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Professor Rupert Bourne

Professor of Ophthalmology

Vision and Eye Research Institute

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

Rupert Bourne is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Cambridge University Hospitals and Director of Cambridge Eye Research Centre. He is the National Speciality Lead for Ophthalmology for the National Institute for Health Clinical Research Network.

[email protected]


Rupert trained at Moorfields Eye Hospital and undertook two glaucoma fellowships, one there and another at the Shiley Eye Centre/Hamilton Glaucoma Center in San Diego, California.

He is the Chair of the National Institute for Health Research Ophthalmology Speciality Group, responsible for NHS research delivery. In his role as Coordinator of the Vision Loss Expert Group of the Global Burden of Disease Study, he has overseen the long-term research into worldwide prevalence rates of blindness and visual impairment, in partnership with the World Health Organization.

Spoken Languages

  • French
  • English

Research interests

Rupert has a strong research interest, particularly in advanced techniques of glaucoma diagnosis and progression and the management of glaucoma in the community, along with overseas ophthalmology which has involved design and analysis of several large population-based surveys of eye disease, some national in scope, eg Pakistan, Bangladesh and Trinidad.

Rupert has set up several de novo glaucoma clinical research studies in the UK as chief investigator and has been principal investigator of more than 15 multi-centre clinical trials. Additionally he has served in a supervisory role and as Chair of Steering Committees of major national studies.

Areas of research supervision

Supervised several PhD, MD and MSc students to completion as primary supervisor.


Regularly teaches medical students, optometry students and ophthalmology residents and fellows on local, regional and national teaching programmes and conferences. Faculty of European Glaucoma Society, European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology and World Glaucoma Association.


  • 2005 – Degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), University of London. Entitled: “The morphology of the optic nerve head in two representative South-east Asian populations”. Awarded 31.1.05
  • 2003 – Royal College of Ophthalmologists Exit Examination.
  • 1999 – Final FRCOphth. Fellow Royal College of Ophthalmologists, UK
  • 1996 – Part II.  FRCOphth
  • 1996 – Part I. FRCOphth
  • 1994 -  MB BS. University of London, UK
  • 1993 - United States Medical Licensing Examination Steps 1 & 2
  • 1991 – First Class Honours Bachelor of Science degree (Pathology and Basic Medical Sciences)

Memberships, editorial boards

  • The Royal College of Ophthalmologists
  • The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • World Glaucoma Association
  • European Glaucoma Society
  • European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology
  • Section Editor for Eye, the journal of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists


  • 2003 - Winner of Royal Society of Medicine; Ophthalmology section: best overall presentation
  • 2003 - Pharmacia ARVO Travel Award
  • 2000 - Singapore National Eye Centre conference. (oral presentation). Best paper award. The Use of the Heidelberg Retinal Tomograph - II in a population-based glaucoma survey
  • 1993 - The Medical Society of London (Sir John McNee Bequest) award for medical elective: Vaccination rates in Moscovite children. Report published in Transactions of this Society. Also for medical elective work: 3M Riker Prize & ICI Prize
  • 1993 - George Riddoch Prize for Neurology

