Noha Mamdouh Mohamed Soliman, PhD Ophthalmology
1. Tell us more about your background, for example your education/career so far.
I have professionally trained and graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Medical University of Bahrain (RCSI-MUB) in 2015. Following the completion of my bachelor’s degree and my internship, I was accepted as an Ophthalmology trainee in the Kobry El-Kobba Military Medical complex. Then I was accepted at University College London (UCL) to do my Master’s degree, in which I was awarded distinction and was in The Dean’s list. I was offered a full studentship to fund my PhD through the support of Moorfields Eye Charity. I am currently a PhD student at UCL and running my clinical trial at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
2. Why did you choose to apply to the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology for your PhD?
The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is closely affiliated with Moorfields Eye Hospital, both of which are home to centres of research, teaching and training excellence in ophthalmology.
3. Tell us a bit about the research work you’re doing now.
Disfigurement caused by losing an eye due to an eye cancer such as retinoblastoma, trauma or infection can impact the physical and psychological health of the patient. Using an artificial eye promptly to replace the lost eye is crucial to encourage rehabilitation. The process to supply artificial eyes to patients has remained relatively unchanged for over 50 years. Current practice uses invasive methods of impression moulding and depends on the artesian skills of the ocularists to craft an artificial eye by hand and intricately hand paint an iris to replicate the patient’s remaining eye. The process of handcrafting an artificial eye is time consuming and it can result in a wait of several months, exacerbating what is already a stressful time for the patients. This has triggered the importance to harness new technology to engineer a better approach to deliver a quick, non-invasive solution. At Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, we are currently conducting the ‘Click2Print Artificial Eyes’ clinical trial, which looks at producing 3D printed artificial eyes via non-invasive fully digital methods. Our novel technology uses a device known as the anterior segment-optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) and a 3D printer. The AS-OCT device, which is safe, is used to scan the eye socket and take an image of the fellow eye non-invasively. This unique data is further processed using software and will serve as a template to manufacture the artificial eye using the 3D printer. The 3D artificial eye is then polished, adjusted and fitted in the eye socket by the ocularists. Utilizing leading-edge 3D printing technologies, the manufacturing process of the 3D printed artificial eyes will significantly speed up production and provide patients with a quicker and less invasive experience. The aim of this clinical trial is to prove that the 3D printed artificial eyes are non-inferior to the handmade artificial eyes in terms of the cosmesis, motility and overall fit and function.
4. What have you enjoyed most about your time at UCL so far?
Interacting with my fellow colleagues and discussing interesting topics.
5. What are your future career goals?
To be a consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon who specialises in Ocular Oncology and a researcher who runs her own clinical trials.
6. What would be your top tip for incoming PhD students?
Use your time wisely. Work hard but don’t forget to enjoy your life. I would be happy to help answer any questions from experience or if you may need advice, no matter what step you are in within your journey towards academic studies, potentially at UCL, feel free to drop me a message and I will share my knowledge and experiences to the best that I can and give you an insight to help you! Good luck for the future!
These are my social media accounts:
- Facebook: Noha Soliman
- Twitter: @DrNohaMS
- Instagram: noha.m.soliman