Dr Hans Vellara is a therapeutically qualified optometrist, with a special interest in advanced contact lens fitting, including orthokeratology (Ortho-K) for myopia control and keratoconus, as well as dry eye management. Hans holds a Bachelor of Optometry (Hons) from The University of Auckland. From a very young age, Hans loved to tinker with technology. This passion was nurtured throughout his undergraduate study as the optometry degree involves learning about and using numerous diagnostic devices (affectionately referred to as “toys” by Hans). Hans then decided to foster this passion for the latest ophthalmic technology further by undertaking a PhD. 

Hans began his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the Department of Ophthalmology at The University of Auckland in 2014, supervised by Professor Dipika Patel, Professor Charles McGhee, and Dr Hussain Patel; a world-renowned team of researchers and clinicians specialising in corneal diseases and glaucoma. Hans’ PhD was ground-breaking, working with one of the first and only devices that can assess the biomechanical properties of the eye in a living person – called the CorVis ST. Hans’ PhD focused on the biomechanics of the eye in diseases including, keratoconus, glaucoma and diabetes. This included the development of tools to critically analyse algorithms to diagnose keratoconus and the biomechanical effects of corneal crosslinking (a treatment for keratoconus that strengthens the cornea to prevent further disease progression). 

Hans’ PhD also entailed working at a tertiary care level 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 involved managing a vast array of anterior segment conditions, including post-surgical care of corneal transplantations and other eye surgery, as well as a specialty corneal crosslinking clinic.

Hans had the privilege to undertake his doctoral studies through several scholarships awarded on academic merit including the University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship, the New Zealand Association of Optometrists Post Graduate Scholarship, the Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust and the Sir John Logan Campbell Medical Trust scholarships, and J&CM Research Fellow fund. Hans received several prizes for presentations on his research including; Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists Vision Science Presentation Award - 1stplace, HealthEx - 2nd and 3rd place and Exposure Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Oral Presentations - 2nd place. He submitted his doctoral thesis in 2017 and passed the oral exam in 2018 and was awarded his PhD in 2019. 

Hans prides himself on being a jack of all trades when it comes to eye health care. He has developed a wide array of skills from a varied and globetrotting career. During his PhD, Hans also worked with Fred Hollows Foundation, investigating the effect of diabetes on cataract surgery outcomes in the Pacific Islands. After submitting his PhD thesis in 2017, Hans decided to travel and work across Australia and New Zealand as a locum Optometrist, refining his approach to optometry along the way. This taught him to practice very efficiently no matter what situation he found himself in and gave him the ability to understand people from all walks of life. His work with the Fred Hollows Foundation inspired him to continue his volunteer work, using his skills help people in remote and improvised areas in Fiji, Nepal, and India. Through-out his travel he always continued to be involved in research though his colleagues back in Auckland. Hans has been an author/co-author for more than 15 publications and given over 20 presentations both nationally and internationally. 

Hans has a passion for contact lens fitting, having completed the Certificate in Advanced Contact Lenses through The Australian College of Optometry (ACO-CACL). He now relishes the challenges posed by fitting advanced contact lenses, including; Ortho-K and the wide array of contact lens options for keratoconus. Hans also has an interest in dry eye management, including the use of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to treat meibomian gland dysfunction, in addition to conducting general optometric services.

Hans was thrilled to join the Mortimer Hirst team in 2020, bringing a unique perspective to an already varied and impressive team of Optometry specialists. Hans would love the opportunity to work with you and your family to improve your visual function, get you the best optical correction, or discuss how he could slow the progression of your or your child’s myopia.