Rouse Awards – Florence Clark’s research into the delivery of topical eye medication
11 Oct 2018
Florence Clark (Upper Sixth) earned the Rouse Awards essay prize with her investigation into optimising the delivery of topical eye medication to dogs.
As part of her research, she carried out tests with the help of David Williams, associate lecturer in veterinary ophthalmology at The Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, after meeting him while taking part in a VetCam residential course at Cambridge University last year.
Florence said: “David asked if I needed a research project. We talked about this problem that eye drops are too big for the eye to hold and how we were going to work it out.
“The first stage in the lab was just putting drops on to really accurate scales to work out if the way we were altering the drop was making a significant difference. Then we looked at dogs and using tropicamide to dilate the pupil and whether you can get the same amount of dilation using less of the drug. Also, whether the time it takes for the pupil to go back to its original size is any different.
“We found that we were able to reduce the drops to a third of the size, which we proved using lots of statistical tests, and we found the eye would still dilate to the same size using less of the drug.
We didn’t prove our third hypothesis where we thought the eye would undilate quicker as it still took the same amount of time to return to its original size. However, it worked out well anyway because if you’re taking medication for your eye, you want it to last the same amount of time or you have to use it more frequently.
“The research took about a year and I’m hoping to submit the findings to an academic journal next year. I’m really happy to have won the Rouse Award because I put so much effort into it. It was a really nice surprise.”
Florence’s Rouse Awards project has now been submitted by Cambridge University as a research abstract for presentation at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association Annual Congress in April 2019. A brilliant achievement for a Sixth Form student as this is something only undertaken by postgraduate students.
Listen to Florence talk more about what she gained from her research and why she wants to become a vet below.
The Rouse Awards are generously sponsored by Alan and Valerie Hirzel.