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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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DR 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.

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DASI RAJU

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I qualified with my Bachelor in Optometry degree in 1989 at the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa. In 1996, I undertook the Certificate of Advanced Study ( CAS) and completed my Master in Optometry in 1998 at UDW.

I subsequently moved to the United Kingdom for 6 months, with the aim of broadening my scope of practice and to travel through Europe. In this time, I entered into the field  of refractive surgery which has kept me in the UK for such a long period.

I attained my MC Optom in the UK in 1998, my Diploma in Therapeutics and Independent Prescribing in 2018, followed by my Professional Certificate in Glaucoma in 2022. I completed my Post-Graduate Diploma in Clinical Education this year.

I currently work with one of Europe and the UK’s largest providers of Refractive Surgery in my capacity as a Clinical Director. In this capacity, I recruit, train and develop Optometrists within this field.  I work closely with our International Medical Advisory Board and Surgeons ensuring that our Clinical Suitability Guidelines for Refractive Surgery  are robust, up to date, and driven by our data on our clinical outcomes, research and analysis. I have authored and co-authored many published articles in this sector, and presented at conferences.

I have now worked within this sector since 2002 as this it is where my passion lies professionally.

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MARTELIE BURGER

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Martelie Burger  is an accomplished optometrist with over 18 years of experience in the field. With a passion for eye care that has taken her across borders, she has spent three years abroad honing her skills and gaining invaluable international experience.

Currently serving as the Private Practice Director for the South African Optometric Association, Martelie, is deeply involved in shaping the standards and practices of optometry in the region. Her commitment to excellence extends to academia, where she has served as an External Examiner at the University of The Free State, assessing final year students, and contributing to the next generation of optometric professionals.

In addition to her extensive clinical experience, Martelie has pursued further education, earning a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatrics from the University of Aston. This specialized knowledge allows her to provide expert care to patients of all ages, particularly children, ensuring their vision health from an early age.

As the proud owner of a private practice, Martelie is dedicated to providing personalized and comprehensive eye care services to her community. Martelie’s practice reflects her commitment to excellence, innovation, and patient-centered care, making her a trusted leader in the field of optometry.

With a wealth of experience, a passion for education, and a dedication to her patients' well-being, Martelie continues to make significant contributions to the field of optometry, both locally and internationally

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DR ALICIA THOMPSON

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I began my career in optics 35 years ago and I feel really privileged to say that I have never stopped learning since surfacing my first lens as an optical technician. I then went on to become a dispensing optician, registering in 1994 and managing a successful practice. My interest in teaching took me to Aston University as clinic manager for over ten years where I also qualified as an examiner for the ABDO. Having an interest in ophthalmic lenses, I went on to complete the L7 course in Spectacle Lens Design in 2006.

In 2008, I was appointed as Director of Professional Exams for ABDO and since 2022 Director of Education, Research and Professional Development which is my current role.

I was fortunate to be given the opportunity of joining the first cohort with Canterbury Christ Church University to obtain my degree in 2010 which has now allowed me to pursue my interest in research. In 2021, I completed a part-time PhD at Aston University looking into paediatric facial anthropometry in relation to spectacle frame design with the aim of improving the fit of spectacles for all children. By assisting the frame manufacturers with a sensible set of parameters and design features, new models are now in production from this research. I still practice in my specialist paediatric dispensing clinic in Birmingham and run workshops for educational purposes.

In addition, I also serve on many committees such as Education Committee and Advisory Group for the General Optical Council, ABDO Research and Clinical Committee Chair, Academic Committees and British Standards for Spectacles.

I have been honoured to be invited to speak at many conferences and educational events worldwide.

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HARRY ROSEN

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Harry Rosen has enjoyed extensive experience and success during the past forty years in various senior executive capacities primarily within the SA Health care sector. He has undergone various forms of formalised education, locally and internationally, encompassing business strategy, corporate governance, marketing and leadership.

