Students in the vision science graduate program at uWaterloo's School of Optometry and Vision Science specialize in one of the following areas:

Students will work with one or more faculty supervisors in their chosen area(s).

In addition to this page, several of the faculty and research groups have their own websites: Research and lab groups.

Description of areas of study and faculty

Healthcare, education and delivery

Research in health and bioinformatics, medical education and service delivery, standards of care, service quality and delivery, distance education and innovative continuing education programs, professional communication, epidemiology and clinical research.




The advancement of understanding of the normal and abnormal development, structure and function of the ocular and visual sensory and effector/motor nervous components and the impact of neural senescence.



Ocular biology and pathophysiology

The advancement of understanding of the eye and adnexa structure, physiology, disease and toxicology using micro and macroscopic imaging and molecular & biological system techniques.



Technology and optics

Basic and applied research in the areas of fundamental optics, visual correction, contact lenses and material science, ophthalmic and vision standards (including visual ergonomics), imaging, instrument development, assistive devices and soft metrology.



Faculty research interests

"¶" indicates an Approved Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (ADDS)

Please feel free to contact faculty directly for more information about their research, or the equipment available in their lab. Note that faculty do not accept a student until a formal application has been made.

¶ Choh, VivianBSc (Toronto), MSc (Toronto), PhD (Waterloo)
Associate Professor

  • The optics, molecular structure and function of the crystalline lens during accommodation
  • Molecular and cellular changes mediating and following refractive error development and retinal ganglion cell death
  • Development of neuroprotective strategies following retinal ganglion cell death

Dalton, KristineOD (Waterloo), PhD (Aston University), MCOptom, FAAO, FBCLA

Assistant Professor

  • Clinical aspects of optometric practice, particularly those relative to athletic performance, including contact lenses, refractive surgery, ocular health, injury prevention and vision training
  • Eye movements and vision strategies used by athletes to collect information while playing sports; particularly how their vision strategies relate to information collection, balance and other biomechanical aspects of performance
  • Vision training, particularly vision strategy training to enhance athletic performance

¶ Hovis, Jeff K.OD, MSc (Ohio State), PhD (Indiana)
Associate Professor

  • Binocular color mixing
  • Modeling normal and abnormal human color vision
  • Testing for color vision deficiencies
  • Occupational vision standards.

¶ Hudson, ChristopherBSc (Hons), PhD (Aston University), MCOptom, PgCUT (University of Ulster), FAAO

  • The development of non-invasive psychophysical and objective techniques to improve the clinical monitoring of retinal disease and the evaluation of new techniques in a clinical setting
  • The relationship between early visual function loss and morphological retinal disturbance
  • Diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, age-related macular degeneration, primary open-angle glaucoma
  • Clinical psychophysics; automated perimetry, colour vision, short-wavelength pathway sensitivity, frequency-of-seeing, cognitive function
  • Imaging techniques, scanning laser, tomography, laser Doppler, retinal oximetry angiography
  • Retinal blood flow, blood glucose, blood gas perturbation

¶ Hutchings, NatalieBSc (Hons), MCOptom, PhD (Aston University)
Associate Professor

  • Retinal imaging, psychophysical assessment of visual function
  • Statistical methods for clinical interpretation of psychophysical data, visual fields, continuing optometric education.

¶ Irving, Elizabeth L.BSc, MSc, PhD (Waterloo)

  • Oculomotor development
  • Refractive development
  • Animal models of myopia
  • New methods of visual assessment
  • Patient eye care knowledge and education
  • Environmental adaptation of the eye and visual system
  • Spaceflight associated neuro-ocular syndrome

¶ Jones, Lyndon W.BSc (Hons) (Wales), PhD (Aston University), DSc (Aston University), FCOptom (Wales), DipCLP, DipOrth, FAAO, FIACLE, FBCLA
Professor (Optometry, Physics, Chemical Engineering and Chemistry)

  • Contact lens material development and testing
  • Impact of material composition on tear film deposition
  • Role of the tear film in contact lens wear
  • Impact of care systems on ocular comfort and in vivo wettability
  • Ocular response to daily and extended wear of contact lenses
  • Dry eye
  • Ocular drug delivery

¶ Lakshminarayanan, Vasudevan
Professor (Optometry, Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Systems Design Engineering)

  • Stiles Crawford effect
  • Ophthalmic and visual optics
  • Visual perceptual phenomena
  • Mathematical modeling of vision
  • Classical optics
  • Optical system analysis
  • Fiber optics
  • Aberration theory
  • Biomedical image processing
  • Applications of AI/deep learning/machine learning to ophthalmic disease diagnosis

¶ Leat, Susan J.BSc (Manchester), PhD (Cardiff), FAAO, FCOptom,

  • Low Vision - the effectiveness and models of Low Vision Rehabilitation; visual acuity; contrast sensitivity; reading performance; visual fundtion in post-stroke; glare disability; macular degeneration
  • Psychophysics - visual acuity and contour interaction; reading; development and validation of visual acuity charts
  • Infant and child vision - acuity testing; visual development; visual processing skills and reading; correction of refractive error; HARS syndrome
  • Special populations (including developmentally delayed) - accommodation; vision assessment
  • Aging and Vision - falls and vision; visual attention; falls and vision in hospital populations

McCulloch, Daphne, OD (Waterloo), PhD (Indiana),


  • Normal and abnormal visual development
  • Visual electrophysiology

Murphy, Paul, BSc (Hons) (Cardiff), MBA (South Wales), PhD (Glasgow Caledonian), FCOptom, FAAO, FBCLA, FEAOO,


  • Anterior ocular surface including contact lens wear, tear film physiology, ocular surface temperature, corneal epithelium and corneal sensation
  • Instrumentation; development of new clinical and research instruments including evaporimeter, corneal aesthesiometer, ocular surface thermography
  • Bibliometrics; use of bibliometrics in research comparisons
  • Workforce studies including attitude of optometry students to studying optometry, and expectations/aspirations for future career

¶ Simpson, Trefford, L.Dip.Optom (Tech. Wit., South Africa), MS, PhD (Houston)

Corneal sensitivity related especially to contact lens wear, binocular visual function, especially inhibitory binocular interactions. The psychophysics of parallel visual processing. Psychophysical and electrophysiological clinical visual tests.

¶ Sorbara, LuiginaOD, MSc (Waterloo)

  • Contact lens assessment, fitting and aftercare
  • Corneal topography-measurement and application
  • Contact lens Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) and scleral lens designs and parameters using computers for specialty fitting as keratoconus, irregular corneal surfaces and in extended wear
  • Contact lens induced dry eye, GPC and other contact lens-induced corneal complications, diagnosis and management
  • Contact lens world wide education: teaching educators how to teach, establishing curricula and setting up school based clinics

¶ Spafford, MarleeOD, MSc (Waterloo), PhD (Toronto), FAAO

  • Healthcare education, communication, socialization and equity
  • Service delivery
  • Professional gatekeeping

Thompson, Benjamin, BSc (Sussex), PhD (Sussex)


  • Human visual cortex development and plasticity
  • Visual rehabilitation
  • Amblyopia
  • Binocular vision
  • Functional MRI
  • Non-invasive brain stimulation