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International Vision

28 August 2009

Stephanie and Elizabeth in traditional yukatasStephanie and Elizabeth in traditional yukatas

Japanese efforts to combat some of the leading causes of eye problems have been witnessed first-hand by two University students in a new international exchange programme between Cardiff and Kyoto.

Elizabeth Sullivan and Stephanie Campbell, students at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences spent a month in Japan at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine (KPUM) and Doshisha University in Kyoto.

Hosted by Professor Shigeru Kinoshita, Chairman of The Department of Ophthalmology at KPUM and an Honorary Distinguished Professor at Cardiff, the aim of the visit was to expose undergraduate students to academic research focusing on the eye and vision, and to encourage postgraduate study.

During their time in Japan, Elizabeth and Stephanie shadowed different specialist clinics at the University hospital such as dry eye, cornea, retina and glaucoma clinics. This gave them an overview of the work that the ophthalmologists did and insight into their various specialities.

Third-year undergraduates, Stephanie Campbell (seated left) and Elizabeth Sullivan (seated right) with Professor Hisakazu Yamagishi, President of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine (seated) and Professor Shigeru Kinoshita, Chairman of The Department of OphthalmologyThird-year undergraduates, Stephanie Campbell (seated left) and Elizabeth Sullivan (seated right) with Professor Hisakazu Yamagishi, President of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine (seated) and Professor Shigeru Kinoshita, Chairman of The Department of Ophthalmology

They also had the opportunity to watch eye surgery, meet world-leading bioengineers, carry out their own research project into assessments for dry eye and visit Menicon, a leading contact lens company and research partner of the School to witness the delicate process involved in producing lenses.

Stephanie and Elizabeth said: "The experience was simply amazing! What we have learned both inside and outside of the ophthalmology department and about the Japanese culture itself will stand by us in our final year at Cardiff and in our careers ahead of us.

"The trip has given us confidence, and highlighted areas of research we’d like to follow up. Meeting postgraduate students in Japan also gave us a great insight into what a PhD involves and it really made us interested in the possibility of doing one in the future."

The exchange is the first of its kind to be run between Cardiff and Kyoto, and was organised by Professor Andrew Quantock from the School, who is also a Visiting Professor at KPUM, and Drs. Ben Inatomi and Noriko Koizumi in Kyoto.

Professor Tim Wess, Head of School said: "International student exchanges provide important opportunities for the School to strengthen the friendships that we have developed with our overseas collaborators, and provide a powerful personal development experience for the students."

Following their visit, Elizabeth and Stephanie are preparing a presentation for staff and students at the School which will highlight their work during their time in Japan.

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