Prepared by – Dr. Abhishek Mandal, Founder & CEO
Vision Science Academy (VSA) is an online academic and mentorship organisation for eye health experts. Its goal is to provide top-notch knowledge of Vision Sciences, should that be optometry and ophthalmology, through its publications, blogs, seminars, and webinars.
A glimpse of the year 2020-2021
The year 2020-2021 was significant for VSA as the organisation was just founded, and it had to make its mark. The progress of the organisation is jotted down here. The organisation got registered with the information commissioner office (ICO) U.K soon after its inception. The VSA aims to empower optical experts through education, and for that, it launched its journal. VSA established a network of 20 volunteers globally. They arranged webinars and other online activities to strengthen the knowledge of students and professionals.
The organisation has collaborated with multiple international organisations to work for the greater good. Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is one of them. Other collaborations include ECOTIC Labs and KBR Foundation UK.
The VSA has arranged several events during the course of the year. These include an interview with Ken Brandt, webinars on the significance of telehealth in optometry and modern trends in the management of amblyopia, a virtual session about electronic medical records systems, virtual talk about optical coherence tomography imaging for several eye disorders. Three blogs and one photography competition were also held in the previous year. The organisation further aims to elevate its capacity in every aspect.
What is the progress of VSA in the year 2021-2022?
VSA is growing into an eminent educational organisation aiming to advance and strengthen optometrists and ophthalmologists for better visual health. This year has been quite engaging, active, and hectic. Several webinars, talks, interviews, quizzes, and blog competitions took place to ensure maximum learning. Moreover, VSA successfully engaged multiple organisations for collaborations and sponsorships to empower vision science fellows. A detailed account of the whole year is as under:
ICO Certificate Renewal
Vision Science Academy has got its licence renewed in March 2021 by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). The ICO is an autonomous authority in the United Kingdom established to uphold informational rights. It handles data protection, offers recommendations and guidance, conducts audits, entertains complaints, scrutinises compliance, and takes enforcement action. It works under the Data Protection Act of 2018 (DPA 2018), and the U.K. General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). So, VSA continues on the list of the trustable organisations in the education sector.
Social media is a necessary tool of the age. Considering this, VSA has built a strong impact through social media for the past year. The aim is to equip eye health experts with workable and up-to-date knowledge. The organisation has Facebook and Instagram pages, a YouTube channel, and a LinkedIn profile form where followers can get relevant information.
VSA has about 1200 members, and the number is increasing daily. The amazing response has urged the organisation to launch another membership plan starting from the minimum cost. The vision is that more people can join the VSA and choose a plan most suitable to them.
The goal of VSA is to advance the field and experts of vision science through updated knowledge. For this purpose, the organisation arranges numerous events, including webinars, interviews, and science talks, to impart to the people knowledge about state-of-the-art technologies, advancing philosophies, and unparalleled experiences from the diversified international community. A brief discussion of some events is as follows.
Vision Science Talks – An Interview with Ken Brandt – June 13, 2021
Ken Brandt, American-Australian Author of the book Positive Vision, who has poor eyesight and crossed eyes, a fun life with a successful business career, wasinterviewed by VSA’s Training Manager Somayeh Heidarzadeh Vision Science Talks platform on June 13, 2021. Audiences from all over the world attended the interview live. In the interview, Ken talked about his unparalleled opinions about the poor vision, which he documented in his book and lived by himself. The interview video premiered on the VSA YouTube channel Vision Science TV in July 2021.
Collaborative event of VSA and Nepalese Association Optometrists for the 1st Licensing Exam
Vision Science Academy was honoured to be the education partner of the 1st Licensing Exam Revision Course organised by the Nepalese Association of Optometrists for Optometry Graduates in Nepal, in August 2021. It offered different subjects for the exam like Ophthalmic Dispensing, Diagnostic and Investigative Optometry, Research and Biostatistics, Visual Science, and more.
International Low Vision Awareness Symposium
Recently low vision has become a cross-continental problem. To discuss the causes, impacts, and solutions of low vision, VSA arranged an International Low Vision e-Symposium on August 28, 2021. There were four renowned speakers invited: Mr. Haris Grozdanic (Sweden), Ms. Srivastava (India), Ms. Sarika Gopalakrishnan (India), Mr. Uwacu Tuyishime Dider Fidele (Rwanda).
