Via a four-way partnership between industry, academia, NHS, and private practice, the Ophthalmic Technology and Devices Research Centre combines the specialist fields of biological science, photonics, medical pathophysiology, drug delivery, biomedical engineering, material science, imaging, sensor technology, informatics, and software engineering to the field of ophthalmics.
The incidence of eye diseases increases with age, leading to poor vision, an increased risk of falls, reduced independence, and an impaired quality of life. With the ageing population and increased visual demands (particularly from internet enabled smartphone and tablets) required for daily living tasks, the need for good vision is increasingly critical. Advances in lens design allow eye growth to be modified to reduce risk of developing high errors in refraction in children. Generally, advances in technology are only slowly integrated into specialist health areas, often as a result of the introduction of high cost, low volume diagnostic instruments that enjoy limited access beyond specialist centres. Such an approach impedes the enhancement of primary care to reduce the burden on overstretched hospital and GP services.
Our work has, and aims to continue to lead to life changing breakthroughs in the development of medical devices, diagnostic instrumentation, and ocular treatments for conditions including, dry eye, refractive error, cataract, macular degeneration, diabetes, and glaucoma. We also contribute to two of the College of Health and Life Sciences’ four key multidisciplinary themes; vision, cognition, and language, and health and disease across the lifespan.
We are the lead centre of the Midlands Ophthalmic Technology Hub and spinout companies from the centre include EYOTOTM (lens metrology and remotely accessed ophthalmic technology), Aston Vision Sciences (innovative dry eye and tele-health) and Wolffsohn Research Ltd (ophthalmic apps and clinician tools).
Collaborators and funding
Our central location within the UK enables us to conduct innovative work with industry and academic partners. In addition to our in-house expertise, we have a strong network of existing collaborations and innovations across the region:
- Experts from a range of leading UK universities including Universities of Birmingham, Leicester, and Nottingham within the specialist fields of ocular examination device creation, clinical trials for medical devices, ophthalmic applied artificial intelligence, tear sensing contact lenses, and visual neuroscience.
- NHS hospital trusts including Leicester Royal Infirmary and Birmingham Children’s Hospital in the specialist fields of visual impairment rehabilitation, advanced contact lenses, and paediatric technology development and evaluation.
- Medical Device Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC) European Regional Development Fund (EDRF) collaboration with the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and University of Birmingham.
- A range of industry organisations including world-leading manufacturer of precision optics Carl ZEISS (Birmingham), intraocular lenses (Rayner), contact lenses (Alcon and Johnson and Johnson), instrumentation (Medmont), pharmaceutical treatments (Novartis) and ocular surface treatments (NuVision).
Funding for our work has come from a variety of sources, including but not limited to Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the College of Optometrists, Innovate UK, the Wellcome Trust, NHS, private eye care providers, optometry device and contact lens manufactures, and the pharmaceutical industry.
Joint Centre Director: Professor James Wolffsohn Joint Centre Director: Professor Nicola Logan
- Professor James Wolffsohn
James has been the Head of the Schools of Optometry, and departments of Biomedical Engineering and Audiology/Healthcare Science, and is currently the associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research Integrity. His research interests include dry eye, ophthalmic instrumentation, contact lenses (ranked 7th in the world by Expertscape), intraocular lenses and presbyopia (ranked 2nd in the world by Expertscape). He was Chair of the Diagnostic Methodology Committee of the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) II; Clinical Trials and Instrumentation Committee; and Evidence Based Practice Committee. He has also acted as co-lead of the International Myopia Institute (IM) reports on myopia control, and executive lead of the Contact Lens Evidence-based Academic Reports (CLEAR). James runs both an active dry eye research lab and a clinical service in dry eye.
- Professor Nicola Logan
Nicola is Professor in Optometry & Physiological Optics and is the Director of the Optometry and Vision Science Research Group. Nicola's current research interests include the development, progression and management of myopia from laboratory experimentation to clinical trial. Nicola runs an active myopia research lab and a clinical service in myopia management. External roles include Ambassador and Taskforce Chair of the International Myopia Institute and Committee Member of the Myopia Management Committee.
- Professor Leon Davies
- Dr Shehzad Naroo
- Dr Debarun Dutta
- Dr Raquel Gil Cazorla
- Dr Antonio Fratini
- Dr Hannah Bartlett
- Professor Sunil Shah
We make use of a wide range of specialised equipment within our research laboratories, clinical research facility, and Aston Eye Clinic, all located within the dedicated Aston Vision Sciences building. Our labs and clinical spaces are well-equipped with advanced non-invasive technologies that make our studies appropriate for all age groups while being at the forefront of research in the field. We also utilise facilities within the on campus Optegra Birmingham Eye Hospital, Aston Laboratory for Immersive Virtual Environments (ALIVE), and Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment.
Equipment within the group includes:
- Zeiss IOL Master 500/700
- Haag Streit LenStar LS 900
- Autorefractors (Shin Nippon NVisionK, WAM-5500 Grand Seiko)
- Zeiss Visante AS-OCT
- Heidelberg Spectralis OCT
- Heidelberg HRTIII and Rostock confocal module
- Dry Eye Diagnostics: Oculus Keratograph 5m (x3), Medmont Meridia and Topographers; ME-Check, Tearlab (x2), iPen, Delfin evapometer
- Dry Eye Management: Blephex, Eye-Light Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy and light modulation mask,
- MR scanner
In addition, our researchers run multiple specialist public facing clinics alongside staff and students within the Aston Eye Clinic. Clinics include:
- Myopia management
- Dry eye.