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Leon Davies - Aston University. Birmingham, , GB

Leon Davies

Professor of Optometry & Physiological Optics | Aston University


Professor Davies's research is focused on presbyopia and the restoration of ocular accommodation to the ageing eye.







Advancing Optometry: Our vision for the future Aston University Optometry supporting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games OT skills guide: Applanation tonometry Villa Vision




Leon Davies is a Professor of Optometry & Physiological Optics and President of The College of Optometrists. Holding a 1st Class BSc in Optometry and a PhD in Physiological Optics, Professor Davies is a registered optometrist with the General Optical Council (GOC), a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, a Fellow of the College of Optometrists (FCOptom), a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). He is a past Clinical Editor of Optometry Today, and past Editor-in-Chief of the peer review journal Optometry in Practice (2018 to 2022). In 2022, he was appointed an Honorary Professor at the University of Bradford. In terms of quality assurance and assessment, he has served as an external examiner for taught undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Plymouth and Singapore. Leadership roles at Aston include Director of Research of the Optometry and Vision Science Research Group (2010-2017) and Head of the School of Optometry (2016-2021). He has served as a Board Trustee of the College of Optometrists (2016 to date), Chair of their Research Committee (2016-2020), Vice President (2020-2022) and in June 2022, was elected President.

Leon has over 60 full publications and has been awarded over £3 M of funding for his research from UKRI, the EU, charities and a number of multinational organisations. His research is focused on presbyopia and the restoration of ocular accommodation to the ageing eye. He has successfully supervised 14 PhDs/ professional doctorates, 10 PDRAs and has acted as an external examiner for PhD and professional doctorate theses in Australia, Hong Kong, Spain and the UK. He is a recipient of the College of Optometrists Research Fellowship Award, and was awarded the inaugural Neil Charman Medal for research excellence in optometry, optics and vision science.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Visual Function Following Stroke

Ophthalmic Instrumentation

Intraocular Lens (IOL) Technology


Ocular Accommodation

Ocular Biometry


Education (2)

Aston University: PhD, Physiological Optics 2004

Aston University: BSc, Optometry 2000

Affiliations (5)

  • General Optical Council (GOC): registered optometrist (01-18776), 2001 - present
  • Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers: Liveryman, 2018 - present
  • The College of Optometrists: Member, 2001 - 2012. Fellow, 2012 - present
  • American Academy of Optometry: Fellow, 2005 - present
  • Higher Education Academy: Fellow, 2008 - 2015. Senior Fellow, 2015 - present

Media Appearances (2)

Virtual talks, charity fundraising and cross-university collaboration

Optometry Today  online


Optometry schools around the UK usually take it in turns to host BCOVS, and it was originally going to be held at Aston University this year. The decision to share the organisational role originated when Professor Leon Davies, head of Aston Optometry School, and I initially discussed moving the conference to a virtual platform. We thought it would be a great opportunity to allow input and positive contributions from a wider range of people, and because it’s a completely new venture for BCOVS, it seemed sensible to seek advice. The aim was to get a representative from every optometry school, but we’re still a few short so if you’re reading this and you don’t think your department has a representative yet, please get in touch.

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College of Optometrists appoints new president and council members

Optician Online  online


Professor Leon Davies from Aston University was announced as vice president at the event, with Prab Bopari elected as trustee, Mark Redhead as lay trustee and Dr Gillian Ruddock re-elected as chair of the education and standards committee.

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Parliamentary Contributions (1)

Speaker, 'Achieving High Street Health'

All-Party Parliamentary Health Group Meeting  


Articles (10)

Ciliary muscle dimension changes with accommodation vary in myopia and emmetropia

Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science

2022 Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether accommodation-induced changes in ciliary muscle dimensions vary between emmetropes and myopes, and the effect of the image analysis method. Methods: Seventy adults aged 18 to 27 years consisted of 25 people with emmetropia (spherical equivalent refraction [SER] +0.21 ± 0.36 diopters [D]) and 45 people with myopia (-2.84 ± 1.72 D). There were 23 people with low myopia (>-3 D) and 22 people with moderate myopia (-3 to -6 D). Right eye ciliary muscles were imaged (Visante OCT; Carl Zeiss Meditec) at 0 D and 6 D demands. Measures included ciliary muscle length (CML), ciliary muscle curved length (CMLarc), maximum ciliary muscle thickness (CMTmax), CMT1, CMT2, and CMT3 (fixed distances 1-3 mm from the scleral spur), CM25, CM50, and CM75 (proportional distances 25%-75%). Linear mixed model analysis determined effects of refractive groups, race, and demand on dimensions. Significance was set at P < 0.05.