Harry was a part time lecturer on Ethics and Juris Prudence at the University of Johannesburg for ten years and serves as Ombudsman for the Ocularists Association of Southern Africa ( OASA) and the  South African Association of Audiologists ( SAAA). Harry is currently the Consultant CEO of the South African Optometric Association. He continues to lecture to students (UFS) and practitioners on Ethics and Management.

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MARIETJIE KRIEL

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After dedicating 36 years in within the Optometry environment, in various capacities, Marietjie Kriel has recently been CEO of Optical Alliance, Operations Manager at Spectacle Hut Optometrists and present, Client Relationship Manager at Optimax.

Through her passion for Optometry, she was the founder of the PPA course which was presented at the WITS TECHNICON from 2002-2005.  Marietjie enter the world of optometry in 1988 in Potchefstroom where eye care, became an integral part of her life. Throughout the years her duties ranged from frontline to practice management to executive management, supplier chain and skills development. She gained a vast amount of experience in the position as practice development manager and Operations manager where her responsibilities included staff training, frontline systems, practice/lab, HR, operations, buying, supplier liaison, coordinating and development of new business opportunities and new practices as well as stock and cash control.  For the past year, a key roll is doing OptiMax training and assisting practices with variance challenges by using OptiMax effectively.

Marietjie has undergone various forms of training such as the PPA course, Dale Carnegie (People, performance and profits, Assessors & Moderators (EDTP Seta), customer care, selling and negotiation skills, contact lenses, DHS, Health Bridge, Business Analysis (Hubbart Collage), advocacy, etc. She also achieved her certificate in counselling in 1998 and completed two years of the ND Optical Dispensing from the University of Cape Town.

Marietjie was the first Optometric Assistant to join the SAOA as a member and formed part of the Advocacy team. 

Marietjie was a part time lecturer in Community & Environmental Optometry for the final year students at the University of Johannesburg from 2009 to 2010.

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NALEDZANI MOSOMANE

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Naledzani Mosomane is the Head of Enterprise Development at Standard Bank South Africa. She is a Chartered Accountant with a cum laude Masters in Development Finance. Her experience spans across multiple areas such as strategy, finance, risk & governance. She has worked across multiple areas within Standard Bank and has spent most of her career in strategy development across the continent. She has a keen interest in creating sustainable solutions that can enable SMEs to thrive.

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OB MALOPE

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Ob Malope is a young, dynamic and award winning leader within the Healthcare Industry who has championed and pioneered various innovative products and solutions that revolutionize how businesses operate. 

Ob is a sought-after global eyecare leader with vast experience as a strategist, media specialist, training and development consultant, and a business speaker.

Check Out His Latest Work Here: https://linktr.ee/visionstryt 

Managing Director of Visionstryt www.visionstryt.co.za

Co-founder of Eyefrica Media www.eyefricamedia.com

Co-founder of Activyt  www.activyt.co.za

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DR RAYISHNEE PILLAY

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Rayishnee is an enthusiastic optometrist, teacher and student. She worked for an independent optometry group for many years before yielding to the call that shifted her focus to a teaching and research journey. Rayishnee has been involved in lectures, clinical supervision and module co-ordination at the undergraduate Optometry programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is committed to enhancing student learning experiences and patient health outcomes.

She completed her Masters degree on visual functions in school-going children with autism spectrum disorders in 2016 and graduated with a PhD in 2023. Her doctoral study was an inter-disciplinary collaboration between Optometry and Analytical Chemistry, that focused on the environmental impact of ophthalmic lenses. This research has produced 9 manuscripts and 5 publications. She is currently completing post-doctoral research in health professions education at the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Climate change mitigation is a topic she feels strongly about. Her doctoral research highlighted the role of optometrists, as primary healthcare providers, in climate action. She aims to encourage optometrists to choose the ‘greener side’ by creating awareness of the potential impacts of climate change on eye health and sharing information to help implement sustainable practices in the workplace.

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MAHWASH KHAN

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Mahwash Khan is an Independent Optometrist, known as Khan Optometrist since 2009. She obtained my bachelor’s degree from the University of Limpopo in 2008. In 2016 she completed her Diagnostics Certification from the University of Limpopo and eligible to practice with Ocular Diagnostics.

