Susan Leat, PhD

Susan Leat, PhD
Professor Emerita, Adjunct Professor
Location: OPT 251, OPT 377
Phone: 519-888-4567 x36760, 519-888-4567 x32040
Status: Emeritus


Susan Leat is a professor emerita at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science. She graduated with first class honours in Optometry from the University of Manchester (formerly UMIST), England. She obtained her PhD and undertook post-doctoral studies at Cardiff University (formerly UWCC), Great Britain. She was founder and director of the Cardiff University Low Vision Clinic, the first university-based low vision clinic of its kind in Britain, and was instrumental in establishing the Special Assessment Clinic in Cardiff. She moved to Canada in 1991 to take up a faculty position in the University of Waterloo. She was previously Head of the Paediatric and Special Needs Clinic, Primary Care Externship Programme Officer and Senior Admissions Officer for Optometry. She was also a clinician in the Low Vision Clinic and the Paediatric and Special Needs Clinic and was Head of Residencies. She continues to conduct research in the areas of psychophysics, low vision and paediatrics.

Research Interests

  • Low vision and vision rehabilitation
  • Paediatric optometry and visual development
  • Aging and vision
  • Visual psychophysics
  • Accommodation in children with Down syndrome


  • Approved PhD supervisor
  • Registered optometrist, BSc (Manchester), PhD (Cardiff)
  • Supervising clinician: low vision clinic, paediatric and special needs clinic, primary care clinic
  • Clinical interests: low vision, pediatrics, special needs populations, gerontology

Professional Associations

  • University of Waterloo, University Senator
  • Member; Senate Executive Committee


  • OPTOM 377 - Pediatric Optometry and Learning Disabilities
    • Taught in 2018, 2019, 2020
  • OPTOM 387 - Low Vision and Geriatrics
    • Taught in 2018, 2019, 2020
  • OPTOM 680 - Visual Development
    • Taught in 2019, 2020

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Leat S.J. (2010) Prevalence of binocular vision anomalies in the elderly”. Press conference presentation at the American Academy of Optometry, San Francisco.
  • Leat S.J. (2011) with Balsam Alabdulkader. Reading Additions in Children and Young Adults with Low Vision-Effects on Reading Performance, CNIB, Toronto.
  • Leat S.J. (2011) with Deborah Gold The legibility of prescription medicine labels: A review of current guidelines and gaps, CNIB, Toronto.
  • Leat S.J. (2011) with Norris Lam Investigating Optometric Vision Care for People with Vision Impairment, CNIB Continuing Education Conference, Feb, Toronto.
  • Leat S.J. (2010) Visual acuity and contrast sensitivity development in infants and children”. 21st International Congress of Optometry, Contactology and Ophthalmic Optics. National College of Opticians-Optometrists of Spain, Madrid, Spain,
  • Leat S.J. (2009) Visual field loss, attention and mobility. In Low Vision Field Loss Symposium, American Academy of Optometry. US.
  • Leat S.J. (2008) Pediatric Low Vision Assessment and Management, Vision 2008, Montreal, Canada.
  • Leat S.J. (2008) When do kids need glasses”? American Academy of Optometry, US.
  • Leat SJ (2007) Down syndrome, refraction, accommodation and early literacy skills. Keynote speaker at the Asia Pacific Optometry Congress.
  • Leat S.J. (2007) Useful Field of View, Mobility and Visual Impairment, Canadian Optometry Conference on Vision Science, Waterloo.