international postgraduate students. In 2018, Prof Ramkissoon was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Realm of Academia plus the Award for Best Editorial Contribution to Vision Magazine. In 2019, the SAOA awarded Prof Ramkissoon its highest award, Honorary Life Member. Recently, Paul Received the 2021 ASAIPA excellence award for optometry. Despite being orphaned at age 7 and spending his childhood in children’s homes, he has used education as his passport to overcome poverty and obstacles. The difference that a pair of glasses made to his life was one of the driving forces behind his choice in career. Growing up as an orphan was motivation enough to break the cycle of abject poverty and rise above his conditions. He leads by example and serves as a beacon for others promoting the philosophy that despite life’s challenges and in those in similar difficulties that achievement is possible.

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PROF TUWANI RASENGANE

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Tuwani Rasengane is the head of Optometry at the University of the Free State and a director of the Optometric services in the Free State. She has been working extensively in the field of optometry and vision sciences demonstrating her passion for optometric education, vision research and eye care service delivery.

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DR BINA PATEL OD, FAAO

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Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Disease
Director, International Programs
Attending Optometrist, Joslin Diabetes Center’s Beetham Eye Institute

Bina Patel received her Doctor of Optometry degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana and completed her residency program at Northeastern State University College of Optometry, Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She is currently a full-time member of the faculty of the Department of Biomedical Science and Disease at the New England College of Optometry. She currently is the director of international programs and has been instrumental in developing post graduate educational programs in Optometry internationally.

She is the instructor of record for several courses at the college with an emphasis in primary eye care, ocular disease including diagnostic techniques. She has been certified as an image reader at the Joslin Diabetes Center’s Beetham Eye Institute which specializes in diabetes eye care.

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DR ELIZABETH CHETTY

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Dr Elizabeth Chetty is an academic optometrist with a profound passion for specialised contact lenses and keratoconus. She holds a doctoral degree on keratoconus and has presented her research at various international and national conferences over the years. She is a Fellow of the International Association of Contact Lens Educators, and of the British Contact Lens Association and a KOL for Alcon. She is also the IACLE Ambassador for Africa and the Assistant Editor of the African Vision and Eye Health Journal.

As a senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, she devotes her time to shaping the minds of her final year and postgraduate students by imparting knowledge about contact lenses and anterior segment conditions. Her other passion is to promote the understanding and the early diagnosis of keratoconus to eventually decrease the need for corneal transplants, and most importantly, improve the quality of life of her patients.

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PROF SOLANI MATHEBULA

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Solani Mathebula is a professor of Optometry at the University of Limpopo, where is teaches Ophthalmic Optic, Visual Optics and Binocular Vision and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students in research projects.

His research interest are on Binocular Vision and Visual Optics. He has and still publishing papers in national and international journals and has presented papers and posters in national and international academic meetings.

Solani is currently serving in the Educational, Clinical and Standard Committee of the SAOA.

His wish and hope optometrists will pride themselves with Optics, which is the therapeutics of Optometry.

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MS YURISA NAIDOO

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Yurisa Naidoo is the current chairperson of the PBODO. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the HPCSA and is the Chair of the I&T Committee of Council.

She has vast clinical experience as an independent private optometry practitioner with a special interest in diagnostic management of ocular disease and in the fitting of specialty contact lenses. In addition she has experience in working in optometry in the public sector, academia and the NGO sector. She has also previously served on the Committee of Preliminary Enquiry of the PBODO. She is currently serving her second term on the PBODO.

She is also currently registered to complete her Masters In Public Health at UKZN.

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PROFESSOR ALAN RUBIN

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Department of Optometry, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

After 10 years in private practice, my academic and research career proceeded for the next 35 years. Currently rated with the National Research Foundation (NRF) of SA, I (and my co-authors) have published approximately 75 research papers and presented at over 50 conferences. I have had the great pleasure of interacting with hundreds of undergraduates and supervising many postgraduates, while contributing towards their research-related achievements. For almost all my academic career until end 2023, I was editor of the journal African Vision and Eye Health (previously The South African Optometrist) and this with my involvement in optometric education and research in South Africa led to my Distinguished Service Award (2022) from the SAOA.

