Dr Ashley Wood
I have been a lecturer within the School of Optometry & Vision Sciences since 2012. I'm an Optometrist and also a Cardiff Graduate. My main research interest involves the investigation of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) principally using objective methods, including optical coherence tomography (OCT), retinal imaging desnsitometry and ocular electrophysiology. I also have a range of teaching commitments within the school at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. I have developed and lead the 3rd year Investigative Optometry and Case studies (OP3206) module, which places a strong emphasis on clinical decision making, use of further investigative techniques and patient management. In addition I have a number of administrative responsibilities including chairing the Student Staff Panel and the Undergraduate Exams Convenor.
Education and qualifications
- 2007-11 PhD, "Retinal structure and function in Age-related Maculopathy" (Cardiff University)
- 2003-06 BSc in Optometry & Vision Science (Cardiff University)
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
- Accreditation for Eye Health Examination Wales (EHEW)
- Registered Optometrist (GOC: 01-32560)
- 2012- Lecturer, School of Optometry and Vision Science, Cardiff University
- 2011-12 Teacher, School of Optometry and Vision Science, Cardiff University
- 2010-11 Clinical Teaching Associate, School of Optometry and Vision Science, Cardiff University
- 2007-10 Clinical Demonstrator, School of Optometry and Vision Science, Cardiff University
Committees and reviewing
- Teaching & Learning Committee
- Student-Staff Panel (Chair)
- Undergraduate Board of Studies
- Examinations Committee
- Assessment & Feedback Committee
- Exams Convenor
- Deputy Unfair Practice Co-ordinator
- Student Representative Co-ordinator
- Peer-review Co-ordinator
- Student communication Champion
My teaching responsibilities include delivery of the colour vision lecture series and supporting clinical sessions, Pharmacology laboratory sessions and supervision of 3rd year research projects. I lead the Investigative Optometry and Case Studies module (OP3206), a 3rd year module that has a strong emphasis on evidence based clinical decision making and use of further investigative techniques, such as Gonioscopy and OCT. This module includes session with a small group teaching format, which facilitates detailed discussion of case records and tutoring in the performance of further investigative techniques. This module also supports the development of critical appraisal, reflective practice and independent learning skills.
At the postgraduate level I currently supervise two research students. I am involved in delivery of content on the MSc Clinical Optometry course and the supervision of MSc student projects for the Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC).
I also have non-UK teaching experience, including participating in a collaboration with HU University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, Netherlands to provide the "Eye Care and Diabetes; the Bigger Picture" annual summer school for a number of years.
BSc Optometry & Vision Science Course
OP3206 - Investigative Optometry & Case Studies
- OP3107 Research Projects
- OP3206 Investigative Optometry & Case Studies
- OP2206 Colour Vision & Perception
- OP2205 Ocular Pharmacology
- OP0205 Introductory Optometry
My primary research interests stems from the aim of improving the detection monitoring of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), currently the leading cause of vision loss and in the European Union, and ultimately supporting the development of better treatments for this condition. My work has focused on objective methods of assessing disease, with experience in Optical Coherence Tomography, ocular electrophysiology and most recently mulit-spectral imaging densitometry. I'm currently involved in a number of projects that are workind towards this aim, ultimately my hope is that that this research will make a contribution to the prevention of vision loss due to this widespread and debilitating of disease.
I'm also interested in improving clinical teaching, colour vision testing and clinical imaging.
Electrophysiology is the study of the tiny electrical signals produced by the cells that make up our bodies which can be recorded using sensitive electrodes. The electroretinogram (ERG) is one such electrophysiology technique recorded from the eye, the ERG waveform (see figure 1) represents the combined electrical responses of cells within the retina when exposed to light. Changes to the shape of the waveform can tell us how the retina is being affected by disease.
Recently I have been working on ways to improve the detection and monitoring of disease using the "Focal Cone ERG", an approach which uses a small "focal" target that only produced an ERG from the central retina affected by AMD. My recent publication (Wood at al., 2014) describes two new approaches utilising calculus and the Fourier power spectrum to provide measures (parameters) that are sensitive to the disease.
One of the biggest advances in retinal imaging in recent years has been optical coherence tomography which produces high resolution 3D images of the back of the eye (see figure 3). This technology has revolutionised the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of retinal disease, not just AMD.
My work currently involves using a prototype long wavelength OCT device. The longer wavelength imaging laser enables the layer of blood vessels directly beneath the retina called the Choroid to be seen, which is not possible on most commercially available OCT devices (see figure 4). Furthermore, as the long wavelength imaging laser is beyond the visible spectrum it provides the opportunity to images the retina under dark adapted conditions.
Previously, I have used long wavelength OCT to investigate the thickness of the retina and choroid in early AMD (Wood et al., 2011). My PhD student (Louise Terry) is now using this technology to investigate the choroidal vessel structure in age-related macular degeneration, specifically to identify methods to describe and quantifying the vessel structure, with the aim of identifying potential choroidal biomarkers to monitor or predict disease progression.
Given the ability to image the retina in the dark adapted state, I am also investigating ways of utilising this technology to further our understanding of both physiological and pathological changes in the dark adapted eye.
- ISCEV Travel award (2012) €500
- CUROP Summer Studentship (2015) £1,080
- CUROP Summer Studentship (2016) £1,200
- Abbeyfield Research Foundation PhD Studentship (2016) £72,663
- Macular Research Group
- Dr. Alison Binns, City University, London.
- Mr Ayed Al-Bermani, University Hospital Wales, Cardiff.
- Miss Louise Terry "An in vivo investigation of choroidal vasculature in Age-related Macular Degeneration" (completion expected 2016)
- Mr Chris Jones " " (completion expected 2016)