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The effect of peripheral defocus on axial growth and modulation of refractive error in hyperopes

Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics

2022 Purpose: To establish whether axial growth and refractive error can be modulated in hyperopic children by imposing relative peripheral hyperopic defocus using multifocal soft contact lenses. Methods: A prospective controlled study with hyperopic participants allocated to a control or test group. Control group participants were corrected with single vision spectacles and changes to axial length and refractive error were followed for 3 years. For the test group, axial growth and post-cycloplegic refractive error were observed with participants wearing single vision spectacles for the first 6 months of the trial and then corrected with centre-near multifocal soft contact lenses with a 2.00 D add for 2 years. The central ‘near’ portion of the contact lens corrected distance refractive error while the ‘distance’ portion imposed hyperopic defocus. Participants reverted to single vision spectacles for the final 6 months of the study.

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Characterisation and Modelling of an Artificial Lens Capsule Mimicking Accommodation of Human Eyes


2021 A synthetic material of silicone rubber was used to construct an artificial lens capsule (ALC) in order to replicate the biomechanical behaviour of human lens capsule. The silicone rubber was characterised by monotonic and cyclic mechanical tests to reveal its hyper-elastic behaviour under uniaxial tension and simple shear as well as the rate independence. A hyper-elastic constitutive model was calibrated by the testing data and incorporated into finite element analysis (FEA). An experimental setup to simulate eye focusing (accommodation) of ALC was performed to validate the FEA model by evaluating the shape change and reaction force. The characterisation and modelling approach provided an insight into the intrinsic behaviour of materials, addressing the inflating pressure and effective stretch of ALC under the focusing process. The proposed methodology offers a virtual testing environment mimicking human capsules for the variability of dimension and stiffness, which will facilitate the verification of new ophthalmic prototype such as accommodating intraocular lenses (AIOLs).

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IMI Accommodation and Binocular Vision in Myopia Development and Progression

Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science

2021 The role of accommodation in myopia development and progression has been debated for decades. More recently, the understanding of the mechanisms involved in accommodation and the consequent alterations in ocular parameters has expanded. This International Myopia Institute white paper reviews the variations in ocular parameters that occur with accommodation and the mechanisms involved in accommodation and myopia development and progression.

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An Artificial Lens Capsule with a Lens Radial Stretching System Mimicking Dynamic Eye Focusing


2021 Presbyopia is a common eye disorder among aged people which is attributed to the loss of accommodation of the crystalline lens due to the increasing stiffness. One of the potential techniques to correct presbyopia involves removing the lens substance inside the capsule and replacing it with an artificial lens. The development of such devices, e.g., accommodating intraocular lenses (AIOLs), relies on the understanding of the biomechanical behaviour of the lens capsule and the essential design verification ex vivo.

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Accommodative dynamics and attention: the influence of manipulating attentional capacity on accommodative lag and variability

Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics

2020 There is evidence that attention can modulate ocular dynamics, but its effects on accommodative dynamics have yet to be fully determined. We investigated the effects of manipulating the capacity to focus on task‐relevant stimuli, using two levels of dual‐tasking (arithmetic task) and auditory feedback, on the accommodative dynamics at three different target distances (500, 40 and 20 cm).

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Long-term efficacy and safety of solifenacin in pediatric patients aged 6 months to 18 years with neurogenic detrusor overactivity: results from two phase 3 prospective open-label studies

Journal of Pediatric Urology

2020 The standard recommended treatment for neurogenic detrusor overactivity (NDO) is clean intermittent catheterization combined with an antimuscarinic agent. However, the adverse systemic side-effects of oxybutynin, the most widely used agent, are of concern.

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Effects of Optical Correction Method on the Magnitude and Variability of Accommodative Response: A Test-retest Study

Optometry and Vision Science

2019 The present study addresses the accommodative response and its dependence on the type of optical correction used. The results are discussed relative to their possible implications for myopia progression and visual fatigue.

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Presbyopia: Effectiveness of correction strategies

Progress in Retinal and Eye Research

2019 Presbyopia is a global problem affecting over a billion people worldwide. The prevalence of unmanaged presbyopia is as high as 50% of those over 50 years of age in developing world populations, due to a lack of awareness and accessibility to affordable treatment, and is even as high as 34% in developed countries. Definitions of presbyopia are inconsistent and varied, so we propose a redefinition that states “presbyopia occurs when the physiologically normal age-related reduction in the eye's focusing range reaches a point, when optimally corrected for distance vision, that the clarity of vision at near is insufficient to satisfy an individual's requirements”.

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Optical Coherence Tomography Reveals Sigmoidal Crystalline Lens Changes during Accommodation


2018 This study aimed to quantify biometric modifications of the anterior segment (AS) during accommodation and to compare them against changes in both accommodative demand and response. Thirty adults, aged 18–25 years were rendered functionally emmetropic with contact lenses. AS optical coherence tomography (AS-OCT) images were captured along the 180° meridian (Visante, Zeiss Meditec, Jena, Germany) under stimulated accommodative demands (0–4 D). Images were analysed and lens thickness (LT) was measured, applying a refractive index correction of 1.00.

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