My research interests involve mainly analysis of dioptric power and software development for computer-based assessment of vision and ocular function. My academic and clinical interests include vision electrophysiology, ocular coherence tomography, visual fields, wavefront aberrometry, and ophthalmic ultrasound.

Other interests are drawing, painting, and writing, which should keep me out of trouble in the years to come, although hopefully not.

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DR GLEN STEELE

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Dr. Glen Steele is a professor at Southern College of Optometry where he emphasizes care of the infant and child. He is a past president of COVD and the OEPF, and he is also a past chair of the AOA InfantSEE® and Children’s Vision Committee. He currently serves on the InfantSEE and Children’s Vision Committee and several other positions of leadership in both optometry and outside of optometry. He has lectured extensively throughout the USA and internationally in the area of infant vision development and care. He has received numerous national and international awards. In 2019, he was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame and in 2022, he was honored with the Dr. W. David Sullins, Jr. InfantSEE Award.

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VIRGINIA MAWELA

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Deputy Director: Eye Health : Gauteng Department of Health (11 years on current portfolio )

Summary of qualifications Bachelor of Optometry ( completed 1999)
Master of Public Health ( Completed May 2015)
Registered for Masters of Public Health Systems and policy

Ms. Virginia Mawela has played a very important role in ensuring the establishment and implementation of primary eye health services in Gauteng Province and to date a total of hundred and forty (140) primary healthcare clinics and nine (9) district hospitals have fully furnished eye clinics that are mended by a full-time optometrist. The province boasts a total of 90 optometrists in total. Such services are very important in the prevention of preventable blindness and early disease detection as well as appropriate referral.

Provincial Eye Clinics are in readiness for the NHI implementation.

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NAZEEM DESAI

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Nazeem completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of the Western Cape with majors in Biochemistry and Physiology.

He then completed a B.Optom at RAU, and  a CAS in Diagnostics & Therapeutics from New England College of Optometry.

Nazeem is currently completing his ocular therapeutics clinical hours at Kalafong Hospital in Pretoria.

His passion for  ocular prosthetics goes back to 1999 when he completed his training in ocular and facial prosthetics.

He has lectured Ocular Disease at the National University of Malaysia (UKM) and was instrumental in pioneering their prosthetics and ocular therapeutics programmes. Nazeem was also invited to speak at multiple optometry conferences in Malaysia.

He is currently in private practice in Northcliff, with his practice focusing on Prosthetics, Scleral and RGP fitting as well as myopia control.

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DR CHRISTINE CROKER

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Christine Croker, OD Doctor of Optometry and Independent Prescriber

Dr Christine Croker brings a wealth of expertise and dedication to the field of optometry.

Her Career Highlights:

  • Director, Visual Eyes Optometrists for over 20 years: As the owner and senior optometrist, Dr Croker has steered a highly successful practice, focusing on delivering personalised care and ensuring utmost patient satisfaction.
  • Resident Optometrist at an independent optometry in the heart of Oxford, UK
  • Therapeutics accreditation in The United States, South Africa and The United Kingdom
  • Worked in a number of ophthalmology departments hospitals on three continents: The most recent being The Oxford Eye Hospital in Oxford two and a half years ago, with exposure to their eye casualty and glaucoma clinics.
  • Moderator and Examiner in Optometry: Served as a faculty member at esteemed institutions like the University of Johannesburg, and an external moderator at the University of Johannesburg and the University of The Free State, imparting knowledge and shaping the next generation of optometrists.
  • Team member of various education task teams for The HPCSA
 

Education & Certifications: Dr Croker holds a Doctorate in Optometry from NECO, USA, alongside a Bachelor's degree from Rand Afrikaans University. She is certified by the General Optical Council (GOC) as an Independent Prescribing (IP) optometrist in the UK, and the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), reflecting her commitment to continuous learning and professional development. She is in the process of completing an Optometry Doctorate through Aston University, Birmingham.

Presentations & Expertise: Dr Croker has delivered insightful presentations for renowned organisations like Allergan and Alcon, covering topics ranging from the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye disease to advanced optometric techniques. Her extensive skill set includes independent prescribing, dry eye management and specialised diagnostics.

