Dr Renita Maria Martis

Doctorate in Philosophy (Optometry), Bachelor of Optometry and Vision Sciences (Hons)


Renita Martis is an optometrist and postdoctoral research fellow who is currently investigating oxidative changes in the eye post-cataract surgery and vitrectomy. She graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Optometry (First-class Honours), practised as a general optometrist before returning to undertake a PhD with Dr Julie Lim and Professor Paul Donaldson. She is currently part of the MVL and using her optometry background, she is looking to translate the basic research conducted in the lab towards clinical research. She also supervises at the University Optometry Clinic. 


Research | Current

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Auckland


Project Title: MRI as a non-invasive tool to detect changes in the lens and vitreous humour to delay the onset of
secondary eye disease. 

The eye relies on antioxidants from the lens and vitreous humour to maintain health and good vision. The removal of the cataractous lens during cataract surgery and vitreous humour during vitrectomy results in a loss of these antioxidant reserves and an increase in oxygen levels in the eye leading to secondary-eye disease. This project aims to develop an MRI  protocol to investigate the molecular and structural changes that occur in the eye post-surgery. A major impact of this project is the development of post-cataract or post-vitrectomy treatments to minimise oxygen levels and enhance antioxidant levels in the eye and improve vision outcomes for our ageing population.


Doctorate of Philosophy in Optometry and Vision Sciences, University of Auckland

2014-2019       Supervisors: Professor Paul J Donaldson and Dr Julie C Lim 

Thesis title:  The role of the cystine/glutamate transporter in mouse ocular tissues

This project investigated the functions of the cystine/glutamate antiporter in various ocular tissues and its role in minimising the oxidative stress and damage in the eye. Oxidative stress and damage is well known to be responsible for the onset of age-related eye disease such as cataract and macular degeneration that cause blindness. 


BOptom Part IV Honours Research, Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, University of Auckland

2011-2012         Supervisor: Dr Nicola Anstice

This project investigated the current management and treatment of congenital esotropia. Esotropia is known to affect 1-2% of the population. Analysing case studies confirmed that a timely diagnosis, appropriate surgical alignment, and duration of the alignment results in a good visual prognosis.


Teaching | Current



2017 HealtheX Second Runner-up Doctoral Oral Presentation Award

2017 Academic Career Exploration Scholarship

2017 HC Russell Memorial Postgraduate Scholarship 

2016/2017 HOPE Selwyn Foundation Scholarship in Ageing Research 

2015 Young Investigator Travel Award - ICL 

2014 Biomedical Imaging Research Unit- Confocal Microscopy BIRU award

2014 The University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship 

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Post-doc Society (PDS)

Faculty of Medical and Health Science Postgraduate Student Association Committee

New Zealand Association of Optometrists

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Martis, R. M., Donaldson, P. J., & Lim, J. C. (2020). Corneal opacities in mice exposed to repeated contact procedures during ocular examinations. Clinical & experimental optometry, 103 (3), 307-311. 10.1111/cxo.12934
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Paul Donaldson, Julie Lim
  • Martis, R. M., Knight, L. J., Donaldson, P. J., & Lim, J. C. (2020). Identification, Expression, and Roles of the Cystine/Glutamate Antiporter in Ocular Tissues. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 202010.1155/2020/4594606
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Paul Donaldson, Julie Lim, Luis Knight
  • Martis, R. M., Donaldson, P. J., Li, B., Middleditch, M., Kallingappa, P. K., & Lim, J. C. (2019). Mapping of the cystine-glutamate exchanger in the mouse eye: a role for xCT in controlling extracellular redox balance. Histochemistry and cell biology, 152 (4), 293-310. 10.1007/s00418-019-01805-4
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Julie Lim, Prasanna Kallingappa, Paul Donaldson
  • Martis, R. M. (2019). The role of the cystine/glutamate antiporter in mouse ocular tissues The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
  • Lim, J. C., Vorontsova, I., Martis, R. M., & Donaldson, P. J. (2017). Animal models in cataract research. In P. M. Conn (Ed.) Animal models for the study of human disease (pp. 103-116). London, United Kingdom: Academic Press. 10.1016/B978-0-12-809468-6.00004-8
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Julie Lim, Paul Donaldson

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
Level 4, Room 401
New Zealand