In June 2021, she achieved a Master of Science in Primary Care Ophthalmology, from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Simultaneously she completed the didactic part of Ocular Therapeutics also, in May 2021 from the University of Johannesburg. Mahwash is currently registered for a Doctorate in Optometry (OD) from Aston University, Birmingham.

Mahwash is a a Full-time Lecturer at the University of Limpopo, an Independent Practicing Optometrist whilst undergoing training for Ocular Therapeutics clinical hours from Mankweng Hospital in Limpopo.

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PROF. STEPHEN OCANSEY

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[FAAO, PhD, MPhil, OD, B.Sc.] is an Associate Professor of Optometry and Vision Science at the Department of Optometry and Vision Science, School of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health and Allied Sciences, University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana and a former two term Head of Department, Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Cape Coast. He holds a PhD degree in Vision Science and Optometry from the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK and a Master’s degree in Population and Health from UCC, Ghana. He is Doctor of Optometry (OD) qualified to practice in Ghana and Zimbabwe with several years of clinical practice and teaching experience, having thought in Ghana, Zimbabwe and UK. Dr. Ocansey is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) and was the first Ghana based optometrist to attain Fellowship. Dr, Ocansey has a broad academic training and international exposure. He has participated in interdisciplinary researches in his home country, Ghana and elsewhere notably UK, and presented papers at optometric meetings or conferences in Ghana, South Africa, UK and USA. He has published over 40 scientific articles in peer reviewed journals.

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PREGGIE NAIDOO

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Qualification Bachelor of Optometry, Diploma in Business Management and Certificates of Advanced
Study 1 – 4, Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics
Name of the institution where the qualification was obtained University of Durban-Westville, Damelin, New England College of Optometry (US), S1tate University of New York
Year qualification was obtained 1988, 1991, 1995 – 2001, 2015
Employment History Private practice in the Western Cape since 1989 to present.
Joined the board of Iso Leso Optics Ltd in 2003. Invited to join the EXCO within 6months, elected as Marketing Director thereafter, followed by MD and CEO in 2008 to present.
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BRENDAN FLOYD

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Brendan has been in practice at STB Optometrists for the past 26 years and is a Fellow of the British Dispensing Opticians. Brendan enjoys optimizing the spectacle lens design and frame choice to provide the best visual experience possible for a specific individual’s prescription and ocular requirements. Brendan also enjoys problem solving specific visual needs and requirements.

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DEREK MCCARTHY

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Derek is a qualified Dispensing Optician with Association of British Dispensing Opticians and qualified Optical Technician with the Worshipful Company of Spectacle makers.

He has furthered his studies in South Africa with a Bachelor of Commerce from Regent Business School as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration with WITS Business School.

Derek has 27 years’ experience in optics, as a Technician as well as Dispensing Optician in Ireland, Trinidad & Tobago and Australia, then 13 years’ experience with Hoya Lens South Africa with current focus as Training Manager and Lens Expert.

Derek has a particular interest in training via webinars, CPD articles, online as well as face to face group and one-to-one sessions, in the areas of best practices in optical dispensing, as well as engaging with the most experienced optometrist all the way to the newest optical assistant in helping achieve best optics for each patient that walks through the door.

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ANGELIQUE WALBRUGH

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Ms Angelique Walbrugh is an academic stalwart at the Department of Ophthalmic Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), where she has served for over two decades and now holds the position of Head of Department. Her journey in the field commenced with undergraduate Opticianry studies in at Cape Technikon in 1997. Currently holding a Master's degree in Optometry from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, she continues her pursuit of knowledge as a PhD candidate, motivated by a genuine desire to contribute meaningfully to her field.

Driven by her passion for eye care, she's actively engaged in community eye health promotion activities and vision screenings alongside her student groups. At present, Angelique is honoured to lead the charge in reviving the CPUT eye clinic, a testament to her dedication to providing accessible eye care to underserved communities. She is the 2024 recipient of the ASAIPA award for community service, having been nominated by the SAOA. Angelique however remains steadfast in her belief that true success lies not in accolades, but in the impact one makes in the lives of others.