In Summary: Dr Christine Croker continually strives for excellence in optometry, blending expertise with unwavering dedication to patient care. Her multifaceted career journey, coupled with a commitment to innovation and continuous learning, positions her as a prominent figure in the optometric community.

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DHARMENDRA BHOOLA

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Dharmendra (DJ) Bhoola, completed a BSc degree with majors in Human Physiology and Microbiology at then University of Durban – Westville, before entering the Bachelor of Optometry program at the above mentioned institution. He graduated from the Optometry program (1995) and received the Merit award for his contribution to Optometric student Research. In 1997 he entered the Masters program at the University of Waterloo (Canada), focusing on Neurophysiology of Binocular Vision which he completed in 2000. He further went on to complete a specialization in low Vision at the John Hopkins Eye institute (2008) in The US. He is in an associate member of NORA (Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association), and COVD (College of Optometrists in Vision Development). He completes his continuing education annually with COVD, NORA as well as the American Academy of Optometry.

He is also a member of ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) and has several published articles in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science. He has presented several papers and posters at ARVO.  In 2022, he presented at the AMCOA (Association of Medical Councils of Africa) conference and in 2023 presented at the World Council of Optometry meeting in Australia.. His current area of interest is looking at image relocation therapy with the use of yoked prisms in macular degeneration patients in addition to binocular vision dysfunction and its effects on spatial vision. He relocated to South Africa in 2014 and currently practices in Fourways Johannesburg.

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ILSE HOMAN

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Ilse earned her Bachelor's degree in Optometry from Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) in 2005, qualifying with ocular diagnostics. She was among the first group of South African optometrists to complete the Ocular Therapeutics course through the State University of New York (SUNY), USA.

With over 18 years of experience in the optometric field, Ilse has held a consulting role at Carl Zeiss Meditec and successfully established a network of five optometry practices.

As the founder of Eyeli, an innovative international optometric technology company, Ilse focuses on medical record keeping, binocular vision, and myopia management solutions.

Ilse's areas of special interest include:
Biomedicine
Digital eye strain
Binocular vision
Myopia management

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DR RAYMOND MABASO

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Dr Raymond Mabaso is a seasoned optometrist who has been practicing the profession for over three decades. He is a member of the Education and Clinical Standards Committee of the SAOA. Dr Mabaso received his Doctor of Literature and Philosophy in Health Studies from the UNISA, and a Master of Public Health from the UL, among other qualifications. Dr Mabaso has an interest in public health optometry and has published papers in peer-reviewed journals.

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NASHUA NAICKER

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Dr Nashua Naicker is an assistant director optometrist and lecturer at the Department of Optometry at the University of the Free State and jointly appointed with the Free State Department of Health at Universitas Regional Hospital. His special interest areas are binocular vision and paediatric optometry. Dr Naicker has recently completed a PhD in Health Professions Education at the UFS. He currently serves as chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and is a postgraduate research supervisor. His career goals are to support the professional trajectory of optometrists in SA through internationalisation of education, training and research and to advance the general standing of the profession of optometry in SA.

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DR THOKOZILE INGRID METSING

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University of Johannesburg, Optometry Department, Doornfontein, SA

Dr Thokozile Ingrid Metsing is a binocular vision lecturer at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Dr. Metsing has presented in South Africa and internationally on binocular vision therapy procedures and learning disorders common in children. Her doctoral thesis is on ‘Strategies to improve school vision screenings at primary healthcare level in South Africa”. She has published numerous articles, with the others still under review.

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PROF ALEX VAN DEN HEEVER

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Professor Alex van den Heever presently holds the Chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS). He holds a Masters in economics from the University of Cape Town and has worked professionally the areas of health economics and finance, public finance and social security in various capacities in South Africa since 1989. These include positions in the Department of Finance (Central Economic Advisory Services), the Industrial Development Corporation, Centre for Health Policy at WITS, the Gauteng Department of Health, and the Council for Medical Schemes. Work has included participation in the Melamet Commission of Inquiry into Medical Schemes (1993-4), a member of the Council for Medical Schemes (1996-8) the Committee of Inquiry into Comprehensive Social Security (2000-2), a member of the medicines Pricing Committee (2007-2011), the Ministerial Task team on Social Health Insurance (2003-5) and the Health Market Inquiry for the Competition Commission (2016-19).

