The Vision and Hearing Sciences Research Group consists of academic staff with a wealth of international experience in research, training and teaching in audiology, optometry and vision sciences.
Our interests are diverse and include low vision, myopia, visual function in specialist groups such as the deaf and people with autism, contact lenses, vision in sport, vision for driving, and reading difficulties. We look at the basic science and the clinical application of these subjects.
We collaborate with a number of universities and institutions, including Vrije University, Amsterdam; Elite School of Optometry, India; Manipal University, India; the College of Optometrists; International Paralympic Committee; UCL Institute of Ophthalmology; Linköping University, Sweden; University College London; Lamar University, USA; Moorfields Eye Hospital; University of Cambridge; and University of Essex. We also collaborate with the Vision and Eye Research Institute (VERI).
We have a history of publication in high-ranking journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, Sports Medicine, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, Contact Lens and Anterior Eye, Frontiers in Psychology, Vision Research, Journal of Vision, JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, and Ear and Hearing.
We have attracted grants from numerous sources including NIHR-EME, ESRC, The Agitos Foundation, Action Medical Research, College of Optometrists, The British Society of Audiology.
We regularly contribute to clinical continuing education, in publications such as Optician, Optometry Today, Optometry in Practice, Optometric Quarterly, ENT News, and BSA Audacity.
Peter is a Professor of Optometry and Visual Science. In his research Peter collaborates with colleagues in the UK and in Australia, The Netherlands, US and Germany. His areas of expertise include refractive error development, vision and reading, vision in sports, physical activity and its effect on physical and mental wellbeing, tinnitus and visual function in specialist populations. He is an assessor and examiner for the College of Optometrists.
Peter obtained his PhD in 2004 when working as a member of staff within the department. He has continued working at ARU since then, being awarded an A1 Professorship in 2014 and an A2 Professorship in 2017.
In 2013, he was awarded the Neil Charman Medal, one of the most prestigious awards in optical research, in recognition of his work on visual stress and the link between reading difficulties and perceptual distortion.
Kez is a practising optometrist whose research specialises in the assessment of function and optimization of rehabilitation for people with visual impairment. She gained her PhD at Aston University in 1995, and has been at ARU since 2006 where she is currently Associate Professor.
Kez is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists, an Associate Editor of the journal Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics and was the 2017 recipient of the Neil Charman medal for excellence in optometric research from the College of Optometrists for her work in low vision.
Yvonne Norgett joined ARU following clinical experience in hospital and retail optometry. She completed her PhD in 2016 and her research interests include the anterior eye in contact lens wear, dry eye, paediatric vision and visual crowding.
Yvonne is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists and a College examiner.
Marta completed her PhD and Post-Doctoral positions at the University of Bradford. Since then, she has worked in industry for one of the major contact lens companies as principal research optometrist. She has also worked as a locum optometrist for a variety of optical practices.
Currently, most of Marta's teaching and research is in the area of contact lenses. She is a member of the British University and College Contact Lens Educators (BUCCLE) and collaborates with colleagues in the UK, Ireland, Spain and the USA as part of her research.
Nery is an optometrist with a Masters degree in Clinical Optometry, who got her PhD in Vision Sciences at University of Santiago (Spain) in 2015. During her PhD, her research was focused on contact lenses and dry eye. In 2017, she moved to ARU to develop a project funded by the European Union focused on the evaluation of the ocular surface damage in glaucoma patients, thanks to a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship.
Nery's areas of specialisation include ocular surface, contact lenses and the aging eye. She is currently a member of the British University and College Contact Lens Educators (BUCCLE) and collaborates with colleagues in the UK, Spain, Portugal and USA as part of her research.
Jane is a Senior Lecturer in optometry, having joined the teaching staff in 2019. She is long-serving hospital optometrist with a specialist interest in low vision. She completed her PhD investigating rehabilitation needs of adult patients with visual impairment.
Jane is also a Fellow of the College of Optometrists and College Examiner.
Niall is a Lecturer in Optometry, teaching on the Optometry and Ophthalmic Dispensing programs. His research interests include sports vision, myopia, accommodation and binocular vision. He completed his PhD thesis, 'Occupational factors affecting the accommodative response in the human vision system' in 2020 under the supervision of Prof Ed Mallen and Dr Matt Cufflin at the University of Bradford.
Niall is also a practising optometrist and a volunteer and team leader with the NGO Vision Aid Overseas.
Sri is a practising Audiologist specialising in cochlear implants, bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA) and middle ear implants. Sri has an Au.D from Nova Southeastern University, USA and a Masters in Audiology from the University of Southampton.
