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Karen Hampson is a Senior Lecturer in Optometry. She teaches the first year module OPTO10362 Visual Neurophysiology and Fundamentals of Visual Perception. Her research expertise is developing adaptive optics systems for vision science applications. She uses this technique to test the effect of ocular aberrations on vision and visual function, and also for imaging the retina at the single cell-level. Karen is particularly interested in how adaptive optics retinal imaging technology can be used for pre-symptomatic diagnosis of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disease. 


Karen graduated from Swansea University in 2000 with a Master in Physics degree. Following this she completed a PhD in Physics (Adaptive Optics) at Imperial College in 2004. 

She then worked as a researcher at the Department of Optometry at the University of Bradford where she developed several adaptive optics systems for the eye. Karen completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice and taught visual optics. During her spare time, she trained for two years in Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy at the Leeds Psychotherapy Training Institute.

In 2017 Karen became a researcher in adaptive optics instrumentation at the University of Oxford, where she worked across Engineering Science and Experimental Psychology. She led an EPSRC funded project on pre-symptomatic diagnosis of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disease using the eye. Whilst at Oxford she had a number of teaching responsibilities including senior demonstrator in the 1st year Matlab programming laboratory for the Department of Physics. She was a first year tutor in Physics for Corpus Christie College and part of their admissions team. During her time at Oxford, she obtained a second teaching qualification, a SEDA Professional Development Framework Supporting Learning Award and also trained as a mental health first aider.

In 2019 Karen co-founded and is co-chair of the European Adaptive Optics Summer School. This is an annual school that teaches the foundations of adaptive optics across the fields of vision science, microscopy and astronomy.

Karen joined the University of Manchester as a Senior Lecturer in Optometry in 2022.


  • MPhys - Master in Physics
  • PhD - Physics - Adaptive Optics for Vision Science
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice 

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

External Committees

2021 – Present:  Chair of Optica Applications of Visual Science Technical Group

2020 – Present:  Co-Chair of European Adaptive Optics Summer School Initiative

2019 – 2021:        Optica Edgar D. Tillyer Award Committee Member

2018 – 2020:        Vice Chair of Optica Applications of Visual Science Technical Group 

2018 – 2019:        Groups Committee Member of the Institute of Physics

2015 – 2019:        Optical Group Committee Member of the Institute of Physics

2015 – 2018:        Secretary of the Medical Physics Committee of the Institute of Physics

2013 – 2015:        Yorkshire Branch Committee Member of the Institute of Physics

Membership of Professional Bodies

Memeber of the Institute of Physics 

Senior Member of Optica

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 



  • Adaptive Optics


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