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CAREL MASEMOLA

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Carel is an academic Optometrist and a Public Health Practitioner registered by the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and a member of the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA). He completed his Bachelor's degree in Optometry from the University of Limpopo and an Ocular Diagnostic Certificate from the University of Johannesburg. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Psychology both from the University of South Africa. He is a Master of Public Health (Cum-laude) from the University of Pretoria and currently pursuing his PhD in Public Health with the University of KwaZulu-Natal with much interest in Eye Health Promotion. He is a lifetime member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, a recipient of the 2023 Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South African Visionaries Award in the Health Category, an Africa Inside Education 100 South African Shining Star Health Category Finalist of 2023 and the prestigious title holder of Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. His expertise is in the public and private sectors for over 14 years. Currently, his practice focuses on lecturing undergraduate students and facilitating expertise in patient care/client interactions as part of clinical optometry and public health optometry. Furthermore, he has experience in tutoring postgraduate diploma and research supervision for master’s students in the field of public health and optometry.

Research interest: Health Promotion, Health Systems, Mental health, Low vision and quality of life, Epidemiology.

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NOLEEN PODROUZEK

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At work:
Noleen has been with CFP Brokers since 2014.  Noleen’s strengths are in analysing complex risks and finding suitable cover for her client’s needs.   Noleen’s technical knowledge of policy wordings has proven to be invaluable.  Assisting clients in times of need and holding their hands when they face a liability claim.

   

Outside of work
Noleen lives on a Game Farm and loves spending time outdoors. 

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DR NABEELA HASROD

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Nabeela Hasrod matriculated at Greenside High School in Johannesburg having received the DUX award for scholar of the year. In 2011, she received her Bachelor's degree in Optometry from the University of Johannesburg. In 2012, she began working in private practice and during that time, she supervised third and final year optometry students on a part-time basis. In 2014, she was employed as an Assistant Lecturer at the department of Optometry and in 2015 successfully completed the OCULAR THERAPEUTICS course through the University of Kwa Zulu Natal (UKZN) in conjunction with the State University of New York (SUNY). She received her MPHIL cum laude (2016) and was awarded the Chancellor's award and the Faculty of Health Sciences award for top post-graduate student in the faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Johannesburg. In 2016, she was appointed as a full-time lecturer at the department of Optometry. She received her Doctorate in Optometry in 2021. In 2022 she was promoted to Senior Lecturer and appointed as Programme Coordinator for the Department of Optometry. In 2023, she was appointed as HOD for Optometry and a Board Director for the SAOA for the Education and Clinical Standards Portfolio.  Nabeela has published eight papers in accredited journals and presented in seven conferences thus far.

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MONWABISI NONKULA

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Monwabisi Nonkula is an Optometrist at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital (NMAH). He obtained his B.Sc. in Biological Sciences degree in Walter Sisulu University (WSU), the former University of Transkei (UNITRA) in 2006.

In 2007, He enrolled for a Bachelor of Optometry degree with the University of the Free State (UFS), which he obtained in 2010.

In 2011, he got employed by the Eastern Cape Department of Health as an Optometrist in NMAH, working in the department of Ophthalmology as the only Optometrist.

He further enrolled for a structured Master’s Degree in Optometry as a part-time student with the UFS and obtained the degree in 2019.  He currently holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics (PGCOT) with the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) in partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY).

He owns a private practice in the CBD of Mthatha and is currently enrolled with the University of the free state school of public health, to pursue PHD studies, with special interests in public health optometry.

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PROF MORGAN CHETTY

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MBChB, PhD, FCFP(SA), MpH (HS), M Fam Med, DTM+H, DOH, DHSM(UKZN), DNE, IAQS(ISQUA)

Prof Chetty is a registered Specialist Family Physician. He serves as Chairman of the IPA Foundation of SA and Chairman of KwaZulu Natal Doctors Healthcare Coalition.

