Optometry research at the University of Bradford

The Bradford School of Optometry and Vision Science research group has been conducting pioneering work in the field of vision science for more than 35 years.

The School’s research is driven by an over-arching aim to further our understanding of the basic mechanisms of human vision in health and disease. And its work spans a broad range of fascinating disciplines, including ophthalmology, ocular imaging and visual neuroscience.

Optometry facility in the University's Digital Health Enterprise Zone facility.

Read on, to find out about Optometry PhD student Riccardo Cheloni and his participation in crucial research into the common eye condition glaucoma.

Meet Riccardo

Riccardo presenting a lecture.

Riccardo Cheloni is an Optometrist and Orthoptist, who originally trained in Italy and has been practising since 2013.

He joined the University of Bradford in 2018 and is currently working on his PhD under the supervision of Dr Jonathan Denniss, which he hopes to complete before the end of the year.

His work is driven by his desire to help patients by providing professional support and playing an active role in the development of solutions to improve their eye health.

Despite his active work schedule, Riccardo has found time to explore and immerse himself in the beauty of the Yorkshire region surrounding the University, through activities such as hiking, cycling, and photography.

Riccardo admiring his surroundings whilst on a hike.

Here’s what he’s been working on.

Combatting glaucoma

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and is frequently referred to as the “silent thief of sight”. This condition causes irreversible damage to the nerve fibres of the eye, which are essential for sending light information to the brain for visual perception.

However, in its earliest stages, glaucoma does not present symptoms in patients and changes to ocular structure and visual function are hard to measure. This makes early diagnosis a challenge, and the disease is mainly diagnosed opportunistically by optometrists during routine eye-tests, at which point considerable irreversible vision loss may have already occurred.

An Optometry student carrying out an eye examination.

Riccardo and other researchers in the School of Optometry and Vision Science have been hard at work developing methods that enable quicker and more accurate identification of glaucoma. Working closely with patients diagnosed with glaucoma, the team of researchers hope to be able to better characterise the disease, in particular, the earliest ocular and visual changes associated with it.

Published research


Two graphs showing the team's en face OCT mapping research findings.

At present, the research team have generated evidence helping to explain the asymptomatic nature of glaucoma vision loss, which could be used to develop new measures of visual function, capable of revealing changes earlier than conventional methods of examination.

The team have also developed methods of using newer imaging techniques to measure alterations in nerve fibre appearance in greater detail, for a prompter detection of the disease.

This research by the School of Optometry & Vision Science will help provide a clearer picture of the progression of glaucoma and, in turn, provide optometrists and ophthalmologists with better instruments for detecting and measuring glaucoma, and ultimately, prevent any or further vision loss in patients.

Riccardo stood in front of two boards displaying his research findings.

Want to know more about Optometry and Vision Science research at Bradford? Head to the department research page.

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