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Investigating a reading test as a measure of the efficacy of ocular lubricant treatment in individuals with dry eye disease

Project Description

The front surface of the eye is covered by a thin layer of tears to lubricate it, to help avoid infection, and to create a precise optical surface to help with the formation of clear images on the back of the eye. “Dry eye disease” (DED) refers to a wide range of conditions where the tear film is disrupted: some only creating mild discomfort, but others lead to severe damage to the eye. All are treated by various ocular lubricants (eye drops, sprays or ointments) to attempt to replace the function of the tears. The usual clinical measurements of vision using a high contrast letter chart do not show any significant difference compared to normal, yet patients often complain of visual difficulties. It has been suggested that vision tests which require good vision across a prolonged period are more likely to be affected in DED, and reading speed for relatively long paragraphs of text (about 150-200 words) has been shown to be affected. This study will investigate whether reading speed is increased, following application of the treatment, compared to baseline. If this was the case, then the reading test could potentially be used as a measure of the effectiveness of a particular treatment.

Entry Requirements:
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in optometry or a related area. It would be an advantage for candidates to have experience working with patients in a clinical environment.

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

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 (View Website). For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (View Website).

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.


Craig et al (2017) The DEWS II report – Definition and Classification of Dry Eye Disease Available at:

Mathews, P., Ramulu, P., Swenor, B., Utine, C., Rubin, G. & Akpek, E. (2016). Functional impairment of reading in patients with dry eye. Br J Ophthalmol.

Ridder, W. H., 3rd, Zhang, Y. & Huang, J. F. (2013). Evaluation of reading speed and contrast sensitivity in dry eye disease. Optom Vis Sci, 90(1), 37-44.

Ousler, G. W., 3rd, Rodriguez, J. D., Smith, L. M., Lane, K. J., Heckley, C., Angjeli, E. & Abelson, M. B. (2015). Optimizing Reading Tests for Dry Eye Disease. Cornea, 34(8), 917-21.

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