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We undertake research at the forefront of vision sciences that delivers advances in knowledge, impact in clinical practice, and improvements in quality of life.

Research at our School has had a wide range of fascinating real-life applications and has made a positive and lasting impact on the lives of people affected with vision disorders.

Our Down’s Syndrome Vision Research Unit led by Dr Maggie Woodhouse OBE, was awarded the UK’s most prestigious academic award – a Queen’s Anniversary Prize – for its pioneering research and treatment of vision problems in children with Down’s syndrome.

We also collaborate with leading vision science researchers in Osaka University in Japan on fighting sight loss through corneal stem cell research. In addition, we are facilitating the detection, diagnosis and treatment for a range of genetic and neurodegenerative conditions such as nystagmus and myopia.

Optometry researcher

Our research is focussed around four themes:

Our research falls into two types of activity:

  • Fundamental lab-based scientific experimentation on the eye and visual system
  • Clinical patient-based research.

Fundamental lab-based scientific experimentation on the eye and visual system

We are studying new investigative technologies and machines for recording visual function to improve the detection of visual problems and to enhance the quality of life for those with visual defects.

Our lab-based research is mainly in the fields of structural biology, cell biology (including cell culture), and neurosciences. A significant portion involves light and electron microscopy.

Clinical patient-based research

Our academics work with volunteers focusing on visual performance including electrophysiological, neurological, behavioural and societal influences on vision. We also work with in-patients to research pathogenesis of eye disease.


Our academics work with researchers from other Schools within the University as well with other businesses and institutions such as Bristol University and the GW4 (Great Western 4) Alliance, which encompasses the universities of Bath and Exeter. This includes working with other academics at the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair where researchers are investigating corneal transparency, repair and tissue engineering, and the regulation of angiogenesis. We are also very active on the international stage, and collaborate with leading universities in mainland Europe, India, the USA and Japan.

Research quality

In the 2014 REF (Research Excellence Framework) the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences was assessed as part of the 'Allied Health' unit of assessment, which was ranked 4th in the UK with an environmental ranking of 100%, and with 90% of researched deemed "outstanding" in terms of its impact.

Postgraduate research

Our postgraduate research programme provides opportunities for students to gain experience working with world-renowned research leaders, their teams and their collaborators, and hopefully gain the skills necessary to pursue an academic career on completion.