The Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction (NICER) 2.0 Study

Quantifying the Impact of Modern Lifestyles on Children’s Eye Health Study.

Project Information

Are you or your child’s other parent myopic (short-sighted)?

Are you interested in finding out more about how your child’s lifestyle might affect their eyes and vision?

What is the study about

Research conducted in other parts of the world suggests that ‘lifestyle’ factors such as the amount of time children spend on smartphones/tablets, how active they are, and how much time they spend outdoors may affect eye health and vision.

We want to find out if this is true for children living in Northern Ireland.

Who do we need

We are recruiting children aged 6-8 years, especially those who are already short-sighted or have short-sighted parents (if a child’s parents are short-sighted, this is increases the risk of the child becoming short-sighted).

What are we asking for

Participants would attend the Ulster University Coleraine or Magee Campus for a 1-hour visit where we will take a few measurements including:

  • Visions (aided and unaided if spectacles worn)
  • Eye muscle balance tests
  • Body measurements
  • Cycloplegic autorefraction (to find out the participants accurate prescription with the aid of eye drops)
  • Ocular biometry measures (eye length and shape measures)

Then, depending on the amount of long- or short-sightedness found, we will monitor the child’s physical activity, sleep patterns, time spent outdoors, study habits and how much time they spend using smartphones/tablets.

We do this with apps and wearable devices which they will use for one week. One is wristworn like a FitBit and the other is attached to the child’s glasses or ‘dummy’ glasses if they do not usually wear glasses. At the end of this week the devices are returned to the University (5-min visit).

During your visits to the University we will adhere to the strict Covid-19 related sanitisation, PPE and social-distancing regulations in force on the campus.

How could you benefit

Your child will have their refractive error (prescription) assessed thoroughly and you will have access to a qualified Optometrist and further eye health advice.

Want to take part, or want more information?

Email the research Optometrist Colleen Howell ( or phone/message 07562625164.

We really appreciate your time.

Chief Investigator: Professor Kathryn Saunders (

This study has been ethically approved Ulster University Research Ethics Committee.

Register Your Interest

   Register your interest by 30th Mar 2021.

Register your interest

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