Dr. Chris Hudson

Thirteen years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Now, I’m researching it.

What has been most surprising in your life?

A few years before I developed Parkinson’s disease, I suffered from a rare condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome which resulted in severe shoulder and neck pain for several years until it was surgically corrected. In many ways, the experience of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome prepared me to better manage my Parkinson’s since it made me mentally stronger and determined.

As my recovery continued, I lept at the chance to become fitter and healthier and it’s something I still focus on. Yesterday, I stepped up my exercises at the gym and this morning I’m stiff but that will pass as my body gets used to the new exercise. Parkinson’s is often on my mind but I’m learning to work with it.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in the United Kingdom (UK). I completed my PhD at the University of Aston, UK, and post-doctoral studies at the University of Manchester, UK. Prior to moving to Canada in 2000, I was a Reader in Clinical Vision Science at the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, UK.

The University of Waterloo is one of the two best optometry schools in the world and I jumped at the chance to move to Canada to become a professor.

Did you ever consider another profession?

I was in the top three to be considered for an airplane flying scholarship but wasn’t the final person chosen. Eyes are just as interesting as flying.

Why is working with ONDRI important?

Our research is critical as our population ages. We have to study the natural history of diseases and come up with better treatments as soon as possible.

What is your hope for the future in your area of focus?

I’d like to improve the Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT) sensitivity. SD-OCT is non-contact medical imaging technology that we use to better detect and monitor changes in the eye over time in the ONDRI retinal nerve fibre layer thickness assessment.

Read and watch more about the ONDRI assessment.

What makes for a great workday?

The unexpected – I love that every day is different. When I was an optometrist, life was too routine for me. I enjoy working with students and answering their questions, listening to their spontaneous ideas, and building on their energy.

How would your colleagues describe you?

Determined, innovative, a thinker, and a bit hyper.

What are your hobbies?

Boating – I have a bayliner speedboat. I also like fishing, being outside, wood working, and spending time with my two kids.

What’s the first place you would recommend to a new traveler?

Everyone has to see the Alps in Switzerland.