PhD studentship - Glaucoma detection by community optometrists – improving specificity with OCT imaging

PhD studentship in Glaucoma

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship starting, 1 Oct 2024.

Project Description

In the UK, most patients with glaucoma are first identified by optometrists during routine eye examinations. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a powerful tool to identify subtle optic nerve damage which is often the first sign of the disease. Almost all optometric practices now use OCT, but there is still substantial scope to enhance clinical practice. In particular, we need to reduce over-diagnosis of glaucoma which can lead to needless anxiety for patients, and which has contributed to long waiting times for ophthalmic services in many parts of the UK.

This PhD project will investigate how OCT can most efficiently be used by optometrists to diagnose glaucoma in low-prevalence settings such as high-street optical practices, alone and in combination with other tests such as tonometry and visual fields. We will investigate the diagnostic performance (in particular, specificity) of widely used OCT systems in a representative optometric population. Our work will contribute to the evidence-base supporting the use of modern imaging technology in glaucoma-related primary eye care. It will also help to establish urgently needed criteria for diagnosis and onward referral of patients suspected of having glaucoma.

The project would suit a candidate with clinical experience in primary or secondary care, public eye health and epidemiology at the interface of clinical research and practice.

The project will provide opportunity to:

Be involved in a research project with direct clinical impact Develop expertise in OCT and glaucoma Develop clinical data modelling skills Develop understanding of glaucoma care in different eye care settings in the UK such as community optometry, hospital eye services If you wish to discuss this project further, contact Dr. Mahesh Joshi,


Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree in Optometry/Orthoptics/Ophthalmology or a relevant Masters qualification

Essential skills include:

Previous research experience and/or clinical experience in OCT imaging Strong organisation and time management skills Clinical communication and problem-solving skills If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum English requirements for the programme, IELTS Academic score of 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in each component test area) or equivalent.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £18,110 2023/24 rate (2024/25 rate TBC). The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates (approximately £13,244 per annum 2024/25 rate).

NB: The studentship is supported for three years of the four-year registration period. The fourth year is a self-funded ‘writing-up’ year.

Apply from [here].

Mahesh R Joshi
Mahesh R Joshi
Lecturer in Optometry

My research interests include using psychophysical methods to investigate visual attributes such as motion and shape perception in normal and clinical populations.