International Orthoptic e-Symposium
VSA, in association with Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital and under the sponsorship of OCULAR interface, arranged the International Orthoptic e-Symposium via zoom on September 26, 2021. There were three speakers: Anton Decruse Waanbah (India), Joanna Arcadiou (Greece), and Prem Kumar Singh (India). More than 350 people from all over the world attended the symposium making it a success.
World Sight Day 2021 – Sight for Future Event
On October 14, 2021, VSA in collaboration with Online Optom Learning Series (OOLS) took an initiative for a knowledgeable future. An e-Symposium, “Sight for Future” with a slogan “Better Knowledge for Brighter Sight” was conducted to spread awareness among vision science enthusiasts. The symposium invited eye care experts from different parts of the world. The subject it tried to enlighten was to control avoidable blindness and save eyesight. There were six eminent speakers, including Marietjie Cilliers, (South Africa), Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen (UAE), Yeshwant Saoji (India), Ukti Vora (USA) Minh Anh Tran (Vietnam) and Dr. Keyur Patel (UK).
A CME with the hands-on workshop was conducted in May 2022. An event organised by Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in collaboration with VSA, Standard Chartered, Indian Optometric Association, and Milmet. In this Hybrid event, attendees were able to join in person and via Zoom as well. VSA members who attended the event were offered credit points.
VSA Guest Column
VSA attracts various eye experts globally, and they contribute to the Vision Science community through the VSA’s Guest Column. The purpose of the guest column is to engage the global eye community to share their knowledge with others and help build a strong eye health system. The guest columns also make it easy for others to rely on VSA as the writers are renowned experts in the field. Following is the list of this year’s columns:
|Dr. Deepmala Mazumdar||Evaluation of Island of Vision: relics of a bygone age||Jun 1, 2021|
|Dr Kalpa Negiloni||Visual needs of school children and eye care recommendations||Jul 1, 2021|
|Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hussaindeen||Digital eye strain – there is more to come & more to explore||Oct 1, 2021|
|Wasique A||Best Practices To Manage Your Optometry Outlet||Feb 1, 2022|
|Daniel Williams||Focusing on sight loss||Mar 1, 2022|
|Jayshree Vasani||Who Or What Is A Dispensing Optician? (D.O.)||Apr 1, 2022|
VSA Exclusive by Team members
The VSA team exclusive is an opportunity for the team members to write articles, showcase their skills, and get an appreciation for their work. The team is wholeheartedly engaged in progressing VSA, in turn, the organisation engages them in activities that polish them and make them feel a part of VSA. An account of VSA exclusives is as follows:
In this fast-paced era, people have no time to read lengthy stuff. It is convenient for them to grab information about key concepts in the shortest possible time. Considering this demand, VSA has opted to publish posters about advanced approaches in vision science from where people can get maximum information in a minimum time. The first poster of VSA was published in the February 2021 release and launched on October 1.
VSA has published 6 blogs per month continuously for the last 1 year. It had grabbed the attention of authors from around the globe. The total blog count has passed the 150 mark in 2 years. The aim is to increase the publication rate to make it 9 blogs per month to accommodate more blogs while maintaining publication standards.
KBR Foundation Monthly Innovative Blog Award
VSA-KBR awards is a project sponsored by the KBR Foundation; a charitable foundation based in UK. It is a monthly series that started in January 2021. A cash award of £10/- is allocated to appreciate the best blog every month. Last year 16 aspiring authors were awarded this prestigious award. The purpose of the cash award is to encourage authors to contribute to science by appreciating their skills. Moreover, it generates a sense of competition where everyone tries to perform their best. The table below covers the details of the program.
