School of Psychology and Vision Sciences

Vision Sciences

Research in the Vision Sciences group investigates aspects of structural and functional vision across the lifespan and in normative and patient populations, using methods from experimental psychology, ophthalmic science, psychophysics, and cognitive neuroscience

The researchers within the Vision and Language research strand employ a wide range of research methods to investigate aspects of healthy vision and mechanisms underlying eye and brain pathology. These include eye tracking, optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging of the eye, psychophysics, virtual reality, posturography and computational modelling. These methods are employed to investigate vision throughout life, from the earliest stages, even including children born prematurely, through to the processing underlying aging of the visual system.

Visual cognition research is focused on visual attention and perception, search, and motion (Claire Hutchinson, David Souto, Robin Green), depth perception (Phil Duke), visuo-vestibular interactions and their implication for motion perception (Qadeer Arshad), as well as visuo-spatial memory (Douglas Barrett, Carlo De Lillo).

The mechanisms underlying reading, especially eye movement behaviour during reading and changes in reading across the lifespan, are also key areas of interest within the strand (Victoria McGowan, Kevin Paterson, Sarah White).

Clinical research (Irene Gottlob (Emeritus), Frank Proudlock, Mervyn Thomas, Rebecca McLean) focuses on high-resolution imaging of the eye to provide new insights into eye development and disease. The group is pioneering application of these methods in understanding retinal disorders, including achromatopsia, albinism, prematurity and cerebral malaria. This includes use of artificial intelligence to interpret images. The group also researches into the treatment and investigation of nystagmus, an eye movement condition which negatively impacts quality of life and affects daily tasks such as reading.


Current projects

Current research projects within the group include:

  • Use of Optical Coherence Tomography (Gottlob). Funded by the Ulverscroft Foundation.
  • Can handheld optical coherence tomography (Gottlob). Funded by the National Eye Research Centre.
  • Concurrent visual impairment and dementia (Hutchinson, Paterson). Funded by The Alzheimer’s Society.
  • Pioneering a New Method for Investigating the Neural Correlates of Ageing Effects during Natural Reading (Paterson). Funded by the ESRC.
  • The role of glasses wearing in amblyopia treatment (Proudlock). Funded by Action Medical Research.
  • Learning to write with the eyes: Solving the Midas touch problem (Souto). Funded by the British Academy.
  • Predicting future vision in infants and young children with nystagmus using optical coherence tomography and eye movement recordings (Thomas). Funded by Fight for Sight.
  • Nonsense suppression therapy for infantile nystagmus – a pilot study (Thomas). Funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences.
  • Revealing the implications of reading strategy for reading behaviour and comprehension (White). Funded by the ESRC.
  • Early Recognition of Raised Intracranial Pressure in Craniosynostosis using Hand. NIHR Fellowship held by Dr Sohaib Rufai.
  • Development of pediatric normative database (Proudlock). Funded by MRC-CiC – LD3.
  • Application of Artificial Intelligence in Paediatric Ophthalmology (Thomas). Funded by MRC-CiC – LD3.

Meet the team

Dr Qadeer Arshad

Qadeer’s research uses psychophysics, cognitive paradigms, neuromodulation and imaging techniques to probe how the brain constructs representations of magnitude, space and time – facilitating human movement and balance. This basic research is directly translated to understanding clinical issues of impaired movement, balance and sensory function in patients with brain damage.

Dr Doug Barrett

Doug’s research interested are in the theoretical and applied issues in human perception and cognition. He uses a variety of techniques to investigate the way the brain integrates and selects sensory information in different tasks and situations. Current projects include a comparison of serial and parallel models of the dual-target cost in visual search and a study investigating interactions between auditory working memory capacity and selective attention in tinnitus.

Dr Carlo De Lillo

Carlo’s research focuses on the organisation, encoding and retention of spatial information as acquired through vision. Carlo’s approach integrates traditional methods of experimental psychology with comparative, developmental, neuropsychological and modelling perspectives. His techniques include virtual reality and brain stimulation.

Dr Phil Duke

How does the brain achieve visual perception of 3D space? Phil’s research aims to provide some answers by identifying, elucidating and modelling visual perceptual processes involved. This work uses psychophysical methods to examine visual perception in human subjects. Broadly, Phil’s research examines how the visual system uses visual cues to determine the 3D location and shape of surfaces in the world. A particular interest is the question of how disparity information provided by two eyes’ images is used to generate stereoscopic depth perception.

Professor Irene Gottlob (Emeritus)

Irene’s research is at the forefront of infantile nystagmus (IN) research, pioneering investigations from many different aspects of the disease. Irene looks at the genetic causes, improved diagnosis and treatment of the condition that affects 2.4 per 1000 children. Another strand is the treatment of Amblyopia (or lazy eye), another common visual disease in childhood.

Dr Robin Green

Robin’s research broadly concerns on individual differences in perception, attention and cognitive control. Specifically, the how different populations (e.g. bilinguals, computer gamers, those with tendencies of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Psychosis, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) perform differently in cognitive tasks and how these differences can transferable to other outcomes. Robin is also interested in standardised cognitive assessment development. As a qualified professional coach, he is also interested in coaching psychology. He is interested in assessment, feedback and career skill developments as part of pedagogical research.

