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Facilities and equipment

Opto research

Our purpose-built optometry and vision sciences centre is equipped with a wide range of outstanding facilities.

Within our School, the Translational Research Facility (TRF) houses laboratories dedicated to studies of human vision and visual neuroscience (such as psychophysics, ocular imaging, and electrophysiology).

The Clinical Education and Research Facility (CERF) and the Cardiff University Eye Clinic, both contained within the School, offer bespoke testing areas for clinical examination of research participants. We also have multiple, fully-equipped biomedical wet laboratories in which cellular, molecular, and structural biophysics research is undertaken.

The School of Optometry and Vision Sciences is able to provide an excellent service and an excellent focus for the future of eye care in Wales.I believe that the facility is a beacon not only for Wales but also for the UK, Europe and the World.

Ruth Marks Director, RNIB Cymru

Some of the highly specialised equipment and facilities used in our research includes:

Vision Science Bioimaging Labs (VSBL)

VSBL is a collaborative bioimaging lab that engages with researchers across Cardiff University and beyond, and provides access to state-of-the-art bioimaging facilities and expertise in digital image management and analysis. VSBL welcome enquiries from potential collaborators.

Read more about Vision Science Bioimaging Labs (VSBL)

Electron microscopes

We use electron microscopes for studying proteins and other molecules in the eye at very high magnification (up to x 50,000). We have a comprehensive suite set of three Zeiss and Jeol Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopes including a 200KV Transmission machine.

The Jeol 3View serial block face Scanning Electron Microscope allows high magnification imaging of tissue in 3 dimensions.This is one of only a few such machines in the UK that is dedicated to eye research. It allows us to understand three-dimensional structures of tissues, which hopefully will help to drive new treatments for eye diseases. Our Structural Biophysics research group page has a number of videos demonstrating the techniques used to view three-dimensional structures of ocular tissues using the Jeol 3View.

Synchrotron x-ray diffraction

Students and staff of the School make frequent use of national Synchrotron Radiation Facilities throughout Europe, and as far afield as Japan. The very intense x-ray beams produced at these facilities can be used for the structural analysis of biological tissue.

We use x-ray scattering techniques to investigate the structural basis for the transparency and focusing power of the cornea and lens, and to examine the structural changes associated with ocular pathology and ageing.

Tissue and organ culture facilities

Our School also benefits from extensive tissue and organ culture laboratories and facilities, containing extensometers and spectrophotometers, for the optical and mechanical testing of tissue.

This technology includes a Phoenix Micron OCT/ERG system which provides in vivo high-resolution portable retinal imaging (OCT, retinal photography, fluorescence imaging. In addition, the BIOCAM X large-scale Microelectrode Array (4096 channels) electrophysiological monitoring system is used to probe retinal and brain physiology in vitro.