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AUDIENCE MALULEKE

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B.Optom (UNIN), Diagnostics (UKZN), M.Optom (UKZN), MBA (MANCOSA)

Optometrist in Private Practice for 22 years.

Participated at various leadership roles within the profession of optometry as a representative for eyecare not limited to the Health Market Inquiry, Section 59 Inquiry, Prescribed Minimum Benefit Committee, National Health Insurance Committee, Presidential Health Compact.

Some of the roles held include:

Former Public Health Committee Director – South African Optometric Association

Former Private Practice Director – South African Optometric Association

Former Finance Director – South African Optometric Association

Former Coding Committee Chairperson – South African Optometric Association

Former President – South African Optometric Association

I have thus far published 3 manuscripts within the Advocacy and Regulatory, Managed Healthcare, and Fraud, Waste and Abuse.

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FATIMA FLANDER

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Fatima Flander is an esteemed dispensing optician, dedicated practice owner, and committed educator with a passion for community eye health. Holding registration with the Health Professions Council, Fatima's expertise is underscored by a postgraduate diploma in community eye health from the University of Cape Town. Currently pursuing a master's in the same field at UCT, she exemplifies a lifelong commitment to advancing her knowledge and skills.

As a lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Fatima imparts her wisdom onto future dispensing opticians, shaping the next generation of eye care professionals. Beyond academia, she actively engages in community eye health initiatives, leveraging her affiliation with the Islamic Medical Association to conduct screenings and outreach programs.

Fatima's multifaceted roles extend beyond her professional endeavors; she balances her roles as a mother and wife with admirable grace, embodying the values of compassion and dedication in all aspects of her life. At an upcoming conference, she will share her insights on best practices in dispensing optics, further cementing her reputation as a leader in the field.

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PRELINA RAMKISSOON

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Prelina Ramkissoon qualified as a Dispensing Optician from CPUT in 2003. She taught Optical Dispensing at UKZN from 2005 to 2010. She represented Dispensing Opticians on the SAOA board as a director. During her tenure on the SAOA board, she also served on the first Transformation Committee of the SAOA. Her passion for the eye care industry, beckoned her to the PBODO where she was was a member of the Preliminary Committee as well as the Accreditation committee. Prelina is regularly invited to present at conferences and is eager to impart her knowledge and expertise. Currently, she is practising in Newcastle, Kwa-Zulu Natal. Her responsibilities include managing a large practice as well as patient care. Her special interests include: low vision; contact lens instruction, lens design and ordering; and dispensing of spectacles and associated optometric products.

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PROF HAMZAH MUSTAK

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Prof. Hamzah Mustak is an ophthalmologist with a special interest in ocular oncology, oculoplastic and orbital surgery. He is a member of the International Society of Ocular Oncology and heads the oncology, orbital and oculoplastic service in the division of ophthalmology at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town.

Prof. Mustak completed his specialist training in ophthalmology at the University of Cape Town where he developed an interest in ocular and spent time under the mentorship of Dr Karin Lecuona. He continued with a fellowship in orbital and oculoplastic surgery at the Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles, under Professor Robert Goldberg.

His clinical interests include endoscopic orbital surgery, thyroid associated orbitopathy, orbital tumours and vascular malformations, lacrimal surgery, choroidal melanoma and retinoblastoma. His academic interests include education and training for retinoblastoma services in Africa, outcomes of intra-arterial and intravitreal chemotherapy for retinoblastoma, sclerotherapy of orbital vascular malformations and endoscopic approaches to the orbital apex and cavernous sinus.

He served as chair for the Ophthalmology Society of South Africa’s symposium on ocular oncology at the 2018 World Ophthalmology Congress in Barcelona. He collaborated with Professor Darlene Lubbe in the development of endoscopic transorbital surgery and is co-author of the Karl Storz silver book on the transorbital approach to sphenoid wing meningiomas.

He has published 34 indexed articles and 2 book chapters.

