CooperVision rewards FORCE Students of the Year for research into eye cosmetics and contact lenses
CooperVision FORCE Student of Year 2017, Sara Picarazzi

Southampton, United Kingdom, June 2017 — Global contact lens manufacturer CooperVision has awarded the title FORCE Student of the Year 2017 to Sara Picarazzi and Alessandra Rossi, students from the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan, Italy.

The winning project, presented by Sara Picarazzi and supervised by Silvia Tavazzi, evaluated the absorption of eyeshadow in soft contact lenses. Cosmetic absorption was greater than expected and different types of contact lens material interacted differently with the cosmetic.

This year’s FORCE (Future Ocular Research Creativity Event) final took place at CooperVision’s Centre of Innovation in Budapest, Hungary from 19-20th May. Teams of students and educators from nine countries took part.

In addition to the overall winners, two other teams reaching the final were also specially commended for their studies: Malgorzata Hadzicka from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, and Marie Kodetová and Barbora Hráčková, students at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.

FORCE is an annual competition in the field of contact lenses, pitching the very best students from colleges and universities all over Europe 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 European final for a chance to become CooperVision FORCE Student of Year. The prize is a full delegate package, including travel and accommodation, to attend an international contact lens meeting.

This year’s students and topics for the fifth FORCE European final were:

  • Andrea Alcaraz Cáceres, University of Alicante, Spain
    Supervisors: Dr María del Mar Seguí Crespo and David Piñero Llorens
    Evaluation of quality of life and its relationship with vision function in the presbyopic patient wearing multifocal contact lenses.
  • Małgorzata Hadzicka, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
    Supervisor: Dr Magdalena Grajek
    Influence of a contact lens on the measurement results by ultrasonography of the eye.
  • Ambreen Saira Hussain, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
    Supervisor: Dr Louise Madden
    The effect of contact lens material on in vitro wettability in adverse environmental conditions.
  • Kinga Istvánfi and Tímea Gulyás, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
    Supervisor: Dr Beáta Tapasztó
    Contact lens related dry eye.
  • Marie Kodetová (presenter) and Barbora Hráčková, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
    Supervisor: Dr Pavel Beneš
    Soft contact lens wearers: are they doing everything the right way?
  • Alessandra Rossi and Sara Picarazzi (presenter), University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
    Supervisor: Silvia Tavazzi
    Eyeshadow-polymer interaction in soft contact lenses: a comparative study.
  • Linda van Hees and Jennifer Meerding, Hogeschool Utrecht, the Netherlands
    Supervisor: Jeroen Mulder
    Dry eye syndrome and asthenopia related to modern digital lifestyle.
  • Julie Vaulot, CFA La Noue, Dijon, France
    Supervisor: Bérenger Roca
    Influence of corneal eccentricity on the measurement of corneo-scleral profile.
  • Johan von Unge and Sebastian Moghaied, Karolinska Institute Stockholm, Sweden
    Supervisor: Dr Anna Lindskoog-Pettersson
    Corneal apex, visual axis and pupil centre: the influence of these parameters for the importance of decentred contact lenses.

Judging the projects were researchers and clinicians Pascale Dauthuile (President of the Association of Contact Lens Experts, France), Elena García Rubio (National Institute of Optometry, Madrid, Spain), Dr Eef van der Worp (Maastricht University, 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. This year, for the first time, finalists could choose to present in their native language.

Presenting the awards on behalf of the judges, Professor Wolffsohn said the panel had learnt a lot from the presentations. All the teams deserved commendation for reaching the final. Awarding the overall prize, he added: ‘This project was original, interesting and an important topic, with an informative and evidence-based introduction.’

Receiving the award, Sara commented: ‘I’m really happy – I didn’t expect to win! It shows the important work our university can do and gives us the chance to publish our project. FORCE opens up a great opportunity for study. It’s really important for young researchers starting out on their careers.’

FORCE Student of the Year 2016 Izabela Garaszczuk, from Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland, returned to describe her year since winning the award. Izabela has joined the European Dry Eye Network (EDEN) project and is now a PhD student at the University of Valencia in Spain. She has travelled to several international meetings and next month will present her work at the 40th British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference.

‘FORCE gave me confidence in presenting and was a leap into my future career,’ she said. ‘I realised I wanted to go further into research and FORCE was a strong motivation for me to discover what I really like doing the most.’

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