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

As Chief or Principal Investigator (CI/PI)
  • Studies involving OCT & HRT & SLP: diagnostic precision; backwards compatibility. Heidelberg Engineering, TFC Frost.
  • UK Glaucoma Treatment Study: site PI (NIHR 5739). Pfizer.
  • Comparative study of new imaging technologies for the diagnosis of glaucoma: the GATE study, site PI. NIHR HTA.
  • MD thesis. Optic nerve morphology in East Asian populations. International Glaucoma Association.
  • Investigating Management of Angle Closure and Treatment study: IMPACT, CI (NIHR 8955). Allergan; NIHR-FSF.
  • Effectiveness in Angle closure Glaucoma of Lens Extraction: EAGLE, site PI. MRC funded.
  • Health Innovation Education Cluster project: Glaucoma Referral refinement pathways in the UK. UK Government: HIEC programme (ARU & UCL collaboration).
  • The Community & Glaucoma Allied Network Glaucoma Evaluation Scheme: CHANGES, CI: Allergan: Diagnostic Innovations Award 2007.
  • Precision Tasks in patients with Glaucoma: collaboration with ARU. NIHR-FSF funding.
  • 24-hour IOP in newly diagnosed glaucoma: collaboration with Papworth sleep laboratory. NIHR-FSF funding & Dora Brown bequest.
  • Prevalence of Sleep Apnoea in Glaucoma: POSAG. NIHR portfolio study with Papworth Sleep Centre, CI. Fight for Sight.
  • Electronic Records – User Requirements, Usability and Workflow Impact: CI (NIHR:12694). UK Government Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant and Medisoft Ltd.
  • Patient Outcome & Experience Measures: PI & CI of recent validation NIHR portfolio study. International Glaucoma Association.
  • The National Ophthalmology Database: Glaucoma Project. International Glaucoma Association.
  • Genetics of Glaucoma: National Eye Survey of Trinidad & Tobago, Co-CI. Govt T&T.
  • Everyday Activities and Fear of Falling in Glaucoma. Fight for Sight, UK.
  • Correlation of signs and symptoms of OSD in Glaucoma. International Glaucoma Association/RCN grant.
  • Contribution of Vision Loss to Global Burden of Disease: Lead for Vision Loss Expert Gp. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Fight for Sight UK.
  • Maintenance of global database on Vision Loss & Visualisations Project. Brien Holden Vision Institute.
  • Pakistan National Eye Survey: CI: Sightsavers International, WHO. Fred Hollows Foundation, Christen Blinden Mission.
  • Bangladesh National Eye Survey: CI: Sightsavers International. British Council for Prevention Blindness.
  • National Eye Survey of Trinidad & Tobago. Co-CI. Govt Trinidad & Tobago; Fight for Sight UK.
  • Prevalence of Glaucoma in Thailand, CI. IGA.
  • Angle closure in Greenland. CI. Gino Watkins Memorial Fund. TFC Frost. Grosserer Christian Andersen og hustru Ingeborg Ovidia Signe Andersen, født Schmidts Legat.

Selected recent publications

You can view details of Rupert's recent publications in the following places:

Recent presentations and conferences

As invited speaker/session chair/organiser

Integrating Research into Clinical Practice. R&D Symposium Hinchingbrooke House, 5 April 2017.

Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology, 5-11 May 2017

Investigator Meeting Aerie Pharmaceuticals: The MERCURY Study, 19 May 2017.

Royal College of Ophthalmologists Annual Congress 2017, 23-24 May 2017.

European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology, 29 June 2017.

World Galucoma Association Congress, 30 June-1 July 2017.

Retina International meeting at EURETINA, 7 September 2017.

European Glaucoma Society Faculty Members Meeting, 8-9 September 2017.

Global Burden of Disease 20th Anniversary Celebratory Conference, 25-27 September 2017.

European Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, 6-10 October 2017.

Steering Committee Meeting for EDNA HTA study, 24 September 2017.

Asia Angle Closure Club, 22-29 November 2017.

AVICCS 2017 – UK-China British Council Researcher Links Workshop: Auditory and Visual Impairments, their Impact and Community Care, 30 November-1 December 2017.

Sustainability in Glaucoma Services, 17 January 2018.

100% Optical conference, 27-29 January 2018.

Sociedad Mexicana de Oftalmología (SMO) y de la misma Asociación Panamericana de Oftalmología (PAAO), 28 Feburary-3 March 2018.

Global Vision Database, Queens University Belfast teaching, 6 March 2018.

Glaucoma Course: European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology, 13 March 2018.

RCOphth NIHR Masterclass, 10 April 2018.

Italian Glaucoma Society, 12-13 April 2018.

Translational Medicine in Ophthalmology: From Theory to Practice, 20 April 2018.

Fight for Sight: Grants Assessment Panel, 24 April 2018.

Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology, 28 April-4 May 2018.

England Vision Strategy conference, 17 May 2018.

European Glaucoma Society, 19-22 May 2018.

RCOphth College Congress NIHR Symposium, 23 May 2018.

E3 European Consortium, 8 June 2018.

World Ophthalmology Congress, 16-19 June 2018.

RCOphth Academic SubCommittee, 20 June 2018.

Haag-Streit UK Glaucoma Symposium, 22 June 2018.

NIHR CRN National Ophthalmology Specialty Group Meeting, 7 September 2018.

XXIII Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research, 10 September 2018.

Manchester Glaucoma Meeting, 19 September 2018.

Regional Ophthalmology teaching: NIHR Roadshow, 5 October 2018.

European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology Retina Academy, 12 October 2018.<

Glaucoma Course: European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology, 22 October 2018.

American Academy of Ophthalmology, 27-30 October 2018.

Media experience

Rupert regularly gives television, radio interviews and webinars.