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Dr Margaret Woodhouse

Dr Margaret Woodhouse

Senior Lecturer, Head of the Down’s Syndrome Vision Research Unit

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences

+44 29208 76522
+44 (0)29 2087 4859
Media commentator


Research Interests

My main interests are visual development in children with Downs syndrome and the eye care needs of children and adults with disabilities. I am also interested in how visual impairment affects education and daily living skills.

I have already designed test, such as the Cardiff Acuity Test, Cardiff Contrast Test and Cardiff Near Test, for this purpose. My colleagues and I continue our long-term study of visual and cognitive development in infants and young children with Down's Syndrome, who are at particular risk of eye defects. My other interests are the aetiology of refractive and accommodative defects, and the impact of visual impairment on a child's development and education.

Teaching Overview

On the undergraduate course, I am module leader for OP3103, Binocular Vision and Special Needs For post-graduates, I am joint module leader for OPT006 Paediatric Eye Care (Theory), OPT033 Paediatric Eye Care (Practical), OPT033 Advanced Paediatric Eye Care and for OPT007 Eye Care for People with Learning Disabilities.


Educational and Professional Qualifications

  • Oct 1971 - Sept 1974 Research Student, Physiological Laboratory, University of Cambridge, PhD awarded 1975.   Supervisor, F.W. Campbell
  • Aug 1970 - Sept 1971 Pre-registration year at Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, leading to Professional Qualifying Examinations in Ophthalmic Optics and registration with General Optical Council.
  • Oct 1967 - June 1970 BSc First Class Hons, in Ophthalmic Optics, University of Aston in Birmingham.

Honours and awards

  • 2018 - Queen's Anniversary Award for Research
  • 2015 - Lifetime Achievement Award, Association of Optical Practitioners
  • 2014 - OBE for services to Optometry and people with disabilities
  • 2013 - Shortlisted, Healthcare in Autism Awards (for clinic, with Andy Millington and Mike George)
  • 2012 - Shortlisted for Lecturer of the Year, AOP Awards
  • 2012 - Highly commended, Lifetime Achievement, Understanding Disability Awards
  • 1995 - Owen Aves Memorial Medal, Yorkshire Optical Society 1995 (first female recipient).

Academic positions

  • Oct 1974 - present Lecturer, promoted to Senior Lecturer
  • October 1993 Department of Optometry, UWIST, now School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University.

Speaking engagements

Too many to mention!

Several talks every year to Local Optometric meetings, to Down's syndrome support groups and training days for RNIB, for QTVIs etc.

Committees and reviewing

  • Academic Misconduct Co-ordinator (UG and PG)
  • Fitness to Practice Officer

External Committees

  • 2012 -   present   Member, Clinical Expert Panel, EyeCare Trust
  • 2007 -   present   Member, Science, Research and Practice Advisory Board to Down Syndrome Educational Trust, UK
  • 2006 -   present. Advisor, Downs Syndrome Medical Interest Group
  • 2006 -   present. Advisor, Downs Syndrome Association
  • 2006 -   present Member, Experts group, SeeAbility





















Research Topics and Related Projects

  • Visual development and visual deficits in children and young people with Downs syndrome
  • Corneal characteristics in children and adults with Downs syndrome
  • Measuring and diagnosing eye movement deficits in children
  • Nystagmus: the impact on vision and visual functioning
  • The eye care requirements of children with special needs


Research Collaborators

I work in collaboration with Jon Erichsen (of this School) and Cathy Williams (of Bristol Eye Hospital) on studies of nystagmus and eye movement measurement, and with Barbara Ryan (of this School) on eye care in children with special needs.