Professor Tom Margrain
My primary research interest is macular disease, the number one cause of visual impairment in the UK. By developing new technologies capable of detecting and monitoring early age-related macular degeneration, I hope we can speed up the development of therapeutic interventions. The techniques developed in our lab are currently being used to obtain proof of concept data in early stage clinical trials. However, whilst finding a cure for macular disease is my dream, I also recognise that people who already have this condition have to cope with visual impairment and therefore I am also interested in the development of high quality rehabilitation services.
As a clinician I am passionate about clinical teaching quality. I teach our 2nd year undergraduates how to undertake an eye examination in a module called clinical studies and dispensing (OP 2101). I also teach Optometric Practice in the 3rd year and work in our Primary Care Clinics. More recently, I have taken on the role of module leader for the research module in our MSc programme.
Educational and Professional Qualifications
- 2000- MILT (Member of the Higher Education Academy).
- 1998- PhD (Visual Science) City University, London.
- 1987- MCOptom (Member of the College of Optometrists).
- 1986- BSc (Ophthalmic Optics, 2:1), Aston University.
- 2010-present - National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR), Wales Specialty Group Lead for Ophthalmology.
- 2010-present - National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Ophthalmology Speciality Group, Welsh Representative.
- 2011-present - Trial Advisor: Stepped-care to reduce depression and anxiety in visually impaired older adults - a randomized controlled trial.
- 2008-2011 - External Examiner, Undergraduate Scheme, City University, London.
- 2010-present - Reader / Director of Innovation and Engagement, Cardiff University.
- 2005-2010 - Senior Lecturer / Clinical Director, Cardiff University.
- 2000-2005 - Lecturer (B) / Clinical Director, Cardiff University.
- 1997-2000 - Lecturer (A), Cardiff University.
- 1995-1996 - Research Fellow, City University, London.
- 1993-1995 - Research Assistant, City University, London.
- 2014- Presentation - Top Doctors Conference, Macular Society, Bristol, Experimental treatments for Macular Disease.
- 2012- Presentation - Queens University Belfast Early Detection of AMD
- 2012- Presentation - City University, London Macular Disease Detection and Diagnosis
- 2012- Presentation - Singleton Hospital, Swansea. Ophthalmology Research Scoping Study
- 2011- Presentation - Eye Care Conference, Cardiff Sight Loss and Depression
- 2011- Presentation - South Wales Eye Forum Depression in Visual Impairment
- 2011- Resource - RNIB Low Vision Assessment Framework
- 2010- Presentation - Wales and West Vision Conference, Low Vision Service Models
- 2010- Presentation - School of Optics and Optometry, Terrassa, Spain, Clinical teaching of Optometry
- 2010- TV, CANAL TERRASSA, Spain, Optometry
Committees and reviewing
- 2012-present - Director of Innovation and Engagement
- 2011-present - Member of Research Committee
- 2012-present - Board of Directors
- 2012-present - Module Leader, MSc Research Programme
- 2004-present - Module Leader, BSc, Optometric Practice
Research Topics and Related Projects
The primary focus of my research is macular disease. Accounting for 57% of all visual impairment in the UK, macular disease is responsible for significant individual suffering and places a heavy burden on society.
My research revolves around two distinct areas of activity. The first is concerned with the development of biomarkers for macular disease that can be used to expedite the evaluation of novel therapeutic interventions. The second relates to the identification of effective rehabilitation interventions that can help people with advanced macular disease cope with vision loss.
Results from our lab indicated that dark adaptation, the recovery of visual function in the dark following a period of light adaptation, is a sensitive candidate biomarker for AMD. Hence we have spent the last few years refining the test protocol i.e. examining the effect of stimulus location, bleach intensity and psychophysical methods on sensitivity and specificity.
Rehabilitation research is my other passion. How can we help people with untreatable visual loss maintain their independence? My involvement in the establishment of the community based Welsh Low Vision Service was a great opportunity to evaluate a range of interventions and survey based outcome measures. The Low Vision Service Model Evaluation (LOVSME) project, supported by the RNIB, was another collaborative project examining the effectiveness of low vision services. And more recently, a group of us have begun to examine the impact of mental health status on rehabilitation outcomes. The Depression in Visual Impairment Trial (DEPVIT), funded by Guide Dogs, is evaluating 3 treatments for depression in a multicentre RCT. We hope the results will help shape future NICE guidance.
