CooperVision awards FORCE Student of the Year 2018 as teams from outside Europe compete for the first time
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Southampton, United Kingdom, May 2018 — Global contact lens manufacturer CooperVision has awarded the title FORCE Student of the Year 2018 to Laura Valencia and Pablo Arlanzón, students from the Universidad de Valladolid, Spain.

The sixth FORCE (Future Ocular Research Creativity Event) final took place at CooperVision’s Centre of Innovation in Budapest, Hungary on 12 May. This year, students from outside Europe competed in the final, with teams from India and Israel taking part. Bulgaria was also represented for the first time. With 11 countries participating, the 2018 final was the largest yet.

Laura and Pablo’s project, supervised by Dr Alberto López and Cristina Arroyo, evaluated symptoms, visual function and clinical signs of Computer Vision Syndrome in patients wearing Biofinity Energys® when compared with the Biofinity® lens.

Ludivine Willmann, from the Institut Supérieur d’Optique (ISO) Nantes, France took second place for her study of blink rate and visual comfort during activities on computer screens in patients wearing hydrogel and silicone hydrogel contact lenses. Nicole Tamagnini of the Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy was awarded third place for her research into peripheral retina image quality after myopic orthokeratology.

In addition, Jude Menezes from India and Maxim Yanev from Bulgaria received special commendations from the judges for their stage presence.

FORCE is an annual competition in the field of contact lenses, pitching the very best students from colleges and universities against each other. Students are invited to undertake a research project on a contact lens-related subject of their choice and to present their findings.

Winners from each country go forward to the final for a chance to become FORCE Student of Year. The prize is a full delegate package, including travel and accommodation, to attend an international contact lens meeting.

Teams and topics for this year’s FORCE final were:

Maxim Yanev, Varna Medical University, Bulgaria

Supervisor: Professor Christina Grupcheva

Congenital colour vision defects – can we solve the problem utilising the X-Chrom contact lenses?

Anna Havelková, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Kladno, Czech Republic

Supervisor: Tomáš Dobřenský

Computer Vision Syndrome – severity and prevalence in Czech population, single-blind study of two types of contact lenses

Ludivine Willmann, Institut Supérieur d’Optique (ISO) Nantes, France

Supervisor: Brigitte Couture

Blink rate and visual comfort in activity on computer screen equipped with soft hydrogel contact lenses vs soft silicone hydrogel contact lenses

Veronika Horváth, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary

Supervisor: Dr Beáta Tapasztó

Orthokeratology in myopia control

Jude Menezes, Elite School of Optometry Unit of Medical Research Foundation, Chennai, India

Supervisors: Dr Rajeswari Mahadevan and Rinu Thomas

Success of soft contact lens market: how can new techniques, test and instruments help?

Yara Jabali and Malaki Mattar, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, Israel

Supervisors: Liat Gantz and Eyal Gal

Complications and compliance with over-the-counter contact lenses versus fitted contact lens wearers

Nicole Tamagnini, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy

Supervisor: Professor Antonio Calossi

The peripheral retina image quality after myopic orthokeratology

Magdalena Zaworska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland Supervisor: Professor Richard Naskręcki

Utility of cryo-SEM method to study silicone hydrogel contact lenses structure

Laura Valencia and Pablo Arlanzón, Universidad de Valladolid, Spain

Supervisors: Dr Alberto López and Cristina Arroyo

Evaluation of Computer Vision Syndrome with Biofinity Energys® contact lenses

Nikolina Olson and Anna Eriksson, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Supervisor: Dr Anna Lindskoog-Pettersson

Effects of multifocal contact lenses on ocular aberrations

James Bennett and Ross Adamson, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Supervisors: Dr Nadia Northway, Dr Glyn Walsh, Claudine Wallace

Advancing amblyopia care with contact lenses

Judging the projects were researchers and clinicians Pascale Dauthuile (President of the Association Française des Experts en Lentilles de Contact, France), Elena García Rubio (Instituto Nacional de Optometria, Madrid, Spain) and Dr Eef van der Worp (Eye-Contact-Lens, Amsterdam, the Netherlands), along with panel chairman Professor James Wolffsohn (Aston University, UK).

Entries were invited for clinical trials, clinical review papers and case reports, and were judged for the evidence for and importance of the project, and the quality and clarity of presentation.

Presenting the awards on behalf of the judges, Professor Wolffsohn said that the standard of this year’s final had been very high and the decision was close. ‘The winning team were a ‘well-practised double act’, delivering the results of their randomised controlled trial in a clear presentation and answering questions effectively.

Receiving the award, Laura said: ‘I’m very proud of our team. This has been a very good opportunity for us and I’m sure it’s going to help us in our careers.’ Pablo added that he welcomed the chance to learn how optometry was practised in different countries.

FORCE Student of the Year 2017 Sara Picarazzi, from Università di Milano-Bicocca, Italy returned to describe her experiences since winning. Sara was awarded a scholarship at the University Center for Research in Optics and Optometry of Milano-Bicocca (COMiB), published papers in peer-reviewed journals and presented the findings of her FORCE project at the Nederlands Contactlens Congres in March 2018.

Picture caption:

CooperVision FORCE Students of the Year 2018, Pablo Arlanzón and Laura Valencia from the Universidad de Valladolid, Spain.

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