Australia’s Professor Konrad Pesudovs has been named International Optometrist of the Year with a ceremony to mark the event in Barcelona on 19 September 2018.
The International Optometrist of the Year Award is bestowed annually to an optometrist of recognised international prestige who has excelled in academic, research, professional and social activity during recent years. The scientific committee is composed of university (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), professional (Catalan Council of Optometrists and Catalan Association of Visual Therapy) and Institutional (Terrassa City Council) members.
The Scientific Committee judges the following criteria, in order of priority:
- Number of publications in indexed journals during the last five years, in the area of optics and optometry.
- Participation in international conferences during the last five years, in the area of optics and optometry.
- Social and scientific impact of their professional activity and research.
- Number of patents, in holding, in the area of optics and optometry.
- Professional career.
Previous awardees include Prof. González-Méijome from the University of Minho, Portugal and Professor Lyndon Jones, Director of the Centre for Cornea and Contact Lens Research at the University of Waterloo.
He has published over 250 papers, received over 30,000 citations and given over 200 conference presentations.
Prof. Pesudovs currently works as an independent ophthalmic researcher and a consultant in research and optometric education. His research interest is ophthalmology outcomes research; incorporating optical, visual and patient-reported measurement into the holistic assessment of ophthalmic outcomes. A key element of this is the development of patient-reported outcome measures, including visual disability, quality of life and other latent traits using Rasch analysis. He has developed a number of questionnaires and is the leader of an international project to develop item banking and computer adaptive testing for measuring patient-reported outcomes in ophthalmology (the Eye-tem Bank Project). Another key area of outcomes research is in the measurement of the optics of the eye and visual performance. He has conducted outcomes research in treatments for all the major blinding eye diseases, with particular emphasis on cataract and corneal disease. He also has a strong track record in health valuation and epidemiology particularly with the Global Burden of Disease Study.
From 2009–2017 he was the Foundation Chair of Optometry and Vision Science at Flinders University where he was responsible for creating a five year optometry double degree program. The course design incorporated innovative teaching and learning strategies including integrated teaching, case-based learning and other student-centred learning strategies, e-learning, communication skills, business skills, evidence-based practice, simulation, high volume clinical exposure, clinical placements using the parallel clinical consulting model, and regional, remote and indigenous student recruitment and training strategies. Beyond producing a high-quality optometry program, Prof. Pesudovs’ main contribution to Australian optometry arising from this program was as the architect of a broadly based high volume clinical placement program, which has taken clinical training into real world optometry settings and provided high volume training experience (students conducted on average 450 eye examinations during their training). The course was deliberately designed to have a small throughput of students (40 per year), with half of these recruited from regional Australia, to supply the profession in a sustainable way.
Prior to establishing the Optometry and Vision Science school, Prof. Pesudovs was an Associate Professor in Ophthalmology at Flinders University. He has published over 250 papers, received over 30,000 citations and given over 200 conference presentations. He has won several international awards including the Waring Medal from the International Society of Refractive Surgeons and the Borish and Garland Clay Awards from the American Academy of Optometry. He also currently serves as the President of the Australian College of Optometry.
Surprised and Honoured
When asked about the award, Prof. Pesudovs said, “To be honest, I deleted the first email I received thinking it was spam! Fortunately, they persisted and now that I am over the shock, I am very honoured to be named International Optometrist of the Year. Since research activity is a major component of this award, this reflects that I have or had many wonderful research collaborators, post-docs and PhD students. The award also reflects the support I received from the small academic team who helped me develop and deliver the Optometry Program at Flinders University. Actually, I’m not really over the shock of this award. I love optometry – seeing patients, teaching students, doing research – and to be recognised for that is a great surprise and delight to me.”