Catherine Willshire

Postgraduate research student

Vision and Eye Research Institute

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
Areas of Expertise:
Vision and eye research

Catherine’s current interests are in tear pathophysiology-including dry eye disease. She is also interested in Sjögren syndrome and contact lens fitting.


For the last 12 years Catherine has worked as an optometrist in independent optical practices. Catherine briefly worked for a refractive laser company, seeing patients who had undergone laser treatment and replacement lens exchange, and spent 18 months working in the Cataract Clinic at Addenbrooke’s Eye Hospital. 

Alongside working in independent practice, Catherine also works as a Research Optometrist at Hinchingbrooke Hospital where she is involved in studies for Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and ocular surface disease. Catherine is also studying at Anglia Ruskin University with our Vision and Eye Research Institute (VERI) for a PhD in Optometry.

Research interests

  • Tear pathophysiology
  • Dry eye disease
  • Sjögrens Syndrome
  • Contact lenses

Tear pathophysiology investigates the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of the ocular surface and the consequences of a break down in the homeostatic control – resulting in dry eye disease amongst other conditions.

Dry eye disease is a common disabling condition that can be exacerbated by everyday tasks such as using a computer, reading or driving and can depend on the ambient environment. It is a chronic condition that significantly affects quality of life.

Sjögren syndrome (SjS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder where the lacrimal and salivary glands are major targets leading to symptoms of dry eye and dry mouth (sicca symptoms).

Contact lenses for different complex eye conditions such as Keratoconus or challenging prescriptions are of interest. Also, how the contact lenses interact with the ocular surface relating to comfort and vision especially.


  • (Hons) Optometry 2:1, Cardiff University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member of the General Optical Council
  • Member College of optometrists
  • Member of Association of Optometrists
  • Member of British Contact Lens Association

Selected recent publications

Willshire, C., Buckley, R.J. And Bron, A.J., 2017. Central Connections of the Lacrimal Functional Unit. Cornea 2017; 00: 1–10.

Recent presentations and conferences

  • EVER Conference, October 2015, Nice, France. Standardising the Schirmer Test by Enclosing the Strip in a Waterproof Sheath.
  • TFOS Symposium, September 2016, Monpellier, France. Central Connections of the Lacrimal Functional Unit.
  • EVER Conference, September 2017, Nice France. Estimating Basal Tear Osmolarity in Normal and Dry Eye Sockets.