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John Barbur

John Barbur’s research interests cover both fundamental studies of visual mechanisms as well as applied and clinical research. John has also pursued the development of research instrumentation and new measurement techniques and this has resulted in new methods for instigating mesopic vision and instrumentation for analysis of pupil response components, spatial vision and chromatic sensitivity and the measurement of scattered light in the eye. The various techniques are based on both visual psychophysics and the measurement of involuntary responses such as eye movements and pupil signals and have been employed to study both applied and clinical aspects of visual processing. John has played an important part in two studies of mesopic vision, the first supported by DTI (on scales for the mesopic range) and the second on mesopic optimisation of visual efficiency (supported by EU). Another large project investigated medical aspects of fitness to drive and was supported by DfT.

John has been closely involved with the activities of the Applied Vision Association, the Colour Group of Great Britain, the International Colour Vision Society and has attended regularly meetings on visual science and its applications organised by the Optical Society of America. The studies carried out at City University with research students and colleagues over several years formed the basis for the formation of the Applied Vision Research Centre in 1986. Many students, with both clinical and basic science backgrounds have been trained in John’s laboratory over 28 years and have found employment in industry, hospitals and universities.

John is a Fulbright Scholar and spent time as Visiting Professor at the Center for Visual Science at the University of Rochester, N.Y. where he worked on colour vision & visual performance in the mesopic range  His current projects include work on the establishment of safe colour vision limits for pilots which is supported by the Civil Aviation Authority (UK) and the Federal Aviation Authority (USA). The support received recently for laboratory refurbishment from the Wellcome Trust has triggered a significant expansion in research activities and the formation of The Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Vision Sciences at City University.

Scientifc Interest

  • Variability in colour vision
  • Colour constancy
  • Mesopic Vision
  • Pupillometry
  • Age related macular degeneration


  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • Colour Group (GB)
  • Applied Vision Association (GB)
  • EVER
  • ICVS
John Barbur
John Barbur

Research Group

Colour Research & Clinical Applications Laboratory


City University London

Applied Vision Research Centre,
The Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Vision Science

Northampton Square

Phone: +44 20 70405060
Fax: +44 20 70408355


Key Publications

  1. J. L. Barbur and K. Spang.
    Colour constancy and conscious perception of changes of illuminant.
    Neuropsychologia. 46 (3):853-863, 2008.
  2. J. L. Barbur, M. Rodriguez-Carmona, J. A. Harlow, K. Mancuso, J. Neitz, and M. Neitz.
    A study of unusual Rayleigh matches in deutan deficiency.
    Vis.Neurosci. 25 (3):507-516, 2008.
  3. C. M. Chisholm, F. G. Rauscher, D. C. Crabb, L. N. Davies, M. C. Dunne, D. F. Edgar, J. A. Harlow, M. James-Galton, A. Petzold, G. T. Plant, A. C. Viswanathan, G. J. Underwood, and J. L. Barbur.
    Assessing visual fields for driving in patients with paracentral scotomata.
    Br.J.Ophthalmol. 92 (2):225-230, 2008.
  4. D. M. Connolly, J. L. Barbur, S. L. Hosking, and I. R. Moorhead.
    Mild hypoxia impairs chromatic sensitivity in the mesopic range.
    Invest Ophthalmol.Vis.Sci. 49 (2):820-827, 2008.
  5. M. Rodriguez-Carmona, L. T. Sharpe, J. A. Harlow, and J. L. Barbur.
    Sex-related differences in chromatic sensitivity.
    Vis.Neurosci. 25 (3):433-440, 2008.
  6. S. I. Moro, M. L. Rodriguez-Carmona, E. C. Frost, G. T. Plant, and J. L. Barbur.
    Recovery of vision and pupil responses in optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis.
    Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 27 (5):451-460, 2007.
  7. J. L. Barbur, M. Rodriguez-Carmona, and A. J. Harlow.
    Establishing the statistical limits of "normal" chromatic sensitivity.
    Anonymous. Anonymous. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada:Publication CIE x030:2006. CIE Proceedings Expert Symposium - 75 Years of the CIE Standard Observer (CIE x030:2006), 2006. ISBN 3901906517. 05-05-2006.
  8. J. Kvansakul, M. Rodriguez-Carmona, D. F. Edgar, F. M. Barker, W. Schalch, W. Kopcke, and J. L. Barbur.
    Supplementation with the carotenoids Lutein or Zeaxanthin improves human visual performance.
    Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics 26:362-371, 2006.
  9. M. Rodriguez-Carmona, J. Kvansakul, J. A. Harlow, W. Kopcke, W. Schalch, and J. L. Barbur.
    The effects of supplementation with lutein and/or zeaxanthin on human macular pigment density and colour vision.
    Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 26 (2):137-147, 2006.
  10. Helen C.Walkey, J. L. Barbur, J. A. Harlow, Antony Hurden, Ian R.Moorhead, and Julie A.F.Taylor.
    Effective contrast of colored stimuli in the mesopic range: a metric for perceived contrast based on achromatic luminance contrast.
    J.Opt.Soc.Am.[A]. 22 (1):17-28, 2005.

Research Groups