Quadriplegic Optometry Academic Graduates with a Doctorate
Left a quadriplegic after a motor vehicle accident, Dr Khathutshelo Percy Mashige did not let his serious handicap floor him.
Instead he rose up and continued with his studies being awarded a Master’s degree in Optometry (MOptom) and then a PhD of Philosophy in Health Sciences from UKZN following a clinical study which provided additional diagnostic and therapeutic tools for glaucoma in Black South Africans.
Mashige’s dissertation - titled: “A Comparative Study of Ocular Structural Dimensions that are Associated with Glaucoma in a Black South African population with healthy eyes” - measured and compared these dimensions to establish whether they can be used as additional diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. The most common type of glaucoma is most frequently found in patients of African ancestry.
The study found that the intra-session repeatability and inter-session reproducibility of the three main instruments used for data collection - Oculus Keratograph, Nidek and iVue OCT - were all within acceptable limits. Normative values for corneal and retinal parameters and their associations were established. These parameters and their associations provide information about the healthy eye and possible changes associated with ocular diseases, such as glaucoma, and may assist in developing locally relevant diagnostic and therapeutic interventions applicable to this population group.
Mashige started his academic career as a resident Optometrist at the former University of Durban-Westville and became a lecturer in 2009. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Bachelor of Optometry (BOptom) degree from the former University of Durban-Westville. He completed the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Ocular Diseases (CAS) at the New England College of Optometry.
He has completed the University Education Induction (UEIP) and Leadership Development Programmes (LDP) at UKZN Extended Learning and the coursework in Ocular Therapeutics offered by the State University of New York (SUNY) and UKZN.
Mashige was the Head of the Optometry Department from 2007 to 2013, and has served in many leadership roles at UKZN. He is a Research Director at the African Vision Research Institute (AVRI) and serves on the board of the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI).
The Limpopo-born achiever received several grants and has successfully supervised many honours, masters and PhD students. He is a regular reviewer for many national and international journals and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Ophthalmology and Optometry Research. He has presented at various conferences, and has published more than 50 articles in national and international journals.
Mashige says although he has already published nine articles nationally and internationally from his PhD, there are still some more articles he is preparing.
The determined doctor plans to register for post-doctoral studies.
Mashige was an avid sportsman prior to his accident and continues to enjoy sports and spending time with friends and family. He is proud to have a extremely supportive family who are also excited about his academic achievements.