|Month||Recipient of Award||Introduction of Recipient||Blog Title|
|June 2021||Debasish De||Bachelor of Optometry Optometrist, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi.||Ocular Prosthesis- Eye with an Art|
|July 2021||Alisha Regmi||M. Optom Postgraduate in Optometry (M.Optom), The Sankara Nethralaya Academy, Chennai, India||Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) with recent advanced technologies: Diagnosis and management|
|August 2021||Jayanti Chaudhary||B. Optom, F. Optom Optometrist, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, Delhi, India||Double Threat of Sight: Glaucoma and Dryness|
|September 2021||Manish Panjiyar||M.Optom The Sankara Nethralaya Academy, A unit of Medical Research Foundation in collaboration with The Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R Medical University, Chennai.||The Era of Artificial Intelligence – A Boon to Eye Care|
|October 2021||Rupali Singh||Fellow Optometrist Pediatric and Vision Therapy Department Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital||Dichoptic Treatment: A virtual game in amblyopia treatment|
|November 2021||Soundharya S.||Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics MMM College of Health Sciences, Chennai, India||Gut–eye axis|
|December 2021||Ms Tsering lamu shongmu||Assistant Professor at Assam Downtown university||Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Digital Eye Strain|
|January 2022||Vaishaali Gunalan||Optometrist Vision Care Center, Lausaka, Zambia||Microvasculature Dropout (MVD): A Novel Potential Marker in Diagnosing Glaucoma|
|February 2022||Pritam Dutta||M. Optom, FAAO, Optometrist ERC Eye hospital, Sibsagar||Dopamine In Traumatic Brain Injury: Changes in & its Transporter Expression And Potential Role in Neural Recovery|
|March 2022||Tathagata Roy||Optometrist, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital||Insomnia Snatching The Wettability Of Cornea|
|April 2022||Tsering Lamu Shongmu||Assistant Professor, Sushant University||Does Wearing a Contact Lens Overnight Improve Your Vision And Prevent Future Progression?|
|May 2022||Tathagata Roy||Intern Optometrist at Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital||Myocilin and Its Role in Pathogenesis of Juvenile Open-Angle Glaucoma|
A sponsored blog competition is held once every few months. The winners are awarded cash prizes. A detailed account of the last two contests is as under:
August 2021: In August 2021, VSA conducted a blog competition sponsored by the KBR Foundation. The top 3 winners were awarded the cash prizes, certificates and virtual mementos.
January 2022: The second blog contest of the annual year was held in January 2022. The contest attracted more than 50 submissions. The top 3 winners of the competition, as decided by the VSA expert panel, won OCULAR Interface-sponsored cash prizes. The top 10 scorers got the chance to publish their blogs through VSA.
A quiz is the best way to recall the knowledge and revise the key points. That’s why VSA holds SEASONS of quiz competitions in which the top 3 scorers qualify for exciting cash prizes and the top 10 receive Awards. VSA receives more than 100 registrations for each quiz session. Highlights of the Quiz seasons are as follows:
Season 1: The first session of SEASON 1 was held in June 2021, while the Grand Finale was held in December 2021 via Zoom. Each quiz session has recognised the top 10 scorers, while the grand finale has three winners. The final winners got Ocular interface sponsored cash prizes.
Season 2: The VSA Quiz SEASON 2 started in February 2022 and ended in May 2022. Each session acknowledged the top 10 scorers, while the final award had three winners. The Grand Finale is set to take place virtually in June. OCULAR interface sponsored the event. The top 10 participants combining scores of all four rounds were invited to the Grand Finale. There were three different prizes for the winners as follows:
1st Prize: £50
2nd Prize: £35
3rd Prize: £25
All finalists were awarded an Amazon Gift Voucher worth £10, Certificates, and a Virtual Souvenir.
In February 2022, VSA launched an entrepreneurship grant program called “The Poppy Grant.” The program intends to encourage eye experts to work on innovative business ideas with their clinical practice. The OCULAR Interface has generously sponsored the grant. Applications were open for paid members of VSA. A financial grant of up to £1000/- was provided for the best workable ideas.
Awareness is the most significant tool after knowledge. Having that known, VSA attempts to educate the community through its various programs. A few of them are summarised below.
World Optometry Day 2021
On World Optometry Day, 2021, Vision Science Academy in collaboration with Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital and Delhi Optometrists Association, organised an International CME (Continued Medical Education). A total of 758 people registered for the event. Sonia Srivastava, Dr. Cathy Stern, Prem Kumar Singh, Ob Malope, Abhilekh Aneja, and Jico Gogoi were the speakers. The aim of the event was to raise awareness about vision problems and visual health.
The earth’s climate is vigorously changing, impacting life here negatively. The sustainability COP was a worthwhile event in this situation. The conference aimed to discuss the practices that can keep the global temperature rise to a minimum of 1.5°C. To attain this goal, VSA is playing its part by making the community aware of climate change and its consequences. The organisation encourages blogs and articles about sustainability in climate change and environmental scenarios. It tries to urge the masses to work for a better liveable environment by educating them through webinars, blogs, articles, and other events. Read the VSA Exclusive article Climate Change and its Impact on Eyecare.
Collaborations are always helpful in attaining great goals. VSA has also partnered with multiple organisations to work for the betterment of the wider community. Following is a list of VSA collaborations for the annual year 2021-2022
Vision Science Academy (VSA) has partnered with Online Optom Learning Series (OOLS), a platform committed to providing education and advances in optometry, on June 16, 2021. The alliance is to enhance the knowledge of VSA- OOLS members about various aspects of vision science.
