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Dr Jennifer Acton

Dr Jennifer Acton

Senior Admissions Tutor, Lecturer

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences

+44 (0)29 2087 0203
+44 (0)29 2087 4859
Room 3.03, Optometry Building, Maindy Road
Media commentator

Research overview

My interests include clinical research and population health.  Specific areas involve measures of visual function in visual system disorders.  In particular, I am interested in the investigation of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), in terms of monitoring the progression of visual loss, using functional and imaging techniques.  Recent studies have evaluated the use of microperimetry with a focus on clinical interpretation with respect to normative data.  Current work includes the assessment of the relationship between vision-related quality of life outcomes with clinical measures such as microperimetry, in AMD and an evaluation of the role of microperimetry in nystagmus.  I am also interested in population health research relating to vision impairment and emergency eye care.  Recent projects have examined the outcomes of vision rehabiliation.     

Teaching overview

My teaching duties include the role of module leader for the "Ocular Pharmacology" module for the second year undergraduate students. I am responsible for organising the course, designing the structure of the course and writing and delivering the lectures and practical sessions. I also supervise in the second year undergraduate "Investigative Techniques Clinics".


  • 2010- PhD (Vision Sciences) Aston University, Birmingham, UK
  • 2001- BSc Optometry, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Professional memberships

  • 2002- present     Member of the College of Optometrists (MCOptom), College of Optometrists, London, UK
  • 2014- present     Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) 

Academic positions

  • 2012-Present - Lecturer, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • 2012-2012 - Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Department of Ophthalmology, New York University, New York, USA
  • 2010-2012 - Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Department of Ophthalmology, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • 2006-2010 - Postgraduate Clinical Demonstrator, Aston University, Birmingham, UK

Committees and reviewing

School committees

  • 2017-present: Senior Admissions Tutor
  • 2012-2016:  Associate Admissions Tutor
  • 2017-present: Member of the Postgraduate Student Staff Panel
  • 2014-present: Member of the Postgraduate Research Committee
  • 2013-present: Member of the Teaching and Learning Committee
  • 2012-present: Member of the Board of Studies
  • 2016-present: Senior Personal Tutor

University committees

  • College of Biomedical & Life Sciences Admissions & Recruitment Group

External committees

  • 2014-present   Guide Dogs Psycho-Social Ethics Committee







My research interests involve the examination of visual function in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which was established during my PhD and developed during international postdoctoral research fellowships.

Past work involved the topographical assessment of the retina using multimodal imaging in relation to visual function measured by microperimetry and other visual field techniques in AMD and in other retinal diseases. Recent studies have evaluated the application of normative data in microperimetry, using the Macular Integrity Assessment (Centervue; Figure 1) and MP-1 (Nidek) instruments, to enable robust interpretation of results in those with visual system disorders.  A current study is the evaluation of the relationship of microperimetry with vision-related and health-related quality of life instruments in individuals with AMD. 

In other research, we have estimated the impact of vision rehabilitation on quality of life outcomes in individuals with low vision.  Our findings provide support for the effectiveness of the vision rehabilitation service.


  • Figure 1. Microperimetry results in a healthy eye.
  • Figure 2. Microperimetry results in early AMD.

Summary of findings

  • In early AMD, thinning of the outer segment layer, measured using retinal layer segmentation of spectral-domain optical coherence tomography images, was significantly associated with reduced microperimetry sensitivity (Fig 1.).
  • Commercial microperimetry is limited by the lack of robust probability analyses.  A normative database and robust model of analysis to detect abnormality have been developed.
  • Despite similarities in stimuli and threshold procedures between microperimetry and conventional perimetry, there are important differences between instruments that need to be taken into account when interpreting visual field results.  These include the difference in dynamic range, normative data and background luminance levels.  The amount of visual loss detected, differed between instruments and this was dependent upon adaptation level and type of retinal disease.
  • Vision rehabilitation has a positive influence on vision-related quality of life.


Acton JH (PI), Ryan B, Morgan J, GCRF fellowship, 2018

Redmond T (PI), Acton JH, Greenwood J, Glaucoma, visual psychophysics, visual fields, quality of life, College of Optometrists Studentship, 2018

John R (PI), Acton JH, Evidencing the potential role of Low Vision Service Wales Optometrists in the certification of vision impairment, Sight Cymru 2017

Thomas N (PI), Dunn M, Acton JH, Erichsen JT, Retinal predictors of visual performance in nystagmus, Nystagmus Network, 2017

Wood A (PI), Acton JH, Waterman H, Investigation of pain and discomfort associated with anti-VEGF injections, Abbeyfield Research Foundation, 2016

Dunn M (PI), Acton JH, Erichsen JT,  Retinal predictors of visual performance in infantile nystagmus, College of Optometrists Studentship, 2016

Acton JH (PI), Margrain T, Effectiveness of vision rehabilitation, Sight Cymru, Cardiff Council, Welsh Government, 2015

Acton JH (PI), Redmond T, Cassels N, Prediction of the integrated visual field in age-related macular degeneration, CUROP, 2015

Acton JH, A microperimetric evaluation of age-related macular degeneration and polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy, JSPS, 2015

Acton JH (PI), Binns AM, Margrain TH, Does rehabilitation officer input improve quality of life in individuals with low vision?, Sight Cymru, Cardiff Council, Welsh Government, 2014

Acton JH (PI), The application of spatial filtering to microperimetry in age-related macular degeneration, College of Optometrists, 2014

Acton JH (PI) & Margrain TH, Evaluation of the Macular Integrity Assessment microperimeter, Fight for Sight, 2013

Research collaborators

  • Prof Victor Chong, Oxford Eye Hospital, Clinical Evaluation of Macular Disease
  • Dr Vivienne C. Greenstein, Dept of Ophthalmology, Columbia University, Microperimetry in retinal disease
  • Sharon Beckett, Sight Cymru

Postgraduate students

Nicola Cassels 2014 -2018 PhD Clinical Evaluation of Age-related Macular Degeneration
Nikita Thomas 2016 - PhD Retinal predictors of visual performance in nystagmus
Christina Yiallouridou 2018 - PhD Pain and anti-VEGF injections

Masters students

Zahra Rasheed 2015 Cardiff University
Justine Blake 2013 Erasmus Scheme, University of Latvia
Thien Kim Nguyen 2012 Optometry Research Fellow, Boston VA Health Care System

Areas of expertise