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Research groups

Collaborators

AOSLO retinal imaging - psychophysics

AOSLO retinal imaging - psychophysics
Fixational eyemovements captured via AOSLO imaging: During fixation our eyes make small movements on the scale of the photoreceptors. Exploiting the scanning nature of the AOSLO we an extract these tiny eye movements and relate them to the individual cone mosaic of the observer. Using these measures we are investigating the control of eye movements during fixation and how those movements relate to the processing of visual information.

AOSLO imaging - Modelling

AOSLO imaging - Modelling
Modelling the retinal cone mosaic (left) and simulation of AOSLO data capture (right): Using a realistic randomised model of the cone mosaic we simulate the spatio-temporal variation in cone signals during eye motion and in the presence of blur.

Laura Young

MPhys (Hons) PhD


Career Development Lecturer

  • Departmental Lecturer, Pembroke College

Research interests

The image formed on the retina is often blurred by optical distortions that are inherent in all eyes. Our ability to extract useful visual information from the environment is dependent on the quality of the retinal image and its  sampling by the photoreceptors using optimal eye movements.

I study the effects that certain types of optical distortion (e.g. a focus error, such as myopia, or a more complicated higher-order aberration) have on the retinal image and the knock-on effects for reading text. Sampling of the retinal image by the light-sensitive cells of the retina is not a static process; our eyes are constantly in motion even when we fixate on an object (e.g a word printed on a page). As a consequence of this motion, the light captured by an individual cell changes over time. To study sampling effects we have developed an adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AOSLO), in collaboration with the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation at Durham University, to capture images of the retina at a cellular scale. Using this system we can track the miniature eye movements made during fixation. From these measurements we can infer the spatio-temporal sampling of an image formed on the retina and relate it to psychophysical measures of visual performance.

In collaboration with the Ophthalmology Department we are using the AOSLO to study inherited retinal diseases at a cellular scale. We are searching for early-stage changes in the retina that could lead to a better understanding of disease progression and to closer monitoring of potential treatments.

AOSLO retinal imaging - clinical

AOSLO retinal imaging - clinical
AOSLO images of a healthy control retina (left) and a retina affected by Stargardt's disease (right): Stargardt's disease is an inherited condition that causes the photoreceptors to degenerate leading to central field loss. The bright spots in the images are cone photoreceptor cells and the dark lines are the shadows of retinal blood vessels. In the diseased retina the cones are more sparsely arranged and hyper-reflective patches of dystrophy (top left corner of right-hand image) are visible.

Ocular aberrations and vision

Ocular aberrations and vision
Increasing the amplitude of defocus (left) and secondary astigmatism (right): Phase shifts caused by optical aberrations change the contours in the image and affect the apparent identity of the letter. These effects can impact visual and lexical processing in reading.