Ground-breaking research and the latest developments in keratoconus will be shared next month at KeraClub 2022, a hybrid event for people with the condition, their families, and carers.
Co-hosted by Save Sight Institute and Sydney Nano Institute at the University of Sydney, along with Keratoconus Australia, the 7th annual KeraClub will take place face-to-face and as a webinar on 4 August.
Understanding patient perspectives is at the centre of KeraClub. Prior to 2020, it was an in-person event held at the Sydney Eye Hospital where participants actively engaged in informal discussion after presentations and panel discussions.
Professor Stephanie Watson, chief investigator of the Save Sight Keratoconus Registry project, said for the last two years, KeraClub has been held as a webinar format due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The webinar format has allowed us to reach a larger number of people and avoid the risks of COVID-19. However, the in-person interaction was greatly missed. This year we are organising it as a hybrid event,” she said.
Watson will be speaking at this year’s event, alongside Dr Yogambha Ramaswamy, Mr Larry Kornhauser, Mr Mark Koszek, Ms Justine McLaughlin, and Dr Himal Kandel.
Watson, who is also head of the corneal research unit at the Save Sight Institute, head of the corneal unit at Sydney Eye Hospital, chair of Australian Vision Research, and co-deputy director of industry, innovation and commercialisation at Sydney Nano Institute, will discuss evidence-based management of keratoconus highlighting ground-breaking research from the Save Sight Keratoconus Registry.
Dr Yogambha Ramaswamy, a senior lecturer at the school of aerospace, mechanical and mechatronic engineering, will present the application of nanotechnology to keratoconus care.
A chemical engineer with a PhD in biomedical engineering and a Master’s degree in Biotechnology, Ramaswamy is an internationally renowned researcher with expertise and interests in areas including biomaterials, tissue engineering, and mechanobiology.
Optometrist Mark Koszek from EyeQ Optometrists will speak about getting the most out of contact lenses. Koszek is a founding partner and the professional education officer of EyeQ Optometrists. He has lectured extensively throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia on contact lenses, dry eye and ocular diseases. His special interests include scleral contact lenses.
Larry Kornhauser will talk about how Keratoconus Australia supports patients with keratoconus. Kornhauser has a lived experience of keratoconus and is the founder-president of Keratoconus Australia. Keratoconus Australia has supported Save Sight Keratoconus Registry and together co-founded KeraClub in 2015.
Justine McLaughlin will share her lived experiences with keratoconus. She was diagnosed with keratoconus in her late teens and managed it through glasses and hard contacts until an emergency corneal transplant in 2005.
McLaughlin is a qualified solicitor and has spent the last decade in NSW local government as an elected councillor and deputy mayor. She is currently a committee member of Keratoconus Australia.
Evaluating and improving quality-of-life has been a major focus of the Save Sight Keratoconus Registry. Dr Himal Kandel, the Kornhauser research associate at the Save Sight Keratoconus Registry will present the latest quality-of-life research.
KeraClub 2022 will be chaired by Ms Michelle Pritchard, an internationally reputed violist and violinist who has also lived most of her life with keratoconus. Pritchard has recently completed a Master of Music at The Royal Conservatoire, The Hague.
Click here to register for KeraClub 2022. Registration is free but essential. Event details will be emailed to participants closer to the event.