He is the visiting Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at the Durban University of Technology.

He was awarded the Fellowship of Family Physicians by the College of Medicine of SA – 2013 – FCFP(SA).

In 2019 Prof Chetty was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa), by the Nelson Mandela University (PHD).

He writes for the Medical Chronicle (Medical Journal) regularly and other Journals when invited to do so.

He has written two books on Managed Care and is a speaker at National and International Conferences on a regular basis.

Prof Chetty has been the recipient of several awards for leadership in healthcare, including the Life Achievement Award for Quality in Healthcare, Discovery Health (2018) and the BHF Titanium Award for Excellence in 2017. The Zenith Global Health Lifetime achievement award for service to healthcare

Prof Chetty was awarded the Fulbright – Humphrey scholarship to the USA in 1993 – 1994. He completed his MPH in the USA.

He serves on ISQua on the “Partnering with Patients Program”, has been appointed as an ISQua Expert and is appointed on the International Academy of Quality and Safety (IAQS).

Prof Chetty has been serving on the NHI task team on GP contracting. He has been appointed to the Office of Health Services Compliance by the Minister of Health (OHSC). Prof Chetty served on the Ministerial Advisory Committee during Covid and subsequently on B4SA Vaccine Committee.

Prof Chetty’s interests are Quality and Safety in Healthcare and is an advocate for Best Practice Medicine.

CURRENTLY:
- ADVISOR TO SCHEMES ON CLINICAL PROGRAMS AND PEER MENTORING
- ON THE HARM REDUCTION IN HEALTHCARE SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE – VICE PRESIDENT
- ADVISOR ON CARE CO-ORDINATION AND CLINICAL CARE PATHWAYS FROM A FAMILY PHYSICIAN PERSPECTIVE
- DISCOVERY-FPAB COMMITTEE
- MEDSCHEME -FORUM MEMBER

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SANELE BUTHELEZI

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Sanele Buthelezi is an academic optometrist based at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Sanele holds a bachelor’s degree in optometry from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2017) and a Master of Philosophy in Health Professions Education (HPE) from Stellenbosch University (2022). He is currently registered for a PhD in HPE at Stellenbosch University.

Sanele mainly conducts qualitative research within the constructivist paradigm on critical issues surrounding equality, cultural diversity and inclusion in optometry education, cross-cultural interactions & cultural competence, and transformative learning theories. Sanele has recently published academic articles within these fields.

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ANTHONY CARLSON

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Anthony became involved in the optical industry in 1974. He started out as an optical technician working for various wholesalers in the fitting departments and later in the surfacing departments. He worked in the wholesale industry for 14 years. He then joined the Department of Optometry at the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg)  in 1988. He completed the ABDO dispensing course in 1991 where he qualified as a dispensing optician. He joined the academic staff in 1992, lecturing in General Optics and Ophthalmic Dispensing. He then went on to study Optometry and completed the course in 2000. In 2014 Anthony completed his MPhil degree in Optometry. He has participated in several field trips throughout Africa, India and Nepal for ‘Vision in the developing world’ and lectured in the Optometry departments at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia and the University of Limpopo. He has presented papers at both international and national congresses. He is a regular contributor of CPD articles and also publishes in peer review journals.

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HENRY ALEXANDER

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Henry qualified as an optometrist in 2008 from the University of the Free State. He played an integral part in the delivery and expansion of public primary eye care services within the Cape Town Metro. He obtained his Masters in Public Health with a dissertation based on the development of an algorithm to safely prioritise treatment-requiring diabetics attending the diabetic retinopathy screening programme in Cape Town. This led to him being awarded a scholarship to study towards an MBA at the University of Stellenbosch, which he completed in 2018. He is currently a full-time practicing optometrist within the private sector devoting his attention in creating an effective and efficient practice that is world class!