The collaboration of Vision Science Academy and the Nepalese Association of Optometrists (VSA-NAO) was announced on July 1, 2021. NAO works in Nepal to educate the masses about eye health and provides better eye care services. VSA and NAO have joined hands to develop top-quality eye care in Nepal.
VSA collaborated with Nerdy Optometrist on July 28, 2021. The partnership is to bring leading Optometrist speakers’ substantial experience and knowledge to VSA members through podcasts.
Vision Science Academy (U.K.) & Management and Science University (Malaysia) have partnered on September 20, 2021. The VSA Founder and CEO, Dr. Abhishek Mandal signed the collaboration for the bilateral benefit during COVR 2.0. This collaboration aims at enhancing better educational prospects between both organisations.
In January 2022, VSA has successfully collaborated with Microsoft UK to improve the learning experience of its members. The organisation also owns A1 (Academic) Tenant licence, which offers office 365 with information security, compliance means, email, Microsoft Teams corner, and video conferencing. Besides that, the package also includes online Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel. It grants access to data storage tools like One drive, business tools like Skype for Business plus google forms, and much more. The partnership will enhance the user experience of VSA members and facilitate their learning.
VSA continue to collaborate with KBR Foundation U.K. As per the collaboration agreement, KBR consented to sponsor Cash awards to aspiring bloggers of VSA on a monthly basis.
Similarly, Ocular Interface, a London based tech company in eye-care is a collaborative partner of VSA for quizzes, events and blogs. They sponsor cash prizes to the winners of quiz competitions and support the educational activities of VSA.
During this annual year, VSA, in collaboration with partner organisations, raised funds for different events, seminars, and collaborative events. These partners include OCUVIQ, Milmet, Standard Chartered, Akriti, Oculus Malaysia, and Essilor. VSA is thankful to these organisations for their generous support
VSA is proud to have renowned experts on board as senior advisors. Their knowledge, critical analysis, and philosophical approach will help the VSA team to make better decisions and work in the right direction. Following is an account of honourable advisory board members:
Mr. Amod Gogate
Mr. Amod Gogate joined the VSA team as a Senior Advisor. He is the director of Gogate Eye Health, Consultants Ambassador – British Contact Lens Association (BCLA).
Mr. Ken Brandt
Mr. Ken Brandt, Author of “Positive Vision: Enjoying the Adventures and Advantages of Poor Eyesight.” has joined the VSA family as a Senior Advisor. His expertise and positive take are worthy assets.
Mr. Vishakh Nair
VSA is delighted to have Mr. Vishakh Nair, who is a Faculty member of the Doctor of Optometry (OD) Program, Qassim University, Ministry of Higher Education, KSA, as a Senior Advisor
Mr. Sanjeeb Mishra
VSA is honoured to have Mr. Sanjeeb Mishra as a Senior Advisor. He is the Asst. Professor and Program Coordinator at BP Koirala Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies, Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University.
Mr. Prem Kumar Singh
Mr. Prem Kumar Singh, the Head of the Department of Optometry Sciences at Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, has dedicated his valuable services as VSA Senior Advisor.
Most productive team member
Most Productive Team Member Award for the Year 2020-2021 was won by the Editor-In-Chief, The VSA Blog, Dr. Deepmala Mazumdar. She is an eminent VSA team member having an outstanding educational and professional career. She has won multiple awards during her academic period. She also writes for VSA, blogs, and articles regularly to encourage young blood in Vision Sciences. The award is to appreciate and admire her devotion and hard work.
VSA conducted an annual survey in 2021 as well to obtain valued feedback from the members to enhance the status of its academic services. The participants had a chance to win a £15 Amazon Voucher through a lucky draw by filling out the survey questionnaire. The purpose of the survey was to improve the institution’s performance up to the level of members’ satisfaction. The survey makes an organisation attentive to several factors which seemed unimportant otherwise. Public opinion helps organisations work harder. And it also makes members feel a part of the organisation as their opinion could bring about good changes.
VSA is working its level best to provide advanced and verified knowledge of optometry and ophthalmology through its publications and events. The organisation has made its mark in the education sector because of the quality content and devoted efforts. Though VSA has made smooth progress in the two years, there is much more to go still. In the future, VSA plans to bring multiple events and collaborations to empower its eye experts with advanced knowledge. Stay connected to enjoy future perks.