- Acton, Margrain £15,000 Evaluation of the Macular Integrity Assessment microperimeter. Fight for Sight, 2013-2014.
- Melotte, Margrain, Binns, Henry, £844,000, Imaging densitometry, National Institute of Health Research i4i Programme, 2013-2016
- Margrain & Gaffney, £5,642, Net Mobility, Guide Dogs, 2013-2015.
- Margrain, £10,000, Ophthalmology Research in Wales , National Institute of Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR), 2012.
- Margrain, Binns &Tucker, £52,254, Imaging Densitometry Cardiff Presidents Studentship Award, 2013-2016.
- Binns & Margrain, £52,254, Night Lights for AMD: a randomised controlled trial, College of Optometrists, 2012-2015.
- Binns & Margrain, £52,254 Hypoxia in age-related macular degeneration, JE Williams Endowment Studentship, 2012-2015.
- Binns & Margrain, £17,532, Evaluating Eccentric Viewing and Steady Eye Technique Training, Macular Disease Society, 2012.
- Henry D, Margrain TH, Binns A. £86,600, Development of an imaging retinal densitometer, National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), 2010-2012.
- Margrain TH, Smith DJ, Stanford M, Tudor-Edwards RT, Ryan B, Bunce C, Casten R, Hegel M. £207,000, Depression in Visual Impairment Trial (DEPVIT), Guide Dogs, 2011-2014.
- Binns AM, Margrain TH. £51,000, Early detection of age-related macular degeneration. College of Optometrists, 2008-2011.
- Margrain TH, Bunce C, Dickinson C, Harper R, Tudor-Edwards R, Binns A, Woodhouse M, Link P, Jackson J, Massof R, Wolffsohn J, Stelmack J. £58, 000,Low Vision Service Model Evaluation (LOVSME), Royal National Institute of Blind People, 2008-2009.
- Macular Research Group
- Clinical and Investigative Vision Sciences
Current research Associates / Assistants / Managers
Allannah Gaffney, Research Assistant, Net Mobility, Guide Dogs, 2013-2015.
Claire Nollett, DEPVIT Study Coordinator , Guide Dogs, 2011-2014
Julia Shearn, DEPVIT Psychological Therapist, Guide Dogs, 2012-2014
Ryre Cornish, DEPVIT Psychological Therapist, Guide Dogs, 2013-2014.
Dr Danny Smith, University of Glasgow, Depression in Visual Impairment Trial.
Dr Catey Bunce, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Evaluating Eccentric Viewing and Steady Eye Technique Training.
Prof. Miles Stanford, St Thomas Hospital, Depression in Visual Impairment Trial.
Dr Ruth van Nispen, VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. Stepped-care program in visual impairment.
Prof. Rhiannon Tudor Edwards, Bangor University, Depression in Visual Impairment Trial.
Dr Robin Casten, Jefferson Medical College, Depression in Visual Impairment Trial.
Dr Mark Hegel, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Centre, Depression in Visual Impairment Trial.
Mr David Henry, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh, Imaging Densitometry.
Prof Chris Dickinson, The University of Manchester, Low Vision Service Model Evaluation.
Dr Robert Harper, Royal Manchester Eye Hospital, Low Vision Service Model Evaluation.
Dr Robert Massof, Wilmer Eye Institute, Low Vision Service Model Evaluation.
Dr Joan Stelmack, Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital, Low Vision Service Model Evaluation.
Mr Stephen Todd, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh, Imaging Densitometry.
Mr Dave Melotte, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh, Imaging Densitometry.
Mr David Atkinson, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh, Imaging Densitometry.
Dr Lorna Marquas-Brocksopp, Guide Dogs, Net Mobility.
Prof Gary Rubin, Institute of Ophthalmology, Depression in Visual Impairment Trial.
Prof Jonathan Jackson, Australian College of Optometry, Depression in Visual Impairment Trial.
Dr Helen Prance, University of Sussex, The Electroretinogram.
Prof Tom Freeman, Cardiff University, Eye movements and ageing.