Dr Rebecca McLean

Rebecca’s main research interest lie in the diagnosis and treatment of eye movement disorders with a focus on nystagmus. This includes the development of clinical treatment trials in order to develop new innovative ways to manage the symptoms of nystagmus. This work has also led to an interest of functional vision and quality life and how we assess the impact of this in visual disease.

Dr Victoria McGowan

Victoria’s research explores what happens in the brain when we read, and what we can do to ensure that everyone is able to read well.  The mechanisms underlying reading, especially eye movement behaviour during reading and changes in reading across the lifespan, are also key areas of interest.

Professor Kevin Paterson

Kevin’s research uses methods from experimental psychology to investigate visual and cognitive mechanisms that underlie reading and language understanding across the lifespan and in different languages and cultures. This includes using measures of eye movements and synchronised measures of eye movements and EEG and eye movements during natural reading to study questions relating to the neuroscience of reading, cross-linguistic differences, language development and aging.

Dr Frank Proudlock

Frank’s research focuses on use of optical coherence tomography to image the posterior and anterior segments of the eye especially in children. This includes developing optical coherence tomography as a diagnostic tool in diseases such as retinopathy of prematurity, infantile glaucoma, foveal abnormalities and optic nerve disorders. He is also interested in the impact of infantile nystagmus, albinism and amblyopia on reading and functional vision and developing treatment for visual disease.

Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga

Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga is the Director of the Centre for Systems Neuroscience.

Dr David Souto

David investigates interactions between visual perception and eye movements using psychophysical and eye tracking methods. The current focus is on understanding visuo-motor learning and adaptation in performing tasks consolidated over human evolution (e.g. dealing with re-afferent motion during pursuit), one’s lifetime (e.g. crossing the road), or over a few hours of training (e.g. gaze-typing). Finally, we attempt to bridge the gap between fundamental and applied research by adapting our paradigms to immersive virtual reality (VR).

Dr Mervyn Thomas

Mervyn’s research interests are in the mechanisms of abnormal retinal development and functional implications. He has particular interest in the genetic implications of nystagmus and foveal development, developing novel treatments for nystagmus and improving the clinical care pathway in paediatric ophthalmology.

Professor Sarah White

Sarah’s research interests centre around eye movement control during reading. She has interests in parafoveal processing, visual word recognition, aging and cross-linguistic differences in reading eye movement behaviour. Her current focus is on understanding how reading goals (e.g. skimming for gist) modulate the mechanisms underlying eye movement control and comprehension.


  • Michael Hisaund - Research Orthoptist working with Professor Irene Gottlob
  • Helen Kuht – Research Orthoptist working with Dr Mervyn Thomas
  • Sohaib Rufai - Clinical Research Fellow working with Professor Irene Gottlob
  • Viral Sheth - Research Orthoptist working with Professor Irene Gottlob
  • Seema Teli - Research Orthoptist working with Professor Irene Gottlob
  • Zhanhan Tu – Research Assistant working with Professor Irene Gottlob
  • Samantha Tyler - Research Assistant working with Dr Frank Proudlock
  • Kayleigh Warrington - Honorary Fellow working with Dr Sarah White

Postgraduate students

  • Alanoud Albatli, supervised by Carlo De Lillo.  Project looks at .the development of working memory in preschool and primary school children.
  • Hadeel Aldokhayel, supervised by Rebecca McLean.  Project looks at assessment and impact of glare especially in albinism
  • Saad Almajed, supervised by Phil Duke.  Project looks at the role of binocular disparities in stereoscopic depth perception and eye movements.
  • Tahani Alqatani, supervised by Doug Barrett.  Project looks at visual processing and the ability to detect discontinuity or changes.
  • Hayley Barton, supervised by Kevin Paterson. Project looks at eye movement behaviour of typically and atypically developing readers.  
  • Helen Kuht, supervised by Rebecca McLean. Project looks at visual phenotype and characteristics of albinism carriers
  • Yahya Maeni, supervised by Claire Hutchinson.  Project looks at evaluation of functional vision in amblyopia using standardised reading charts
  • Emre Orun, supervised by Carlo De Lillo.  Project looks at cognitive and individual differences in foraging.
  • Aarti Patel, supervised by Irene Gottlob, Project looks at In vivo optic nerve head development of premature and full-term infants using spectral domain high resolution optical coherence tomography
  • Ravi Purohit supervised by Frank Proudlock.  Project looks at postnatal development of the optic nerve head and foveation in albinism infantile idiopathic nystagmus and achromatopsia
  • Fawziah Qahtani, supervised by Sarah White. Project is entitled, “Psycholinguistic investigation of effects of reading goals on sentence comprehension: Insights from Eye Movement Behaviour”
  • Sohaib Rufai, supervised by Frank Proudlock. Project looks use of hand-held optical coherence tomography to monitor intracranial pressure changes in craniosynostosis
  • Sonal Shah, supervised by Frank Proudlock. Project looks at the role of handheld OCT in paediatric glaucoma
  • Jennifer Sudkamp, supervised by David Souto.  Project looks at road crossing decision making in immersive virtual reality
  • Sam Tyler, supervised by Claire Hutchinson.  Project looks at understanding the effects of concurrent visual impairment on the experience and diagnosis of dementia
  • Jiaqi Zhang - supervised by Kevin Paterson.  Project looks at aging and cultural differences in false memory effects.
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