ECOV Education Grant: supporting the development of optometrists
Anna Van Koeverden is the 2018 winner of the Early Career Optometrists Victoria (ECOV) Education Grant.
The ECOV Education Grant is a new initiative designed to assist early career optometrists wishing to further their professional development or postgraduate study. The Education Grant of up to $1,500, is generously sponsored by Sunbury Eye Surgeons.
Anna is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne, and the grant will support her to attend the ARVO International Meeting and the World Glaucoma Congress. Anna’s research is looking at interactions between retinal microglia and ganglion cells under IOP stress, using both acute and chronic IOP models.
“There is currently one treatment for glaucoma, IOP lowering, but in a significant number of cases, it’s not effective at slowing progression,” Anna said.
“We reassure our patients that glaucoma is a treatable condition, but there is always a little voice nagging in the back of my mind. What if this patient does not respond to IOP lowering treatment? How will we help them?” she said.
Anna was very grateful for the assistance of the Grant and the support of Sunbury Eye Surgeons.
“The Grant means that I can attend ARVO to network and meet with optometrists, ophthalmologists and vision scientists to talk about my research,” Anna said. “Research isn’t an isolated activity, you’re part of a huge community, and it’s important to be able to connect with that community, to spark new ideas and further thinking,” Anna said.
Ophthalmologist and former optometrist Dr Christolyn Raj of Sunbury Eye Surgeons is one of the sponsors of the Education Grant.
“We wanted to find a tangible way to support eye and vision research and the professional development of early career optometrists,” Christolyn said. “I’m really excited about Anna’s research and look forward to seeing the results,” she said.
“I’m also really pleased that the grant offers us a means by which we can strengthen relationships between optometrists and ophthalmologists,” Christolyn said.
Applications for the ECOV Education Grant 2019 will open again in September 2019.