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Ocular focusing under different instruction strategies.

Project Description

The Infant Vision Laboratory at the University of Reading researches how typical and atypical children and adults use the different visual cues provided by images of the world to drive two major aspects of eye focusing (accommodation and vergence). This matters because if these processes go wrong, children end up with squints, glasses and lazy eyes, and adults end up with eye strain.
A study we published in 2014 concentrated on how different eye exercises work. The main outcome from this study was that being encouraged to “try harder” was actually more effective than the eye exercises themselves. This has led to questions about “trying harder” actually means. Do people use generic attention, cognitive, motivation or imagination strategies or visual cues to improve their responses? This has implications for clinical situations (not necessarily just in the sphere of vision) where exercises are given to NHS patients. The PhD will offer the applicant the chance to explore some or all of these issues.
No specific expertise in vision is required because suitable training would be provided in the lab, but a strong interest in visual perception and the patient/therapeutic experience in healthcare would be an advantage.

Funding Notes

2 (i) or above in Biology, Psychology, Mathematics, Computer Science, Philosophy and MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience'


1. Horwood A, Toor S. Clinical test responses to different orthoptic exercise regimes in typical young adults. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics. 2014;34(2):250-62. 2. Horwood AM, Toor SS, Riddell PM. Change in convergence and accommodation after two weeks of eye exercises in typical young adults. J AAPOS. 2014;18(2):162-8.

How good is research at University of Reading in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 40.15

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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