Personal information

Ruth van Nispen

Ruth M.A. van Nispen; associate professor, senior researcher at the department of Ophthalmology - Low Vision Research and Amsterdam Public Health (APH) research insitute - Amsterdam University Medical Centers in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 


  • supervisor of PhD candidates
  • supervisor of medical and health science students
  • coordinator of education and scientific internships for medical students
  • chair PhD Education Committee APH - location VUmc
  • chair Committee Quality of Education APH
  • acting chair ZonMw - programma Inzicht (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development - Insight)
  • board member International Society of Rehabilitation and Research
  • chair Dutch Society of Rehabilitation and Visual Disability (
  • editorial boards Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, BMC Medical Research Methodology

Short biography

  • Psychology - University of Amsterdam (MA 1999) 
  • Epidemiology - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (MSc 2007).
  • Junior researcher 2000-2004: Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL, Utrecht) 
  • PhD candidate 2005-2008: VUmc - ophthalmology: PhD-thesis: “Longitudinal measurement of the older patient’s vision-related quality of life”, VU University, Amsterdam (18 June, 2009; Promotores: prof.dr. van Rens; prof.dr. Ringens; dr. Knol)
  • EMGO+ Quality of Care Fellowship 2010-2012
  • Posdoc / senior researcher / assistant professor 2009-2016: VUmc - ophthalmology
  • Associate professor 2017 - now: VUmc - ophthalmology

In general, our research focuses on enhancing care in the relatively new field of low vision rehabilitation. There is an urgent need for evidence-based protocols and interventions for visually impaired elderly patients. Our research group closely collaborates with rehabilitation centers for the visually impaired (Royal Dutch Visio, Robert Coppes Foundation, Bartiméus) in mutual scientific research.

We are and have been investigating the effects of specific rehabilitation programs on quality of life and psychosocial functioning. Examples are PhD-studies in which the effects of rehabilitation or e-health protocols are tested in randomized trials or by using other study designs. Projects:

  • Robert Coppes Foundation: collaboration to set up various projects to improve quality of care for patients with vision loss and comorbid psychiatric disorders, senior researcher H.P.A. van der Aa, MSc, PhD 2017-now.
  • E-nergEYEze: Cost-effectiveness of a blended vision-specific E-health based cognitive behavioral & self-management intervention to reduce fatigue in patients with low vision: RCT. 2019-2022 ZonMw Inzicht PhD trajectory
  • PTSS: Exploring tailored strategies for diagnosing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder in adults with visual impairment: based on participatory action research, posdoc A. van der Ham, MSc, PhD 2018-2020 ZonMw Langdurige Zorg
  • E-PsEYE: Economic evaluation of an eMental health intervention for anti-VEGF patients: RCT. (2017-2019 ZonMw Doelmatigheid, postdoc H.P.A. van der Aa, MSc, PhD
  • Effects of cornea transplantation on quality of life, mental health and participation, E. Vreijsen, 2016-2021, Uitzicht, Het Lot, expected defence 2021
  • Fatigue in visual impairment: development of an intervention; W. Schakel, MSc; 2015-2018 ZonMw Inzicht, expected defence 2019
  • Stepped-care to prevent depression and anxiety disorder in visually impaired older adults: a randomized controlled trial: H.P.A. van der Aa, MSc, PhD; 2012-2015 ZonMw Inzicht; defence June 2016
  • Dual sensory impairment in the older patient: a randomized controlled trial to the effectiveness of a Dual Sensory Loss-protocol: H.L. Vreeken, MSc; 2011-2013 ZonMw Inzicht.
  • Effects of a training protocol on the use of closed circuit televisions in a randomized controlled trial: M.C. Burggraaff, MD, PhD; 2008-2011 ZonMw Inzicht defence January 2013

In addition, we have done a lot of research concerning the validity and reliability of vision-related quality of life questionnaires using modern psychometric theories (IRT), but also the development of a computer-based instrument to investigate rehabilitation needs and participation from visually impaired patients’ perspectives (children, young and older adults). Projects:

  • IVI-CAT: A new Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM) to assess anti-VEGF treatment in retinal exudative disease: the Dutch Impact of Visual Impairment profile Computer Adaptive Test, P.Rausch-Koster, MSc, 2018-2021 expected defence 2021
  • PAI: Development of the Participation and Activity Inventory for Children and Youth (PAI-CY) and Young Adults (PAI-YA): E. Elsman, MSc; 2015-2018; expected defence 2019
  • Energy and mental health questionnaire: psychometric properties of Dutch and English language versions, R.M.A. van Nispen, PhD 2018-2019.
  • The Dutch Reading Test Study: T. Verkerk-Brussee, BSc, PhD; 2011-2017; defence April 2018
  • D-AI: Development of the Dutch Activity Inventory to investigate rehabilitation needs and outcomes of visually impaired older patients: J.E. Bruijning, MSc, PhD; defence April 2013
  • LVQOL/VCM1: Psychometric properties of vision-related quality of life instruments using item response theory, R.M.A. van Nispen, MA, MSc, PhD, defence 2009.

Finally, in our epidemiological studies we have focussed on the prevalence of ophthalmologic disease, low vision and comorbidity (e.g. home health care patients together with "Buurtzorg", older adults in Suriname together with "Suriname Eye Center", adults in Nepal toghether with "Tilganga Eye Center").

  • Fatigue in visual impairment (part of intervention study); W. Schakel, MSc; 2015-2018, expected defence 2019
  • Prevalence of eye problems using basic screening in home health care; Vision 2020 Netherlands and Buurtzorg, R.M.A. van Nispen, MSc, PhD, 2016-2017.
  • Prevalence of Low Vision and Blindness in Suriname; J Minderhoud, MD, PhD; 2013-2016; defence 2017
  • Prevalence of retinal disease in Nepal, R Thapa, MD, PhD; 2014-2018; defence Sept 2018
  • Depression and anxiety disorders in visually impaired older adults (part of intervention study): H.P.A. van der Aa, MSc, PhD; 2012-2015; defence June 2016
  • Dual sensory impairment in the older patient (part of intervention study): H.L. Vreeken, MSc; 2011-2013.
  • Prevalence of glaucoma in Nepal, S Thapa, MD, PhD; 2007-2010, defence 2010
  • Depression in older adults with vision loss, R.M.A. van Nispen 2009-2010.