Ophthalmology researcher awarded prestigious prize

A researcher from the University's Ulverscroft Eye Unit is the 25th recipient of the prestigious Vernon Prize Trophy for Ophthalmological Research, which was first endowed in 1993.

Dr Sohaib Rufai, NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Ophthalmology, picked up the highly sought-after award at the 22nd Nottingham Eye Symposium and Research Meeting in the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham. The Nottingham Eye Symposium is running in its 22nd year, involving ophthalmologists and scientists many of whom are leaders in their field. The Symposium has a wide audience attracting delegates nationally and internationally.

Competing against a strong field of seventeen speakers, Dr Rufai was awarded the trophy for the best clinical research presentation entitled, “Comparison of quantitative segmentation analysis and structural grading of foveal hypoplasia in infants for the prediction of future visual acuity: A longitudinal cohort study”.

This study, led by Dr Rufai and supervised by Professor Irene Gottlob, Professor of Ophthalmology at Leicester, guides diagnosis and management of underdevelopment of the retina in young children with nystagmus or ‘dancing eyes’. Leicester was the first centre in Europe to receive this cutting edge 3D imaging technology – handheld optical coherence tomography – and this study benefits from over 5 years of data and discovery thanks to this exciting technology.

The University of Leicester Ulverscroft Eye Unit, made possible thanks to the generous support of The Ulverscroft Foundation is based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The trophy was presented by Professor Harminder Dua, Chair of the Nottingham Eye Symposium and former President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Dr Rufai was also awarded a shield for this accolade.

Dr Rufai said, “I am most humbled to receive this prize. All the credit goes to my supervisors Prof Irene Gottlob and Dr Frank Proudlock, along with my colleagues Dr Mervyn Thomas, Mr Ravi Purohit and Miss Helena Lee. We also owe huge thanks to our wonderful patients. I hope this exciting research continues to thrive for the benefit of all our patients with infantile nystagmus.”