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LERATO LANDELA

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Ms. Lerato Landela has been a final-year student lecturer in the Department of Optometry since July 2018. She lectures and facilitates Low Vision and Ethics to final year Optometry students, Ms. Landela is a UJ Alumni, completing her Bachelor of Optometry degree at the former Rand Afrikaans University in 2003, she possesses a master’s degree in public health from the University of Limpopo, a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Economics at UCT and is a PhD candidate at UJ. Her experience in Optometry and academia spans 20 years in private practice and academia at the University of the Free State and the University of Limpopo, respectively.  Institutionally, Ms Landela is the marketing representative for the Department of Optometry, and a member of the departmental and faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

Ms. Landela’s interests are in Pediatrics, Low Vision, Medical Ethics, and Public Health. Her work is focused on strengthening UJ’s clinical aspect of community engagement to reduce the inequities in access to health facing the visually impaired in the Gauteng province. Ms Landela is passionate about her vocation and, through various outreach programs and assistance from various industry partners, has managed to reach and assist patients in underserved areas of our communities.

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ANDREW CHIKARA

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Andrew Chikara was born in Gokwe, Zimbabwe. He completed his high school at Hanke Adventist where he was involved in leadership positions. He then went on to study B.Optom at UL where he graduated with a Cum Laude in 2022. He has won several academic excellence awards, including being the overall best student in the Faculty of Health Sciences (2022) and a recognition from SAOA. 

Currently doing a Masters degree at UJ. His interests are in contact lenses, binocular vision, and visual optics (myopia control). His dream is to find eye care solutions for Africa. He is a dedicated and passionate Optometrist and future researcher. 

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BOITUMELO RAMANTSI

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Mrs. Boitumelo Ramantsi, a sessional lecturer at the Department of Optometry, University of the Free State (UFS) for over 15 years, holds a special interest in Paediatric Optometry. Within the department, her responsibilities encompass delivering paediatric lectures and conducting clinical sessions with students. Her dedication extends beyond academia, as she is fervently committed to public health, particularly in the realm of vision screening within schools, and endeavors to educate educators about the visual needs of their learners.

Recently, Mrs. Ramantsi achieved her Master’s degree at UFS, with her thesis titled “A vision checklist as a vision screening tool by Grade R to Grade 3 teachers in quantile 1 Schools.”

Following this, she released two articles, one of which was published in the South African Journal of Childhood Education (SAJCE) titled “Foundation phase teacher’s knowledge on common visual problems affecting children: A South African case study.” Concurrently, another article is in the process of publication with Ophthalmic Epidemiology. Moreover, she presented her research findings through a poster at the American Academy of Optometry in New Orleans in 2023.

Currently, Mrs. Ramantsi is actively pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Health at UFS, with a focus on school eye health, under the guidance of Professor TA Rasengane. Her diverse background includes two decades of experience in private practice, and she perceives the synergy between private and academic pursuits in public health as essential to her holistic professional identity.

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DR NICHOLAS CRISP

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Public Health Specialist

Dr Crisp is a medical doctor and public health specialist who has for many years focused on health management consulting across the African continent. He was Superintendent General (HOD) of the Department of Health and Welfare in Limpopo where he served from 1995 to 1999.

Dr Crisp was then a self-employed consultant and has worked on projects in several African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania. In 2009 he served as Special Adviser to Minister Barbara Hogan. He was intimately involved in the establishment of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), the transfer of the medicolegal mortuaries from police to health and the creation of the Forensic Pathology Services, and in the establishment of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

He is now employed as Deputy Director General: National Health Insurance, and like everyone else was diverted to support the Covid19 response for a while.

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MBALI ZINHLE NDLOVU

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Mbali Zinhle Goodness Ndlovu is a Clinical Optometrist and she has a special interest in binocular vision and ocular diseases. 

Zinhle Ndlovu is a graduate of the University Limpopo, where she attended her undergraduate studies and graduated in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Optometry. During her final year of studies she enjoyed research and had an interest in publishing the research paper. With the help of her supervisor Prof Mathebula, she managed to achieve this goal and publish her first group paper. Since then, she has grown fond of research.  She is currently practicing Clinical Optometry at Spec Savers Fourways Crossing.