Affiliations
Division of Ophthalmology
Head of ocular oncology, orbital and oculoplastic surgery
University of Cape Town
Groote Schuur Hospital

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DR MONICA JONG

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Dr. Monica Jong serves as the Global Director of Professional Education, Myopia at Johnson & Johnson Medtech, spearheading practitioner education worldwide to bolster evidence-based myopia management. Formerly, she held the position of Executive Director at the International Myopia Institute, where she played a pivotal role in co-founding the organization and leading the development of white papers and key initiatives aimed at fostering consensus in myopia management through collaboration with leading experts. Monica has contributed significantly to the field with numerous peer-reviewed articles in esteemed journals, placing her among the top 0.056% of authors in myopia. Additionally, she co-created the first global online education program in myopia at the Brien Holden Vision Institute and played integral roles in WHO meetings on myopia and the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Refractive Error Working group. With diverse experience in optometry across various settings, Monica is deeply committed to research, education, and mentorship. She has presented at over 400 global scientific and practitioner meetings and maintains a passion for physical fitness through practicing Muay Thai while spending time with her two children.

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KAREN DENTON

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Always a keen student and teacher, having a toddler diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes set Karen on a pathway that shaped her life. Having completed studies in General Nursing, Midwifery, Operating Theatre, Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, Psychiatric Nursing ,and a Degree in Psychology, Karen was uniquely poised to utilize the varied skills for a thirty plus year career in Diabetes Education. During this time, lecturing internationally, Chairing Diabetes South Africa, Pan-Africa Diabetes Educators (5 years) and The South African Diabetes Educators (8 years) proved stimulating and a valuable basis for a move to the Middle East for a further 8 years where she continued her studies. On returning to South Africa, she has been delighted to re-integrate into the medical field for the past 6 years with Retina SA where she functions as the Lead in Education and Advocacy.

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CLAUDETTE MEDEFINDT

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Claudette Medefindt has been a fulltime volunteer with Retina South Africa since 1980. and is the National Secretary and head of Science and Patient Services. She is the past Deputy President of Retina International and lectures extensively on retinal vision loss and research progress towards finding treatments for retinal vision loss. She is secretary to Retina South Africa’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Claudette writes and edits the quarterly Retina E-News. Claudette is a trained peer counsellor and counsels newly diagnosed patients. Claudette has less than 10% vision due to Retinitis Pigmentosa.

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SHIVANI NAIPAL

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Shivani Naipal holds B.Optom and M.Optom (cum laude) degrees. She has an interest in low vision and her masters research study focused on visual function and quality of life in adolescents with vision impairment. She is currently teaching in the areas of low vision and ophthalmic optics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has also taught in modules related paediatric vision, diagnosis and management of ocular disease, and visual science. She is involved in the teaching and supervision of undergraduate optometry students and has published in local and international optometry journals.

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SEYURI BISETTY

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Seyuri Bisetty obtained a Bachelor of Optometry degree from UKZN and began her professional career in private practice.

She recently graduated with a Masters degree in Optometry from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where she currently serves as a Clinical Resident within the Discipline of Optometry.

Her primary research area is paediatric optometry with a special focus on Dry Eye. Seyuri has also recently published academic articles within these fields.

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MARNA PIETERSE

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Marna Pieterse is a Dispensing Optician who has been in the optical industry for over 24 years. Marna is in Private Practice, Brooklyn Optica, in Pretoria and loves the business side of Optometry. Marna served on the SAOA board from 2016-2024 when her tenure ended. She is former Vice-president, Finance director and Special project director. As part of her Special Project portfolio she chaired the coding committee and has been in the front of the SAOA review of Professional services with emphasis on the SAOA Protocols and Relative Value Units(RVU’s). Marna also enjoys an advocacy role for Dispensing Opticians and has been part of submissions to the PBODO regarding the future of Dispensing Opticians and their scope advancement. She is registered with the HPCSA and holds a Fellow of Dispensing Opticians from ABDO in the UK qualification.

