Prof Christine Purslow
I was born and educated in the North West of England and commenced my studies in optometry at Aston University, Birmingham in 1988, graduating in 1991 with a First Class Honours degree. I completed my pre-registration year at Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, becoming a Member of the College of Optometrists in July 1992. Following registration I went into private practice in Liverpool for a small group, and then relocated to the South West to work as a contact lens practitioner/ optometrist for in Bath and Bristol. I then worked for a 3-practice independent optician in and around Gloucestershire for several years. A variety of clinical roles followed: my career divided between sessional work at Hereford Eye Hospital, sessional clinical teaching at Aston University, and private practice work. At that time I was also treasurer for Herefordshire Local Optometric Committee.
I returned to Aston University in 2001 as a clinical demonstrator, and in 2005, I was awarded a PhD for my thesis entitled ‘Dynamic Ocular thermography of the Anterior Eye’. I took up my lectureship at Cardiff in April 2005. I have a teaching certificate for Higher Education and am a fellow of both the IACLE (International Association of Contact Lens Educators) and BCLA (British Contact lens Association).
In 2008, I led the research team from Optometry at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, entitled “Why do we blink?”.
I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Cardiff in 2010, and now direct Postgraduate Taught Programmes, amongst my other roles in undergraduate teaching, research and admissions duties. I currently supervise two full-time and four part-time PhD students.
I am a Director of the Contact Lens and Anterior Eye Research Unit (CLAER), which includes members of staff from different disciplines within the School and several postgraduate researchers. The CLAER Unit has its own laboratories and clinical facility plus access to a wider range of facilities that include cell culture, protein assay and analysis, and microscopy.
My research interests centre on the ocular surface and tear film: particularly the effects of contact lens wear, cosmetics and ocular cross-infection. Many of our projects in CLAER have focused on the development and application of new clinical tests for the tear film.
I have used infrared thermal imaging extensively to look at the thermal profile across the ocular surface during blinking and contact lens wear. An investigation into the effect of contact lens wear on ocular surface temperature was awarded the ‘Da Vinci’ prize from the British Contact lens Association (BCLA), and in 2007 I was invited to give the Irving Fatt Memorial Award Keynote lecture in recognition of outstanding contribution to the field of contact lenses and anterior eye.
Most recently, my interests have centred on inflammatory markers within tear film samples, and migration of products across the lid margin into the tear film. I am also interested in assessing the in vivo performance of different contact lens materials and designs within our clinical research facilities, both with rigid and soft contact lenses, and relating such findings to developmental research in materials.
As an optometrist, I am also interested in assessment of visual function in children and adults, particularly with respect to evidence-based care. This compliments the passion I have for research-led teaching and making sure what we do as optometrists has solid foundations.
In addition to my lecturer responsibilities, I am Director Of Innovation and Engagement for the School. In this role I am responsible for the outreach activities of the School and regularly participate in activities for school children around South Wales.
I am also very interested in the provision of postgraduate education for optometrists, for the development of the profession.