Prof Peter Allen

Professor of Optometry and Visual Science, Director of Clinics

Visual Function and Physiology Research Group

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology

Department:Vision and Hearing Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Health, social care and medical innovation

Peter is the Head of our Visual Function and Physiology Research group. His areas of expertise include refractive error development, vision and reading, vision in sports and visual function in specialist populations.

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Peter is the Professor of Optometry and Visual Science. In his research Peter collaborates with colleagues in the UK and in Australia, India, America, Holland, US and Germany. He is an assessor and examiner for the College of Optometrists.

In 2013 Peter was awarded the Neil Charman Medal, one of the most prestigious awards in optical research, in recognition of his work on visual stress and the link between reading difficulties and perceptual distortion.

Research interests

  • Myopia
  • Reading difficulties
  • Visual function in specialist groups

Areas of research supervision

  • Myopia
  • Vision in specialist populations including people who are deaf, people with autism and people with reading difficulties
  • Sports vision


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BOptom (Hons) Optometry

External Examiner

2015-2019 University of Ulster external examiner for the BSc Hons Optometry programme
2015-2019 Cardiff University external examiner for postgraduate taught programmes


  • PhD, Anglia Ruskin University
  • BSc (Hons) Ophthalmic Optics, City University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow, the College of Optometrists
  • Fellow, the Higher Education Academy
  • Council Member and on the Board of Trustees, the College of Optometrists

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

2015 Long-term adaptation to coloured spectacle lenses P.M.Allen College of Optometrists: £2000
2014 Visual Impairment Shooting Classification Project. P.M.Allen, J. Myint. International Paralympic Committee: EU8000
2013 Diagnosis and treatment of visual and visuoperceptual anomalies in autism spectrum conditions. A.K. Ludlow, P.M. Allen, A. Franklin, D.R. Simmons, A.J. Wilkins. Action Medical Research £128,000 
2013 The practical work of the optometrist 2: communication skills in optometry D. vom Lehn, C. Heath, W. Gibson, P.M. Allen, B.J.W. Evans ESRC: Research Grant £56,000
2011 Objective correlates of Visual Stress and the development of an evidence-based protocol. P.M. Allen. College of Optometrists: £55,000
2009 P.M.Allen. Anglia Research Enhancement Competition: £3,000
2004-9 Human Antimyopia project. D.J. O'Leary. (P.M. Allen, H. Radhakrishnan, S. Pardhan, R.I. Calver, E. Osuobeni). Commonwealth of Australia Vision Cooperative Research Centre grant: £220,000

Selected recent publications

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Publications in peer reviewed research journals:

Mann, D.L., Runswick. O. and Allen, P.M. (2016) Are cricket batsmen being taught to bat back-to-front? Sports Medicine. (In press)

Monger, L., Shah, D., Wilkins, A.J. and Allen, P.M. (2016) The effect of viewing distance on responses to the Pattern Glare Test. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 99, 47-50.

Myint, J., Latham, K., Mann, D., Gomersall, P., Wilkins, A.J. and Allen, P.M. (2016) The relationship between visual function and performance in rifle shooting for athletes with visual impairment. BMJ Open Sports & Exercise Medicine 2:e000080 doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2015-000080

McGonicle, C., van der Linde, I., Pardhan, S., Engel, S., Mallen, E. and Allen, P.M. (2016) Myopes experience greater contrast adaptation during reading. Vision Research, 121, 1-9

