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Ulster University Professor, Kathryn Saunders, has been recognised by the College of Optometrists for her outstanding contribution to optometry with a Life Fellowship.

Professor of Optometry and Vision Science, Kathryn has published over 70 peer reviewed scientific papers and has attracted research funding from the Nuffield Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and other charitable organisations.

Kathryn has a special interest in paediatric vision and visual development. Her research aims to provide improved methods for assessing and managing visual problems in children, particularly where developmental disability co-exists with vision deficits. She leads the Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction (NICER) Study, the largest prospective study of eyes and vision in childhood in the UK and Ireland, funded by Ulster University and the College of Optometrists.

Kathryn runs a paediatric/special needs visual assessment clinic in the Ulster Optometry Clinic, regularly providing eye care for pre-school children and those with special needs. This clinic also provides training to undergraduate optometry students.

Professor Saunders received her award in London in November.

Professor Edward Mallen PhD MCOptom, President of The College of Optometrists, said:

“Fellowship is the College’s highest award. It is our opportunity to celebrate the most outstanding and significant achievements made by some of the most talented and committed individuals working in eye and vision care, and their exceptional contribution to the advancement of the profession. I would like to congratulate all recipients and thank them for their valued input to the profession across the years.”

Professor Carol Curran, Executive Dean, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences at Ulster University commented:

“Kathryn is a truly deserving recipient of this Life Fellowship Award which recognises her contribution to optometry. Through her research and teaching she has made an incredible impact on paediatric vision and visual development both here in Northern Ireland and further afield.”