AKILESH GOKUL
Biography

Akilesh Gokul (Aki) is a therapeutically qualified Optometrist, specializing in keratoconus.

Aki graduated from the University Of Auckland Bachelor Of Optometry with First Class Honours. Throughout his undergraduate study, Aki was always intrigued by the multitude of ways in which a person’s vision can be affected by the wide range of eye conditions and while our ability to treat many of these conditions has progressed immensely, there are still many short comings. This inspired Aki to undertake novel research, in order to further his knowledge on eye conditions and develop new, more effective treatments, in turn contributing to the wider community of Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in New Zealand and around the world. Aki began his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Auckland in 2013. Supervised by, Professor Charles McGhee and Associate Professor Dipika Patel, a world renowned team of researchers specializing in anterior eye conditions. Aki’s PhD is focused on keratoconus, particularly the epidemiology, characterizing how the condition progresses and halting or slowing down progression of the condition through a procedure called corneal collagen cross-linking.

With Mortimer Hirst sporting some of the best keratoconus specialists in New Zealand and around the world, Aki was ecstatic to join the team. Mortimer Hirst is also invested in furthering ophthalmic research in New Zealand, currently the only practice in New Zealand chosen for a clinical research outreach programme for final year optometry students and for the recently established Clinical Master of Science in Optometry degree in contact lenses from the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Auckland (SOVS). In addition Mortimer Hirst is in collaboration with the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Auckland, on several research projects, some of which make up part of Aki’s PhD.

Aki has had the privilege to undertake his doctoral studies through several scholarships awarded on academic merit including the University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship and New Zealand Association of Optometrists Post Graduate Scholarship, in addition to an undergraduate University of Auckland Summer Studentship.

Aki is passionate about training the future generation of Optometrists and Physicians in the many facets of eyecare. He is currently involved in teaching the undergraduate laboratories in the Bachelor of Optometry (BOptom) programme and ran the Binocular Vision specialty clinic at the University of Auckland in 2013. Aki is involved in teaching the theoretical and practical aspects of eye disease under the Ophthalmology section of the special senses module of the part III and V Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBCHB) programme at the University of Auckland.

In addition to conducting general optometric services such as eye examinations, visual screening, children’s vision, specialty contact lens care for Keratoconus and OrthoK (Orthokeratology), Aki’s interest in anterior segment eye disease extends from primary care at Mortimer Hirst to tertiary care both in the public system at the Ophthalmology Department at Greenlane Clinical Centre and Professor Charles McGhee’s private clinics at Eye Institute. These clinics involve a vast array of anterior segment conditions and their management, as well as a specialty corneal collagen cross-linking (a procedure now routinely carried out to slow down or halt the progression of keratoconus) clinic, which forms a large part of Aki’s PhD.

Aki has had some of his research accepted for peer reviewed publication with several more expected to be accepted in the near future. He also published in the “Eye’s on Ophthalmology” section of NZ Optics, educating Optometrists and Ophthalmologist alike on advances in anterior segment research and treatment.

Overview

  • 2013 – Graduate BOptom with first class honours.
  • 2013 – Conducted Binocular Vision specialty clinic at the University of Auckland.
  • 2013 to Present – Teaching in undergraduate laboratories in the Bachelor of Optometry (BOptom) programme at University of Auckland.
  • 2013 to Present – Teaching in Ophthalmology section of the special senses module of the part III and V Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBCHB) programme at the University of Auckland.
  • 2014 - NZ Optics Eyes on Ophthalmology article November issue – Seeking completeness: update on the current clinical perspectives of Keratoconus.
  • 2015 - NZ Optics Eyes on Ophthalmology article August issue – Update on Corneal Collagen Cross-linking.

Presentations at Scientific Conferences:

  • Toric IOL‘s: Optical Consequences of Misalignment. 
    • Save Sight Society Spring Symposium 2014.
  • Urrets-Zavalia Syndrome and its Management. 
    • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists Annual Scientific Congress –New Zealand Branch Meeting 2014.
  • The Aotearoa Research into Keratoconus (ARK) Study: Part I – Epidemiology, Demographics and Clinical Characteristics of Keratoconus in New Zealand – Preliminary Data.
    • Cornea and Contact Lens Society of New Zealand Annual Conference 2014 & 2015. 
    • New Zealand Association of Optometrists Annual Conference 2014.
    • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists Annual Scientific Congress 2014 & 2015.
    • Presented as a poster at:
        • World Cornea Congress VII – San Diego, California, USA, 2015.
        • Save Sight Society Spring Symposium 2015 – Won Best Poster.

         

  • A 160-Year Pursuit: Recount and Comparison of Nottingham’s Treatise on Conical Cornea to Current Knowledge on Keratoconus.
  • A Little Rough Around the Edges: Correcting extreme astigmatism due to ectasia of the graft-host junction following penetrating keratoplasty for keratoconus.
    • Save Sight Society Spring Symposium 2015.

Recent Peer Reviewed Publications:

  • Gokul, A., Krishnan, T., Emanuel, P. O., Saunders, M., & McGhee, C. N. (2015). Persisting extreme acute corneal hydrops with a giant intrastromal cleft secondary to keratoconus. Clinical & Experimental Optometry, 98(5), 483-486.
  • Wang, M. T., Gokul, A., & Craig, J. P. (2015). Temperature profiles of patient-applied eyelid warming therapies. Contact Lens & Anterior Eye: The Journal of the British Contact Lens Association, 38(6), 430-434.
  • Vellara, H. R., Ali, N. Q., Gokul, A., Turuwhenua, J., Patel, D. V., & McGhee, C. N. (2015). Quantitative Analysis of Corneal Energy Dissipation and Corneal and Orbital Deformation in Response to an Air-Pulse in Healthy Eyes. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 56(11), 6941-6947.

Recommended web sites

www.mortimerhirst.co.nz
Mortimer Hirst’s web site.

www.orthok.co.nz
Orthokeratology web site.

grantwatters.co.nz
Grant Watters' web site.

kerryatkinson.co.nz
Kerry Atkinson's web site.

varnyganesalingam.co.nz
Varny Ganesalingam's web site.

emilielangley.co.nz
Emilie Langley's web site.