Sivaraman, V., Rizwana, J.H., Ramani, K.K., Price H., Calver, R.I., Pardhan, P.,Vasudevan. B., and Allen, PM. (2015) Near-work induced transient myopia in Indian subjects. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 98, 541-546.
Monger, L., Wilkins, A.J. and Allen, P.M. (2015) Pattern glare: the effects of contrast and color. Frontiers in Psychology. 27th October 2015, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01651
Beukes, E., Manchaiah, V., Allen, P.M., Baguley, D., Andersson, G. (2015) Internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy for adults with tinnitus in the United Kingdom: Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, ;5:e008241.23
Evans, B.J.W, Allen, P.M. and Wilkins, A.J. (2015) Vision is relevant to reading. Pediatrics eLetter, June 4th.
Hollingsworth, R., Ludlow, A., Wilkins, A.J., Calver, R.I. and Allen, P.M. (2015). Visual defects and the use of coloured filters in children who are deaf. Optometry and Vison Science, 92, 690-699.
Monger, L., Wilkins, A.J. and Allen, P.M. (2015). Identifying visual stress during a routine eye examination. Journal of Optometry, 8, 140-145.
Gilchrist, J.M. and Allen, P.M. (2015) Lexical decision in adults with low and high susceptibility to pattern-related visual stress: a preliminary investigation. Frontiers in Psychology 14 April 2015, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00449
Evans, B.J.W. and Allen, P.M. (2014). Treating reading difficulties with colour - response. BMJ Clinical Research, 349, G5882 2014
Hollingsworth, R., Ludlow, A., Wilkins, A.J., Calver, R.I. and Allen, P.M. (2014). Visual performance in deaf children: A literature review. Acta Ophthalmologica, 92, 305-310.
Price, H.C., Allen, P.M., Radhakrishnan, H., Calver, R.I., Rae, S., Theagarayan, B., Sailoganathan, A., and O’Leary, D.J. (2013). The Cambridge Anti-Myopia Study; Variables associated with myopia progression. Optometry and Vision Science, 90, 1274-1283.
Latham, L., Chung, S.T.L., Allen, P.M., Tavasolli, T. and Baron-Cohen, S. (2013) Spatial localisation in autism: evidence for differences in early cortical visual processing. Molecular Autism 4, 4.
Allen, P.M., Radhakrishnan, H., Price, H., Rae, S., Theagarayan, B., Calver, R.I., Sailoganathan, A., Latham, K. and O’Leary, D.J. (2013). A randomised clinical trial to assess the effect of a dual treatment on myopia progression: The Cambridge Anti-Myopia Study. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 33, 267-76.
Radhakrishnan, H., Allen, P.M., Calver, R.I., Theagarayan, B., Price, H., Rae, S., Sailoganathan, A., and O’Leary, D.J. (2013). Peripheral refractive changes associated with myopia progression. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 54, 1573-1581.
Haigh, S.M., Jaschinski, J., Allen, P.M. and Wilkins, A.J. (2013). Accommodation to uncomfortable patterns. Perception, 42, 208-222.
Allen, P.M., Dedi, S., Kumar, D., Patel, T., Aloo, M. and Wilkins, A.J. (2012). Accommodation, pattern glare and coloured overlays. Perception, 41, 1458-1467.
Allen, P.M., Hussain, A., Usherwood, C. and Wilkins, A.J. (2010). Pattern-related visual stress, chromaticity and accommodation. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 51, 6843-6849.  
Allen, P.M., Charman, W.N. and Radhakrishnan, H. (2010).  Changes in dynamics of accommodation after accommodative facility training in myopes and emmetropes. Vision Research, 50, 947-955.
Allen, P.M., Radhakrishnan, H., Rae, S., Calver, R.I., Theagarayan, B.T., Nelson, P., Osuobeni, E., Sailaganathan, A, Price, H. and O’Leary, D.J. (2009). Aberration control and vision training as an effective means of improving accommodation in myopes. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 50, 5120-5129.
Rae, S., Allen, P.M., Radhakrishnan, H., Theagarayan, B.T., Price, H, Sailaganathan, A, Calver, R.I. and O’Leary, D.J. (2009). Increasing negative spherical aberration with soft contact lenses improves high and low contrast visual acuity in young adults. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 29, 593-601

Theagarayan, B.B., Radhakrishnan, H., Allen, P.M., Calver, R.I., Rae, S.R. and O’Leary D.J. (2009) The effect of altering spherical aberration on the static accommodative response. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics , 29, 65-71.  
Allen, P.M., Gilchrist, J.M. and Hollis, J. (2008) Use of visual search in the assessment of pattern-related visual stress and its alleviation by coloured filters. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 49, 4210-4218.

P.M. Allen and J. Hollis (2008) Meares-Irlen syndrome - a need for increasing awareness in the general public - Reply. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 28, 291-292.
Hollis, J., Allen, P.M., Fleischman, D. and Aulak, R. (2007) Personality dimensions of people who suffer from  Visual Stress. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 27, 603-610.
Radhakrishnan, H., Allen, P.M. and Charman, W.N. (2007) Dynamics of accommodative facility in myopes.  Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 48, 4375-4382.
Hollis, J. and Allen, P.M. (2006) Screening for Meares-Irlen Sensitivity in Adults: Can assessment methods predict changes in reading speed? Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 26, 566-571.
Allen, P.M. and O’Leary, D.J (2006) Accommodation functions: Co-dependency and relationship to refractive error. Vision Research, 46, 491-505.
Allen, P.M., Radhakrishnan, H. and O’Leary, D.J. (2003) Repeatability and Validity of the PowerRefractor and the Nidek AR600-A in an adult population with healthy eyes. Optometry and Vision Science, 80, 245-251.
O’Leary, D.J. and Allen, P.M. (2001). Facility of accommodation in myopia. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 21, 352-355.

Publications in peer reviewed professional journals:

Webb, H., Allen, P.M. (2015). Effective practitioner-patient communication in domiciliary eye care visits. The Optician (14th October)

Burns, D.H., Evans, B.J.W. and Allen, P.M. (2014). Clinical measurement of amplitude of accommodation: a review. Optometry in Practice, 15, 75-86.

Webb, H., vom Lehn, D., Evans, B., Allen, P.M. (2014). Communication: part 1 – soliciting information from the patient Optometry Today (14th March)

Webb, H., vom Lehn, D, Allen, P.M., Evans, B. (2014) Communication: part 2 – delivering findings and advice to the patient

Allen, P.M., Evans, B.J.W and Wilkins, A.J. (2012). The uses of colour in optometric practice to ameliorate symptoms of visual stress. Optometry in Practice, 13, 1-8.

Allen, P.M. and Radhakrishnan, H. (2010). Myopia (Part 1). The Optician (22nd October)

Allen, P.M., Evans, B.J.W. and Wilkins, A.J. (2009) Vision and reading difficulties part 5: Clinical protocol and the role of the eye-care practitioner. Optometry Today (22nd May)

Wilkins, A.J., Allen, P.M. and Evans, B.J.W. (2009) Vision and reading difficulties part 4: Coloured filters: Evidence and mechanisms. Optometry Today (24th April)