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Exploring the attitudes and scope of practice of UK optometrists in cases of paediatric high myopia

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr Fiona Cruickshank, Dr S Willis, Dr Catherine Porter, Dr D Steinke  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

High myopia in childhood is a recognised association of ocular and systemic disease and may be the first clinical manifestation for some conditions (Marr et al., 2001). Optometrists play a pivotal role in early case finding; nonetheless, there is currently no guidance or standardised provision of care concerning the screening, examination or referral of these children in the UK (Logan et al., 2004). Early case finding is particularly important as treatment at an otherwise asymptomatic stage holds potential to preserve sight (Kaiser-Kupfer et al., 1991) or prolong life (Shores et al., 1994; Cruysberg et al., 1996). Even in cases where ideal medical treatment is not available, accurate, early diagnosis provides the family with an understanding of the condition, allows for genetic counselling and facilitates assessment of educational needs (Logan et al., 2004).

This project will use quantitative and qualitative health services research methods to (1) Explore attitudes, decision-making and practice behaviours when managing cases of paediatric high myopia in the context of the U.K. optometric practice, and; (2) Create a practitioner ‘toolkit’ of resources/guidance for optometrists to support decision making and practice behaviours when encountering these cases. Gaining a detailed understanding of the nature of current care and practice standards will be valuable for informing professional guidelines and any future attempts to develop service in this area.

Project findings will inform the creation of learning resources for optometrists to support their decision-making and clinical care. Gaining a detailed understanding of the nature of current care and practice standards will be valuable for informing professional guidelines and any future attempts to develop optometry service in this area. Furthermore, the findings will be used to make recommendations to key bodies in the optometry profession.

Entry Requirements

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area/subject. Candidates with previous laboratory experience, particularly in cell culture and molecular biology, are particularly encouraged to apply.

How To Apply

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select PhD Optometry

For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences.For more information please visit

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website”

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website (


Cruysberg, J., Boers, G., Trijbels, J. and Deutman, A. (1996). Delay in diagnosis of homocystinuria: retrospective study of consecutive patients. BMJ, 313(7064), pp.1037-1040.

Kaiser-Kupfer, M. (1991). Gyrate Atrophy of the Choroid and Retina. Archives of Ophthalmology, 109(11), p.1539.

Logan, N., Gilmartin, B., Marr, J., Stevenson, M. and Ainsworth, J. (2004). Community-Based Study of the Association of High Myopia in Children with Ocular and Systemic Disease. Optometry and Vision Science, 81(1), pp.11-13.

Marr, J., Halliwell-Ewen, J., Fisher, B., Soler, L. and Ainsworth, J. (2001). Associations of high myopia in childhood. Eye, 15(1), pp.70-74.

Shores, J., Berger, K., Murphy, E. and Pyeritz, R. (1994). Progression of Aortic Dilatation and the Benefit of Long-Term β-Adrenergic Blockade in Marfan's Syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine, 330(19), pp.1335-1341.
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