Dr Sohaib Rufai

NIHR Doctoral Fellow in Ophthalmology

School/Department: Neuroscience, Psychology & Behaviour, Department of



Dr Rufai has been awarded an NIHR Doctoral Fellowship worth £426,124 in which he leads a world-first collaborative study between the University of Leicester and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. He is passionate about improving outcomes in children with vision problems. His focus is the application of handheld OCT in rare disease including nystagmus and craniosynostosis. As of 2022, Dr Rufai has 40 scientific publications and 28 academic prizes and awards. Dr Rufai qualified in 2014 with BMBS and BMedSc (Hons) from the University of Southampton. He subsequently completed NIHR AFP and ACF posts - during the latter he obtained MRes with distinction in 2019. His work has been covered in the national media. He has been invited to present his work internationally in 14 cities. He is the author of A Practical Guide for Aspiring Ophthalmologists (World Scientific 2021), which received a 5-star review by Eye News was the top ranked Amazon bestseller in the Ophthalmology category in May 2021. Full details: Subsequently, he has written MCQs for FRCOphth Part 1 (Oxford University Press, in production).


Dr Rufai has been awarded an NIHR Doctoral Fellowship with a total research costs budget of £426124. He is the lead investigator for the RIO study: “Recognising Intracranial hypertension using handheld OCT in children with craniosynostosis”. He works in the University of Leicester Ulverscroft Eye Unit (CI: Prof Irene Gottlob) in collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital London (PI: Mr Noor ul Owase Jeelani). Recently Dr Rufai led the world’s first longitudinal study using handheld OCT to predict future vision in infantile nystagmus published in the journal Ophthalmology - the highest impact clinical journal in the field.



Top 10 in reverse chronological order (over 30 publications as of 2021):

Rufai SR. A Practical Guide for Aspiring Ophthalmologists (Book). World Scientific. 2021. ISBN: 978-981-123-632-7. doi: 10.1142/12257

Rufai SR, Hisaund M, Jeelani NUO, McLean RJ. Detection of intracranial hypertension in children using optical coherence tomography: a systematic review. BMJ Open. 2021 Aug 11;11(8):e046935. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046935. PMID: 34380720; PMCID: PMC8359522.

Rufai SR, Bowman R, Bunce C, Panteli V, McLean RJ, Teli S, Gottlob I, Thomas MG, Jeelani NUO, Proudlock FA. Feasibility and Repeatability of Handheld Optical Coherence Tomography in Children With Craniosynostosis. Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2021 Jul 1;10(8):24. doi: 10.1167/tvst.10.8.24. PMID: 34313724; PMCID: PMC8322722.

Hinds AM, Thompson DA, Rufai SR, Weston K, Schwiebert K, Panteli V, James G, Bowman R. Visual outcomes in children with syndromic craniosynostosis: a review of 165 cases. Eye (Lond). 2021 May 10. doi: 10.1038/s41433-021-01458-5. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33972704.

Rufai SR, Bunce C. World leaders' usage of Twitter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: a content analysis. J Public Health (Oxf). 2020 Aug 18;42(3):510-516. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdaa049. PMID: 32309854; PMCID: PMC7188178.

Rufai SR, Thomas MG, Purohit R, Bunce C, Lee H, Proudlock FA, Gottlob I. Can Structural Grading of Foveal Hypoplasia Predict Future Vision in Infantile Nystagmus?: A Longitudinal Study. Ophthalmology. 2020 Apr;127(4):492-500. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2019.10.037. Epub 2019 Nov 4. PMID: 31937464; PMCID: PMC7105819.

Rufai SR, Almuhtaseb H, Paul RM, Stuart BL, Kendrick T, Lee H, Lotery AJ. A systematic review to assess the 'treat-and-extend' dosing regimen for neovascular age-related macular degeneration using ranibizumab. Eye (Lond). 2017 Sep;31(9):1337-1344. doi: 10.1038/eye.2017.67. Epub 2017 May 5. PMID: 28475181; PMCID: PMC5601449.

Rufai SR, Tan NY, Barbara R, Hartrey R, Self JE. A novel method for examining corneal endothelial cell morphology in infants. J AAPOS. 2017 Jun;21(3):241-243.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Mar 24. PMID: 28347727.

Almuhtaseb H, Kanavati S, Rufai SR, Lotery AJ. One-year real-world outcomes in patients receiving fixed-dosing aflibercept for neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Eye (Lond). 2017 Jun;31(6):878-883. doi: 10.1038/eye.2017.6. Epub 2017 Feb 10. PMID: 28186507; PMCID: PMC5518840.

Ologunde R, Rufai SR. Surgical follow-up in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet Glob Health. 2013 Sep;1(3):e132. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(13)70061-5. Epub 2013 Aug 23. PMID: 25104257.



"Medicine MBChB, Biological Sciences BSc and MSc"


Dr Rufai sits on the Editorial Board of Frontiers in Ophthalmology (Review Editor Neuro-Ophthalmology Disorders) and is an invited reviewer for several journals including Eye and the European Journal of Ophthalmology. He is a member of the following: General Medical Council (GMC) Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Academy Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) British Medical Association (BMA) Medical Defence Union (MDU)


Dr Rufai has been awarded the prestigious NIHR Doctoral Fellowship (2019-2022) NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship (2016-19) and NIHR Academic Foundation Post (2014-16). During his NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship he obtained MRes with distinction (University of Leicester 2020). He was also awarded BMBS BMedSc with Honours (University of Southampton 2014). As of 2022, Dr Rufai has received 28 academic awards and prizes for his work, many at international/national level including RCOphth (Ulverscroft David Owen Prize), ARVO, UKNOS (Ivor Levy Prize) BIPOSA, BAAPS, MOS and SOC prizes, the Vernon Prize Trophy for Ophthalmological Research, the Bayer ROSES Audit Award and others.


Dr Rufai volunteers as an Ambassador for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Children’s Charity - he has organised fundraisers in this role. He recently raised over £1000 with a GOSH Charity guitar fundraiser. As Doctors Mess President in Leicester and Southampton, representing over 2000 doctors in total, he organised large fundraisers for both hospital charities. He has also fundraised for other charities including Gift of Sight, Mind, Anthony Nolan (Marrow), HIVE Southampton and Northamptonshire Association for the Blind, many of which involved organising large events and performing as a guitarist. Dr Rufai is also passionate about medical education and is regularly invited to teach at educational events for school students, undergraduates and postgraduates.

Media coverage

Dr Rufai's work has attracted regional national and global media coverage, including major newspapers, ITV News, Daybreak, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 4, BBC Newsbeat, local newspapers and radio station interviews. In 2020, he became the first ophthalmologist to use handheld OCT in craniopagus twins a case at Great Ormond Street Hospital covered by global media.


BMBS and BMedSc (Honours), University of Southampton, 2014

MRes (Distinction), University of Leicester, 2020

FInstLM, Fellow of Institute of Leadership and Management, 2022

Back to top