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HERINA GROBLER

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Herina Grobler qualified as an Optometrist in 2006 from the University of Johannesburg. Herina has over 17 years of experience in the optometric field, holding various roles both in private practice and in the eyecare industry. Her areas of special interest include Paediatric Optometry and Myopia Management. Currently, Herina holds the role of Medical Affairs at Hoya Lens South Africa and is passionate about driving awareness around myopia management.

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RYAN VAN DE COOLWIJK

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Cluster Head for Cyber and Collectibles insurance as well as digital distribution at iTOO Special Risks

Responsibilities

Ryan is the Cluster Head for Cyber and collectibles insurance as well as digital distribution at iTOO Special Risks, the business responsible for Specialist Risks Insurance in South Africa and Africa.
On the cyber front, Ryan joined iTOO in November 2015 and is responsible for various aspects of the cyber insurance offering including: defining and implementing the cyber risk assessment and underwriting philosophy, development of cyber insurance underwriting models, marketing and awareness of cyber insurance and breach response coaching and planning.

Experience, Awards, and Achievements

Ryan started his career in IT in 2003, with over 20 years of experience in IT security and risk management, spanning various industries for organisations of all sizes. Ryan holds various IT qualifications including a BSc Computer Science degree, National Diploma in Computer System Engineering, Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
Having worked as Development Manager at Information Security Architects, in Risk Advisory at Deloitte, on the development of the CyGeist cyber insurance offering and subsequently launching the Hollard cyber insurance offering, Ryan has an in-depth knowledge of IT risk management and cyber insurance. His diverse skill set, and varied experience enable him to identify and provide solutions on data related risks from both internal and external perspectives.

Outside of work

Ryan lives with his wife Nols, a legal professional in the banking sector and is dad to two daughters, Rylie and Rachel.
A petrolhead at heart, from cars to bikes Ryan is keen on most things with an engine.

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AYESHA SULIMAN

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Ayesha Suliman graduated from Rand Afrikaans University with a Bachelor of Optometry degree in 1994. She became a clinical supervisor at the Rand Afrikaans University in 2000.
Ayesha completed the Certificate of advanced study in Ocular Disease and Diagnostic Pharmaceutical Application with The Graduate Institute of Optometry in 2003.
She started lecturing at University of Johannesburg in 2010.
In October 2018, Ayesha completed her MPhil with Cum Laude on The effect of conventional and aberration control soft contact lenses on fourth order aberrations, especially spherical aberrations of myopic eyes.
Ayesha is involved in both under and post graduate examinations in the clinical diagnoses of ocular disease. Ayesha is currently completing her PHD at University of Johannesburg.

She is passionate about community service and heads the Community service engagement portfolio at UJ.
Ayesha currently lectures Contact lenses to third year students at University of Johannesburg. She also supervises specialist contact lens clinics at the university. When not at UJ, Ayesha spends time in private practice and with her family.

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ZAAHIRA ESSAY JOGEE

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Qualified in 2015 at the University of Johannesburg

I began my optometry journey working at the health department in the West Rand. After seeing the need for eye care awareness and eye care services in the rural community, I started The Ruya Project, an NPO aimed at providing free eye care services for the most vulnerable in our underprivileged communities.

My main purpose and goal as an optometrist is to continue to highlight optometry as a form of primary health care, to promote eye care awareness which I hope to achieve with my private practice as well.

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ZUBETA MOLEDI

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Zubeta Moledi is an accomplished Optometrist with over 16 years of experience in both public and private practice in Lesotho.

She has successfully run her five private practices for over 15 years.

Zubeta a degree in Nursing with the University of Free State. She enrolled for Bachelor of Optometry with the same university in 2004 and obtained her degree in 2008. She obtained her Master of Optometry qualification with the University of KwaZulu Natal where her thesis titled: Assessment of visual function amongst motor vehicle drivers in Lesotho, was a groundbreaker in Lesotho eye health industry.

She recently published the results of her Masters research in the African Vision and Eye Health Journal and is planning to pursue her PhD where she will continue the work of developing an official vision screening protocol for motor vehicle drivers in Lesotho. She is the current serving president of the Lesotho Optometric Association (LESOA) where her main mandate is to elevate the standard of Optometry in Lesotho.