Dr Nicola Szostek

Dr Nicola Szostek

Lecturer in Optometry

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)

Nicola can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Optometry
  • Eye health care
  • Sight test
  • Presbyopia
  • Optometry education
  • Eye aging

Lecturer in Optometry

Lead Admissions Tutor for BSc (hons) Optometry

Previous Roles
3rd Year Tutor
Optometry Clinic Coordinator


Nicola Szostek graduated from Cardiff University with a BSc Optometry in 2009 and worked in a variety of roles in community practice for four years, including a secondment as an Optometrist Practice Manager. In 2013 Nicola became a Clinical Demonstrator at Aston University, which sparked an interest in teaching and academia. Later that year Nicola joined the University of Plymouth to undertake a postgraduate research position studying for a PhD entitled; 'Ocular Accommodation in Humans'. Alongside her research Nicola taught on first year and second year undergraduate modules at the University of Plymouth, whilst continuing to work in optometric practice.   

Following the awarding of her PhD in 2017 Nicola joined the academic team at Plymouth full-time and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Nicola has taught across all three years of the optometry programme and on postgraduate modules, she has a specialist interests in teaching ocular pharmacology and disease, law and ethics and clinical case management. 

Nicola's broad active research interests include: optometric public health and the accessibility of eye care, accommodation and the ciliary muscle, and the influence of lifestyle of ocular ageing.  She has a number of national and international peer-reviewed journal publications, having presented her research internationally in the USA, Australia and Europe.

Nicola is a self-professed perpetual learner having recently completed a Diploma in Independent Prescribing, and currently learning British Sign Language. 

Professional membership

Association of Optometrists
College of Optometrists
Registered with the General Optical Council

Roles on external bodies

Education Visitor Panel member for the General Optical Council

Alcon Scholar

Teaching interests

Current Module Lead for
OPT604 Clinical Case Management Pharmacology and Ophthalmic Drugs

OPT507 Introduction to Pathology and Therapeutics (Interim Module Lead)

Previous Module Lead
OPT302 General Optometric Practice

Previous Module Teacher for
OPT402/OPT105 Clinical Optometry Skills 1
SoHP401 Preparation for Professional Practice
OPT 201 Clinical Optometry Skills 2
OPT 202 Specialist Skills (including contact lenses)

Also contributed too
PARA301 Refining Practitioner Skills for Patient Care
ADV710 Pathomechanics and the Rehabilitation of Gait and Balance (Post-graduate module)

Research interests

Optometric Public Health
  • Accessibility of eye care services for: marginalised groups, ocular emergencies, rural and coastal communities.
  • Public perception of eye care and optometrists

Accommodation and presbyopia
  • Clinical uses of the Accommodative Facility Test
  • Ageing of the crystalline lens and ciliary body
  • Effects of nutrition, UV exposure, smoking and exercise on the ageing of the crystalline lens/development of presbyopia

Grants & contracts

College of Optometrist Undergraduate Research Scholarship 2018 - £2000


Szostek, N, Buckhurst, H, Purslow, C, Drew, T, Collinson, A, & Buckhurst, P. (2018). Validation of Novel Metrics from the Accommodative Dynamic Profile. Vision. 2. 34.

Conference Papers

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology: May 2018, Honolulu USA 

Szostek N, Buckhurst H, Purslow C, Collinson A, and Buckhurst P. 2018 In vivo assessment of ciliary muscle morphology using swept source optical coherence tomography. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 59 (9) 2948. 

British Congress for Optometry and Vision Science: September 2016, Ulster UK 

Presentation: Optimising the calculation methods for analysing depth of focus from defocus curves.