Dr Yitian Tina Gao

B. Optom (Hons) TPA.


I graduated from the Bachelor of Optometry program at the University of Auckland with First Class Honours and Therapeutics endorsement. Following graduation I worked for two years in private practice in New Plymouth, honing my skills as a clinical full-scope optometrist.

In May 2018 I graduated with my PhD from the University of Auckland. My PhD research was conducted under the supervision of Dr Benjamin Thompson, Dr Nicola Anstice and Dr Joanna Black. My main topic of research is amblyopia (commonly called "lazy eye"), with a focus on binocular vision and associated areas of visual neuroscience.

I am now a research fellow at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at UOA with two projects: one under Prof Steven Dakin, developing objective eye-tracking methods to examine eye movements and alignment, particularly for strabismus, and a second project under Dr Joanna Black investigating effects of perceived image size differences in anisometropic amblyopia.

Research | Current

As part of my PhD I was part of the central team at Auckland coordinating the Binocular treatment for amblyopia using videogame (BRAVO) international clinical trial. In this study we tested a new videogame based treatment for amblyopia for children and adults. This trial has study sites in Auckland, New Zealand; Melbourne, Australia; Waterloo and Montreal in Canada; and Hong Kong. The BRAVO study has concluded recruitment as of 31 May 2016. The final results of the two phases of the study (optical treatment and videogame treatment) were published in January 2018.

My ongoing work involves investigating different aspects of binocular vision (how the two eyes work together), including both oculomotor function and sensory factors contributing to perception.

Teaching | Current

I am currently doing 0.2 FTE (1 day/week) teaching in the School of Optometry and Vision Science. My roles include:

  • Teaching of lectures and labs in the optometry undergraduate Part IV binocular vision section of OPTOM 441.
  • Part II lectures and labs which introduce basic concepts of binocular vision (part of OPTOM 272).
  • Clinical supervisor in the Grafton Optometry Clinic, supervising Part IV and Part V optometry students in either general eye exam clinic or the Binocular Vision specialty clinic.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Gao, T. Y., Anstice, N., Babu, R. J., Black, J. M., Bobier, W. R., Dai, S., ... Jiang, Y. (2018). Optical treatment of amblyopia in older children and adults is essential prior to enrolment in a clinical trial. Ophthalmic & physiological optics : the journal of the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians (Optometrists), 38 (2), 129-143. 10.1111/opo.12437
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Benjamin Thompson, Nicola Anstice, Joanna Black, Yannan Jiang, Varsha Parag, Natalie Walker
  • Gao, T. Y., Guo, C. X., Babu, R. J., Black, J. M., Bobier, W. R., Chakraborty, A., ... Jiang, Y. (2018). Effectiveness of a Binocular Video Game vs Placebo Video Game for Improving Visual Functions in Older Children, Teenagers, and Adults With Amblyopia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA ophthalmology, 136 (2), 172-181. 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.6090
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Benjamin Thompson, Joanna Black, Yannan Jiang, Varsha Parag, Natalie Walker
  • Gao, T. Y., Guo, C. X., South, J., Black, J., Dai, S., Anstice, N., & Thompson, B. (2017). Resolution of anisometropic amblyopia in a 48-year-old with refractive correction alone. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 100 (4), 392-395. 10.1111/cxo.12457
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Joanna Black, Benjamin Thompson, Nicola Anstice
  • Guo, C. X., Babu, R. J., Black, J. M., Bobier, W. R., Lam, C. S. Y., Dai, S., ... Jiang, Y. (2016). Binocular treatment of amblyopia using videogames (BRAVO): Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 17 (504)10.1186/s13063-016-1635-3
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32766
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Yannan Jiang, Joanna Black, Benjamin Thompson, Natalie Walker, Varsha Parag
  • Gao, T. Y., Ledgeway, T., Lie, A., Anstice, N., Black, J., McGraw, P., & Thompson, B. (2016). Continuous Flash Suppression in Amblyopia is Asymmetric and Non-selective for Stimulus Orientation. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Association-for-Research-in-Vision-and-Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA. 1 May - 5 May 2016. INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE. (pp. 3).
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Benjamin Thompson, Joanna Black

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 503 - Bldg 503
Level 3, Room 351
New Zealand