WCSM medal winners announced

Medal winners Reena Chopra, Bethany Higgins and Harry Orlans, with the WCSM Master

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) has announced the winners of its annual bronze medal award competitions for research published during the last year.

The Master’s Medal for the best first published paper at pre-doctorate level across all disciplines of vision science was presented to Bethany Higgins of the Crabb Lab at City, University of London for her paper: “Novel computer-based assessments of everyday visual function in people with age-related macular degeneration”.

The Ruskell Medal recognises the best paper published in peer-reviewed international ophthalmology and vision science journals during the qualifying period, as judged by a panel of professors from universities and research departments across the UK.

The WCSM Ruskell Medal for 2021 was awarded to Harry Orlans, for his work at the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology in Oxford, under Robert MacLaren. His paper provides evidence for a replacement gene therapy to produce synthetic mirtrons capable of replacing rhodopsin gene mutations, which are a common cause of autosomal dominant retinitis.

Harry is an honorary research associate at the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology in Oxford, a vitreoretinal fellow at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, and a locum consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Commenting on the awards, Ian Davies, WCSM Master, said: “This year’s submissions demonstrated the real value of innovative research techniques, technology and collaboration to bring vision science into practical application.

“We already know the likely increase in demand for eye healthcare over the next 20 years. There is no doubt in my mind that the techniques and therapies being explored now will make a difference in the future, and I applaud all those whose work is making significant advances to our understanding of vision.”

Applications will open in the New Year for WCSM medal awards in 2022, via www.spectaclemakers.com