Sri's research interests include the psychosocial aspects of hearing loss, cochlear implants, the role of hearing technology in improving speech in noise and music, the role of social representation theory in audiology, and cross-cultural research.
Saima obtained her PhD in Auditory Perception from Aston University. She maintains her clinical practice as a Consultant Audiologist at Cubex and is a Fellow of the British Society of Audiology (FBSA).
Saima's research interests include auditory stream segregation, speech-in-noise perception in individuals experiencing hearing loss, the role of healthcare communications in promoting help-seeking behaviour for hearing loss, remote audiological care and the role of hearing technologies on communication in ‘noisy’ environments.
Robert's PhD investigates the visibility of the pink ball during use in day/night Test cricket. He is particularly interested into the contrast luminance implications of the changing light conditions and the subsequent effects this has on both colour normal, and colour vision deficient cricketers. Supervisors: Allen, Timmis, Mann.
Nurbanu’s PhD is focussed on developing an online intervention aimed at improving the wellbeing of people with vision loss and their carers. Supervisors: Allen, Beukes, Anderson, Latham.
The overall objective of Franzi’s PhD is to develop an evidence-based, sport-specific classification system for vision impaired track athletics (100m, 200m and 400m). She started her work with a Delphi survey gathering opinions about the current system and potential ways of classifying in the future. She is currently investigating both the minimum impairment criteria and also the number of classes needed within VI athletics. Supervisors: Allen, Willmott, Mann.
The aim of Rosie's PhD, 'Physical activity prescription to improve mental and physical health in people with vision loss' is to develop and examine the feasibility and effectiveness of an exercise prescription programme for people with vision loss. Supervisors: Allen, Smith, Freiden.
Christopher's PhD aims to establish an appropriate and optimal methodology to assess Lid-wiper epitheliopathy (LWE), test the validity of a proposed new scale of LWE, and determine any time-related changes in the lid wiper with contact lens wear and contact lens discontinuation. Supervisors: Vianya-Estopa, Norgett, Allen.
We offer an Optometry and Vision Sciences PhD and an Audiology and Hearing Disability Research PhD. We have also identified a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers.
Currently we are recruiting children with myopia for CHAMP-UK: a multi-centre trial (Queen’s University, Belfast, Glasgow Caledonian University and Moorfields Eye Hospital) funded by NIHR EME comparing low dose atropine eye-drops (0.01%) with placebo. Allocation is 2:1.
The study aims to evaluate the efficacy of 0.01% atropine eye drops to reduce the progression of myopia in children after 24 months of treatment and its tolerability. It hopes to determine the mechanism of action of atropine eye drops and explore the influence of other factors in the progression of myopia, including hours of outdoor activity, ethnicity and family history.
Our contact lens and anterior eye research concentrates around evidence-based contact lens practice, survey evaluation of patients’ experiences with contact lenses, lid wiper epitheliopathy and anterior eye evaluation. This sub-group is also working on the automatic evaluation of the ocular surface and it is collaborating with the industry in the area of rewetting drops.
This is a rapidly expanding area of the research group and involves with collaboration with colleagues all around the world. It includes:
Our low vision research is concerned with assessment of function and optimisation of rehabilitation for people with visual impairment.
Assessment of function covers a range of areas including the most effective ways to assess clinical visual function, objective assessment of activities of daily living (including reading tasks and movement analysis), and the development and use of patient reported outcome measures (including the use of Rasch analysis) for the assessment of visual difficulties and quality of life.
Optimisation of rehabilitation includes investigation of the rehabilitation needs of visually impaired people over time and understanding the uses and benefits of low vision aids and training.
The Applied Hearing Research sub-group focuses on developing and measuring the impact of treatments for hearing and balance disorders. This includes evaluating the use of over-the-counter hearable technologies, remote audiological care (evaluation of tele-audiology service provision & development of remote tinnitus treatments), evaluating the efficacy of hearing healthcare communications in promoting help-seeking behaviours, and assessing the potential of alternative technologies for individuals experiencing communication difficulties.
The Applied Hearing Research Group is also a member of the Cambridge Hearing Group, comprised of multi-disciplinary researchers across two universities and a major teaching hospital in Cambridge
The Hearing Technology and Cognition project, conducted in collaboration with researchers at the UCL Ear Institute, aims to identify how to tailor hearing technologies to address specific communication challenges and hearing losses. It explores the effects of programming strategies in hearing technology on listening effort, speech in noise performance, and quality of listening experience for normal hearing adults and those with hearing loss.
Members of the group have collaborated with the College of Optometrists to survey UK optometrists regarding changes to their working practice during the COVID-19 pandemic and with colleagues in Spain to explore contact lens wearer’s compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic.