David Hillel Burns is a consultant optometrist with wide experience and understanding of the science of eyesight. His current area of research is the focusing range of the eye, and how it changes as the years go by. Children can normally see well over a great range of distances, from just a few inches away to beyond the horizon. That marvellous adaptation (known as ‘accommodation’) gradually goes as we grow up so that, by middle age, the range of focus is almost completely lost. David has invented a simple measure of accommodation that is far more accurate than any before and is researching its application, at London South Bank University.
His previous areas of special research interest included the subject of computers (with City University). Do they affect the eyes and, if so, how? How are they best viewed? David’s work in this field revolutionised specs for deskwork. He led a team that took a look at the possibility of drug-prescribing by community opticians, producing groundbreaking results published in the 1990’s. David believes that research in practice can help everyone to see better and describes that as his ‘mission’. For example, the work with computer users led to RangeReaders – a spectacle lens giving maximum performance for deskwork. Everyone’s eyes are different, and individuals who would benefit from these advanced lenses can find out and discuss them with David at an appointment.
He has worked in Sri Lanka where contact lenses took six weeks to arrive, and Bolivia in the high-altitude shanty town El Alto. In that thin atmosphere, the Bolivian national football team won all their home matches!