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Lee McIlreavy

Dr Lee McIlreavy


School of Optometry and Vision Sciences

+44 29208 70134
Optometry and Vision Sciences, Room Room 3.01, Maindy Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
Available for postgraduate supervision


I conduct basic research, using eye tracking and computer-based tasks, to investigate visual function and motion perception resulting from normal and abnormal development of the human visual system.

All visual input must be processed by the retinas before transmission to the visual cortex of the brain. However, eye movements are constantly directing our retinas to different objects in the environment. Yet, despite this incessant motion, the environment is usually perceived as stationary.  

A number of neuro-ophthamic conditions can produce continuous, pathological oscillations of the eyes (a sign called nystagmus) that may or may not result in an illusory motion of the environment (a symptom called oscillopsia).

The objective of my current research is to relate eye movements to measures of visual function and motion perception, in those with and without nystagmus, in an effort to better understand the perception of stationarity, oscillopsia and the consequences of inappropriate motion of the eyes


















Research Groups

Research Unit for Nystagmus (OPTOM)
Down's Syndrome Vision Research Unit (OPTOM)
Perception & Action (PSYCH)


2021: JT Erichsen, L Mcilreavy, MJ Dunn, JM Woodhouse, £4,000 “Development of an eye tracking system for assessment in the home", Nystagmus Network

2020: L Mcilreavy, £2,351 “Novel fixation stimuli to aid fixation performance over an extended duration", Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP)

2019: L Mcilreavy, JT Erichsen, £30,000 “Oculomotor control and visual perception during pursuit eye movements in the presence infantile nystagmus”, IN-vision UK

2019: JT Erichsen, RG Wise, MJ Dunn, L Mcilreavy, PhD studentship, "Infantile nystagmus: Exploring the causes and establishing better measures of visual performance”, College of Optometrists UK

2019: R Paterson, L Mcilreavy, J Cable, £2,500, "Out of sight: do eye flukes alter predator-prey interactions?", NERC/GW4 FRESH CDT Research Experience Placement

2019: MJ Dunn, L Mcilreavy, T Redmond, £2,258, "Investigating the role of perceived depth on visual crowding”, Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP)

2019: KJ Peall, L Mcilreavy, PhD studentship, "Use of technological platforms to enhance phenotypic understanding in primary dystonia", KESS2/Aparito

2018: L Mcilreavy, £36,130, "Spectacle lens wearer test – subjective assessment of two types of lens", Essilor International, 

2018: KJ Peall, L Mcilreavy, £15,000, "A comprehensive assessment of motor and non-motor symptoms in primary blepharospasm to aid stratification of disorder phenotypes", Fight for Sight / The Dystonia Society joint small grant award

2017: KJ Peall, L Mcilreavy, MJ Dunn, JT Erichsen, £5,000, "Characterisation of ocular motor function in adult-onset cervical dystonia", Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI) Seed Corn Funding

2017: L Mcilreavy, £11,015, "Diagnosing infantile nystagmus: A novel eye tracking approach", Fight for Sight / Nystagmus Network joint small grant award

2016: L Mcilreavy, £18,550, "Perceptual 'windows' in the presence of involuntary eye movement", College of Optometrists UK Research Fellowship

2016: L Mcilreavy, £1,600, "A low cost tool to aid diagnosis of eye movement disorders", Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP)

2015: L Mcilreavy, £1,600, "Fixation performance over an extended duration: development of novel fixation stimuli for clinical use", Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP)

2013: JT Erichsen, TCA Freeman, L Mcilreavy, £14,350, "Understanding the oscillopsia in nystagmus to provide a basis for treatment", Fight for Sight / Nystagmus Network joint small grant award


Current undergraduate teaching

  • OP0204 Optometric physics (Lecturer)
  • OP1202 Optometric dispensing and appliances (Module leader) 
  • OP2201 Clinical studies and dispensing (Lecturer)
  • OP3205 Occupational optometry, law and business (Lecturer)
  • OP3107 Research in optometry and vision science (Project supervisor)

Previous postgraduate teaching

  • WOPEC refraction certificate for ophthalmologists (Lecturer)

Previous undergraduate teaching

  • OP2204 Binocular vision and optometric neurophysiology (Practical teaching)




Undergraduate education

  • 2004-2007 BSc (Hons) Optometry, Ulster University

Postgraduate education

  • 2012-2015 PhD (Vision Sciences), Cardiff University, supervised by Professor Jonathan T. Erichsen (School of Optometry and Vision Sciences) and Professor Tom C.A. Freeman (School of Psychology)

Professional memberships

  • Registered with the General Optical Council (GOC)
  • Member of the College of Optometrists (MCOptom)
  • Member of the Association of Optometrists (AOP)
  • Member of the Applied Vision Association (AVA)
  • Member of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Academic positions

  • 2015 - present: Lecturer, Cardiff University
  • 2012 - 2015: Postgratuate clinical demonstrator, Cardiff University
  • 2008 - 2010: Research fellow with Professor Peter Bex, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
  • 2007 - 2008: Pre-registration optometrist, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London


  • Eye movements
  • Eye tracking
  • Visual perception
  • Spatial vision

Current supervision

Katherine Ward

Katherine Ward

Research student

Viktor Nedelchev

Viktor Nedelchev

Research student

Onyeka Amiebenomo

Onyeka Amiebenomo

Research student

Research themes


  • Eye tracking
  • Eye movements
  • Smooth pursuit
  • Saccades
  • Spatial vision