Vision 2017 Board

Prof. dr. Ger van Rens, chair                                                                                      


Ger H.M.B. van Rens, age 60, has been a professor of ophthalmology for 16 years at the VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam, the Netherlands in the field of the blind and visually disabled, an extraordinary chair on behalf of the “Royal Dutch Visio”.

From august 2008 until 2014, he was the president of the International Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation, now being an ex-office board member. Currently he represents the Dutch society of ophthalmology in the International Council of Ophthalmology and is a member of the advisory committee. Also, he is a member of the task force of the group “Vision” of the World Health Organization to develop the new ICD 11 and a member of the scientific advice committee of the Dutch macular degeneration society.

His scientific work focuses on quality of life of visually impaired people. He (co-) authored over 90 international and 55 national scientific articles and chapters, mainly on low vision. In the past, he guided 8 PhD students and today, under his leadership 6 PhD students, one postdoctoral researcher and research assistants are involved in research on low vision topics.


Dr. Ruth van Nispen, secretary


Ruth M.A. van Nispen, PhD, is an assistant professor at the department of ophthalmology and Amsterdam Public Health research institute of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam the Netherlands. She has a background in psychology (MA) and epidemiology (MSc). She obtained a PhD degree in 2009 from the Faculty of Medicine of the VU University on the topic of longitudinal measurement of the older patient’s vision-related quality of life.

Together with prof. Ger van Rens, she manages the Low Vision Research group which consists of PhD candidates, junior researchers, postdocs and medical students. She has published over 50 papers in international peer-reviewed journals for example on the topics of evidence based rehabilitation for the visually impaired, psychological functioning and psychometric studies on vision-related quality of life, reading and participation. Currently, Ruth is an ISLRR board member and chairs the Dutch Society for Rehabilitation of the Visually Impaired. The focus of her research is on enhancing care in the field of low vision rehabilitation, in order to improve participation and quality of life of severely visually impaired patients.

Apart from research, Ruth coordinates education and scientific internships at the ophthalmology department for medical students and chairs the PhD committee of the Amsterdam Public Health research institute on behalf of the VUmc.


Dr. Bart Melis-Dankers, treasurer


Bart Melis-Dankers is born in the Netherlands in 1968. He studied physics at the University of Nijmegen. Bart graduated on the topic of The Influence of Visual Information on Postural Control. In 1996 he obtained a PhD-degree in Medical and Biophysics on Plasticity and Kinematic Constraints in 3-D Eye-Head Control.

Bart is currently working as a Clinical Physicist for Royal Dutch Visio, Centre of expertise for blind and partially sighted people. Visio supports visually impaired and blind people to achieve their individual goals in independent living, learning, and working.

Bart is involved in several scientific research projects, mainly together with dr. Joost Heutink, prof. Wiebo Brouwer, prof. Oliver Tucha, prof. Karel Brookhuis and prof. Dick de Waard of the University of Groningen. These projects focus on Orientation and Mobility for people with a visual impairment in general, with a specialization in participation in slow and fast motorized traffic. He was project leader on the implementation of the first Bioptic Driving Program in Europe. Other projects focus on cycling, lighting advice, Shared Space and the general accessibility of the build environment for blind and partially sighted people.