The anterior section of the eye provides protection from external influences, while providing around two-thirds of the refractive power of the eye.  Any disturbance caused by acute or chronic conditions (e.g. dry eye disease or corneal abnormalities, such as keratoconus) may result in loss of structural integrity, reduction in quality of vision and may predispose the eye to infection and potentially permanent visual impairment. 

The Anterior Eye Research Group at GCU conducts research on the causes, the diagnosis, as well as the treatment of factors that could impair the function of the tear film, the cornea and the conjunctiva.  On-going projects include clinical trials of new treatment modalities for dry eye, the analysis of tear fluid inflammatory proteins and investigations on corneal and conjunctival structural properties (including the morphology of the endothelium in health and disease). 

The research is supported by funding from sources such as the Carnegie Trust, the Visual Research Trust, Fight For Sight, The Royal College of Surgeons, as well as from international pharmaceutical companies, including Allergan and Pfizer. 

Current topics of interest in anterior eye include:

  • Corneal and conjunctival anatomy and metabolism
  • Corneal topography and sensitivity
  • Normal and abnormal tear film physiology
  • Protein profiling of tear fluids from dry eye patients
  • Physiological impact of contact lenses
  • Clinical assessment of ophthalmic pharmaceuticals
  • Basic In vitro models of dry eye (conjunctival epithelial cell cultures)
  • Mechanisms of corneal infection
  • Refractive surgery and visual performance
  • Physiological effects of ophthalmic materials


Key Research Staff:

Professor Alan Tomlinson
Professor Michael Doughty
Dr Ian Pearce
Dr Katherine Oliver
Dr Suzanne Hagan
Dr Sven Jonuscheit