Research Interests: Visual electrophysiology analysis techniques, Visual perception in the ageing visual system, Visual perception in the developing visual system (children's vision), Amblyopia, Colour vision development, Low vision, Visual Impairment, Low vision rehabilitation, Visual impairment, Assistive technology, Health promotion for people with vision impairment
Senior Lecturer at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Director of the Optics and Radiometry Laboratory, School of Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW Sydney, Australia.
Dr Boon graduated in optometry and vision science and was awarded her PhD in the electrophysiological and psychophysical development of colour vision from from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her postdoctoral research studies were at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, in the prevention of injuries of older people with visual impairment and low vision. Her research areas include the development of objective visual electrophysiology analysis techniques, their relationship with perception, visual perception in the developing (children's vision encompassing amlyopia) and the ageing visual system as well as low vision and visual impairment. Dr Boon is a member of the Optometrists Association Australia, a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, a representative for Vision2020 (the Australian peak body for eye and vision care in Australia), an Australian Standards Committee member for spectacles lens standards and a nominated representative for Australia on the International Organization for Standardization.
- Certificate in Clinical Electrophysiology (International Society of Clinical Electrophysiology and Vision, Fremantle, Australia)
- PhD, Thesis entitled 'Electrophysiological and Psychophysical Assessment of Colour Vision Development' (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
- BOptom(Hons) (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
My research is focused on improving visual health in children and adults with visual conditions such as amblyopia, convergence insufficiency, diabetes and low vision.
Research in Detail
Optimising visual electrophysiology techniques
Visual electrophysiology allows us to study processing at the level of the retina (Electroretinograms) as well as the visual cortex (visual evoked potentials). They offer a direct insight into the function of the visual system which is complementary to what can be learned using psychophysical techniques, which probe the relationship between physical stimulation and perception. Children's visual processing is particularly challenging to analyse as it is still developing so techniques used in adults cannot be interpreted similarly in children. Current research is aimed at characterising electrophysiological systems using both objective and manual techniques and understanding their relationship with perception. One arm of our research is looking at how best to differentiate between normally and abnormally developing systems. Main applications will be in paediatric optometry and ophthalmology, particularly in monitoring the effects of conventional and novel treatments for amblyopia. Major collaborators are paediatric ophthalmologists in Sydney and Singapore.
How psychophysics can be used to assess vision and progression of eye diseases
Eye diseases examined include glaucoma, AMD, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy or vision loss due to occupational hazards such as exposure to organic solvents. Foci of research have centred on understanding how behavioural psychophysics can be used to assess the vision and progression of eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes, AMD and retinitis pigmentosa or vision loss due to occupational hazards such as exposure to organic solvents. Current research emphasises the development and refinement of ability to assess contrast and colour sensitivity losses and their impact on complex behaviours which rely on these inputs, such as driving, walking and falls. One tool is the UNSW Colour Vision Suite (available on the iOS app store - see https://itunes.apple.com/mn/app/unsw-colour-vision-suite/id1436464364?mt=8), developed in conjunction with Dr Lakshmi Bodduluri, Emeritus Professor Stephen Dain and Dr Malcolm Ryan (Department of Computing, Macquarie University).
How people with low vision interact with the built environment
Major national collaborators are Emeritus Prof. Stephen Dain (Optics and Radiatometry Laboratory, UNSW), Associate Professor Catherine Bridge (Faculty of the Built Environment), Associate Professor Gregg Suaning and Dr Marc Zapf (Australian Vision Prosthesis Group, UNSW), Associate Professor John Grigg (Save Sight Institute), Mark Relf (Access Consultant and Standards Australia committee member. The projects arising from these collaborations include how people with low vision interact with the built environment and how visual prostheses, such as the bionic eye, or building specifications may be used to improve this interaction.
Low vision rehabilitation referral pathways, timing and accessibility
Dr Mei Ying Boon and Associate Professor Isabelle Jalbert have been working on ways to improve low vision rehabilitation referral pathways and timing using Australia as a model. A large part of this work is focussed on injury prevention in older people with vision impairment so as to raise quality of life and function. Health promotion strategies to assist clinicians are a more recent focus in this work. Major collaborators are Dr Byoung Sun Chu (Visiting Fellow, UNSW) and Assoc. Prof. Catherine Bridge (Faculty of the Built Environment, UNSW).
Vision training and plasticity of the visual system
This research aims to understand normal and abnormal visual development, particularly in relation to amblyopia, the treatment response and visual system plasticity, with the aim of improving vision.
Current and Recently Completed Student Projects (PhD, Masters, MPhil, Honours)
- Cortical processing in refractive amblyopic children who are responders and non-responders to refractive treatment.
- Cortical processing in amblyopic children in response to treatment.
- Visual health in children with and without type 1 diabetes
- Understanding patient perspective about timing of referrals for low vision rehabilitation
- Relative rates of visual function development over the lifespan
- Games for visual health, colour vision assessment, convergence training, mobility assessment
Please contact Dr Boon to find out more about research opportunities. They may include the following:
- The effect of interventions for amblyopia on signal processing in the visual cortex
- Patient-centric chronic care plans for optometry patients with visual impairment
- Evaluation of health promotion strategies for preventing injuries in older people with vision impairment.
- Visual and retinal function in young and older adults with Type 1 diabetes mellitus
TEACHING & OUTREACH
Courses I teach
- Low vision
- Ageing and development of the visual system
Professional affiliations and service positions
- Senior Lecturer, Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW
- Director, Optics and Radiometry Laboratory
- International Organisation for Standardisation, Australian representative
- Australian Standards Committee, Spectacles
- Vision2020 representative
- Member of the Optometrists Association Australia
- Registered optometrist in Australia
- Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry
- Member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
- Member of the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology and Vision
AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS
- UNSW Goldstar Award, 2008, 2015
- ISCEV travel grant, Glasgow, 2005
- Journal of Teaching Practice Award, Singapore Polytechnic, 2000
- Young Investigator Award - Merit (Optometry/Paraclinical) at the 2000 Singapore National Eye Research Meeting in association with the 34th Singapore-Malaysia congress of Medicine/Combined Hospitals Medical and Dental Scientific Meeting
- Development and maturation of the visual system, amblyopia, colour vision
- Visual electrophysiology, visual psychophysics, detection of brain abnormalities
- Falls risk and low vision