Students and staff from the City and LV Prasad Eye Institute collaborative doctoral programme reflect on their participation in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Annual Meeting 2022.

By Mr Shamim Quadir (Senior Communications Officer), Published

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting is a key opportunity for eye and vision scientists at all career stages, students, and those in affiliated fields to network and share the latest research findings and collaborate on innovative solutions. This year the meeting was hosted in Denver, Colorado, USA and partly held virtually, online.

City, University of London hosts a doctoral programme in collaboration with the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) in Hyderabad, India, for candidates who wish to further their vision research training and careers, including practising optometrists who want to become more research active.

This year, the collaboration was proud to represent itself at the annual ARVO meeting with a number of PhD candidate delegates who presented their work in-person at the event in Denver.

Reflecting on this success, Dr Shrikant Bharadwaj, Network Associate Director, Brien Holden Institute of Optometry and Vision Sciences, LVPEI, said:

ARVO 2022 was a special one for me in that five of our PhD students from the collaborative program between LVPEI and City, University of London attended this meeting to present their research work. Two of the students, Vijay Reena Durai and Bhagyalakshmi Marella had oral presentations while the remaining three, Preetam Kumar, Rebecca Sumalini and Rohit Dhakal had poster presentations at the meeting. All the presentations were well received and got good feedback to incorporate into the papers that will be written-up eventually.

"Four of the five students, Vijay Reena Durai, Bhagyalakshmi Marella, Rebecca Sumalini and Rohit Dhakal also received ARVO and DCERF travel grants to attend the meeting. This support, in addition to the generous support offered by City, University of London, enabled them to attend this meeting without any financial glitches.

"While I congratulate all the students on their achievements, I also want to place on record the tremendous effort expended by their mentors from LVPEI and City in guiding the students. Overall, this reflects the strive for excellence in vision research through the collaborative efforts of both institutions. I wish this collaboration all the more success in the years to come."

Rebecca Sumalini 

Rebecca Sumalini, Consultant Optometrist at LVPEI and doctoral student on the joint City and LVPEI programme attended the meeting, and said:

"As a first-time attendee in ARVO-2022, it was an overwhelming experience for me to witness the extent and depth of vision science covered in a short 4-days duration. I am glad that I could get the opportunity to present a part of my PhD work through a poster presentation. This was focused on the correlation of vision with overall development in children with cerebral visual impairment and had some important clinical take-aways. With the area of cerebral visual impairment gaining more attention in recent times, it was a fulfilling experience for me to discuss my work with the experts and my fellow peers.

“I am very grateful to all my mentors, Dr. Prem Nandhini Satgunam at LVPEI, Dr. Ahalya Subramanian and Dr. Miriam Conway at City, University of London, Dr. Lokesh Lingappa, at Rainbow Children's Hospitals, and the collaborative initiative of LVPEI and City, University of London through which I could get this wonderful opportunity to participate in one of the largest vision science conferences and present a part of my PhD work. I am also thankful to the ARVO Foundation for selecting me as one of the Developing Country Eye Researcher Fellows. The mentorship received through this fellowship has been very beneficial and I am sure that it will go a long way in enabling me to establish better networking.”

Ms Sumalini also received an award for her work presented at the annual meeting, about which her supervisor, Dr Satgunam at LVPEI, commented:

‘’I am happy to announce that Rebecca got the Envision-Atwell award's honourable mention & cash award for her ARVO presentation. I am super impressed with this. There were incredible presentations, both papers and posters, from several institutions and I am glad Rebecca had this tough competition and got through to the top.’’

Dr Ahalya Subramanian, Associate Professor of Optometry at City, University of London, and who co-ordinates the joint City and LVPEI doctoral programme, said:

‘’I was extremely delighted to hear that so many of our joint doctoral students had won competitive grants to present their research at ARVO 2022. The past two and a half years have thrown up numerous research challenges. Despite this our doctoral students have shown considerable resilience and managed to carry out research and showcase their outstanding research on an international stage.’’

Find out more

Visit the Department of Optometry and Visual Sciences at City, University of London

Visit the ARVO Annual Meeting 2022 webpage