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CHARL LAAS

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

Charl Laas is a technical lens consultant for Corneal Lens Corporation in New Zealand. He is also a director of Innovatus Technology, an Australian medical device company that develops EyeSpaceTM contact lens design software, manufacturing technology, and lens products for personalised contact lens fitting. 

Charl began his career in South Africa, receiving his Optometry degree from the University of Johannesburg in 1996. He also holds an Honours degree in Epidemiology from the University of Stellenbosch. 

He founded and was a director of a large independent practice in Cape Town, which primarily focuses on the rehabilitation of irregular corneas, orthokeratology, and myopia management. Charl also co-founded InnoCon SA, a company offering distribution, training, and support for custom-made contact lenses throughout Southern Africa. 

Previously, Charl was a director of the South African Optometric Association and a senior contact lens lecturer at the University of the Free State. Additionally, he participated part-time in the Red Cross Flying Doctors program and as a consultant at the Red Cross Children's Hospital. 

He has written articles and presented internationally on topics related to the designing, fitting, troubleshooting, and manufacturing of personalised contact lenses. 

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LACHLAN HOY

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BAppSc(Optom)Hons, GCOT FIAO FCCLSA
Director and Optometrist Innovative Eye Care, Adelaide Australia
Director and Founder of Innovative Contacts
Managing Director and Co-Founder of EyeSpace.

Lachlan is second generation Optometrist, contact lens innovator, and entrepreneur based in Adelaide, Australia. Lachlan spent his child and adolescent years in the Barossa Valley before moving to Brisbane to pursue a degree in Optometry. He graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Optometry) from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2007 with Honours and the Don Noack award for excellence in contact lenses. Following graduation and registration as an Optometrist, Lachlan returned to Adelaide and began working at R. Fieldhouse and Associate Optometrists, 1 King William Street Adelaide. In his graduate year Lachlan was in the first cohort of South Australian Optometrists to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics at the University of Melbourne. He has been awarded fellowships with the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia and the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control, and is the author of a textbook chapter on Keratoconus.

Utilising the Don Noack Award monetary grant Lachlan received upon graduation, he travelled to the UK and Europe attending international conferences and spending time with expert Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and Manufacturers in the field of contact lenses. Upon returning to Australia, Lachlan took out a $20,000 bank loan and founded his first company Innovative Contacts (Speciality contact lens distributor) in August 2008. This was the start of his entrepreneurial journey where in the following 2 years he purchased R. Fieldhouse and Associate Optometrists (changing the name to Innovative Eye Care Pty Ltd) and Co-Founded technology and medical device company Innovative Technology Pty Ltd.

Based in Adelaide, Australia Innovative Contacts continues to employ 3 full time staff, distributing, providing education and technical support in the fitting and management of speciality contact lenses to Australian Optometrists.

From humble beginnings with Optometrist Lachlan Hoy, and one administration employee, Innovative Eye Care Pty Ltd has grown to 2 locations, 8 Optometrists, 2 Optical Dispensers, 6 Apprentices, and 8 support staff. Innovative Eye Care Pty Ltd now has 3 business; Innovative Eye Care https://www.innovativeeyecare.com.au, Optical Dispensary https://www.opticaldispensary.com.au/, and Ophthalmic Clinical Trials (https://ophthalmictrials.com.au)).

Innovatus Technology was Co-Founded by Lachlan and fellow Barossian, Jake Brown in 2010. At its inception combining Lachlan skills as an Optometrist and Jake Brown’s, an honours student studying high computational physics at the University of Adelaide, EyeSpace was born https://www.eye.space. EyeSpace is a computer software that imports a corneal topography, simulating on eye performance, and the calculation, optimisation, design, ordering, invoicing and manufacture of speciality contact lenses. Over the next 10 years Lachlan and Jake would continue to innovate, expand, develop, and deliver the technology to thousands of eye care practitioners globally https://eye.space/#nav-practitioner. Together they have built a team of software developers, physicists, mathematicians, optometrists, and researchers.  With Lachlan Hoy as Managing Director Innovatus Technology Pty Ltd has attracted international investment and has impending expansion plans into Asia. Today, EyeSpace lenses are manufactured or distributed in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, China, Russia, and Mexico.