College Recognizes Scholars and Dedicates Classroom
SUNY Optometry handed out 26 scholarships, a total of $66,750 in student support, at an event on October 22 that also included the dedication of one of the College’s newly renovated classrooms in honor of Class of 1983 alumnus, Dr. Mark Feder.
The event took place in what is now known as “Feder Hall,” a classroom on the first floor of the College’s building that received a complete gut renovation over the summer and is now a comfortable, innovative new learning environment for students. Dr. Feder’s wife Sherrie and daughter Danielle, a member of the College’s Class of 2017, were also in attendance at the event. In his remarks to the gathering of students, faculty, staff, supporters and trustees of SUNY Optometry’s foundation, the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), Dr. Feder emphasized his desire to help the next generation of optometrists and their need to provide “compassionate health care” to their patients over the course of their careers.
Left: Dr. Feder (left) with his wife Sherrie and President Heath; Right: Dr. Folsom with scholarship receipient Ellen McCrary
Three new scholarships were awarded this year, including the Dr. Mark S. Feder Scholarship for Clinical Excellence in Primary Care, the Fred Friedfeld Memorial Scholarship, which is given in honor of ClearVision Optical’s founder, Mr. Friedfeld, who passed away earlier this year and the P. Gregory Hess Scholarship which was created by Mr. Hess, a member of the OCNY’s advisory Trust and Estates Committee. Long-time supporter of SUNY Optometry and OCNY trustee, Dr. William Folsom, was also in attendance to award three students with the Scott Tasker Folsom Scholarship which is named for Dr. Folsom’s late son. In his own remarks, Dr. Folsom said that he has spent more than 70 years in optometry, having graduated from the now-defunct optometry program at Columbia University in 1943.
Below is a complete listing of the scholarships that were awarded and their recipients:
Dr. Mark S. Feder Scholarship for Clinical Excellence in Primary Care
(Presented by: Dr. Mark S. Feder ‘83)
Sarah Zuckerman - Class of 2015
Fred Friedfeld Memorial Scholarship
(Presented by: Mr. Peter Friedfeld)
Karen Levy - Class of 2017
P. Gregory Hess Scholarship
(Presented by: P. Gregory Hess)
Kelsey Butler - Class of 2017
Scott Tasker Folsom Scholarship
(Presented by: Dr. William Folsom, OCNY Trustee, Columbia ‘43)
Ellen McCrary - Class of 2016
Lauren Thompson - Class of 2016
Brittney Gewolb - Class of 2016
NYSOA Dr. Alden Haffner Scholarship
(Presented by: Dr. Joseph Stamm ‘82, Chief of Advanced Care)
Christie Mackenzie - Class of 2016
Matthew Roe - Class of 2016
(Presented by: Dr. Kristen Fry ‘98, Immediate Past President, NJ Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry)
Aqeela Naqvi - Class of 2018
Dr. Nathan and Laura Millman Scholarship
(Presented by: Dr. Ronald Millman, Ms. Barbara Dean)
Lauren Rabon - Class of 2017
Michael Mendsen - Class of 2017
Mary Botelho - Class of 2017
Celia Gong - Class of 2017
Dr. Jerome Weiss Scholarship
(Presented by: Dr. Richard Soden ‘79, Vice President for Clinical Affairs)
Sarah Zuckerman - Class of 2015
Jeff White Memorial Scholarship
(Presented by: Mr. Larry Roth)
Christine Corrente - Class of 2015
Dr. Harold Solan Scholarship
(Presented by: Mr. Larry Solan)
Lauren Strawn - Class of 2015
Harold M. Spielman Scholarship
(Presented by: Mr. Harold Spielman, OCNY Trustee)
Harrison Feng - Class of 2018
Barbara Saltzman Scholarship
(Presented by: Ms. Barbara Saltzman, OCNY Trustee)
Jenna Salner - Class of 2016
Dennis and Lesley Gehr Scholarship
(Presented by: Lesley and Dennis Gehr, OCNY Trustee)
Christine Auguste - Class of 2018
Dr. Sanford and Claire Levy Scholarship
(Presented by: Dr. David Troilo, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs)
Chelsea Ashlaw - Class of 2015
Tea Avdic - Class of 2016
Christine Morra - Class of 2016
Bryan O’Neil - Class of 2018
(Presented by: Dr. Denise Whittam ’91 President, Alumni Association)
Syed Hasan - Class of 2018
Jeffrey Enos - Class of 2018
Jenna Salner - Class of 2016
First Floor Classroom Rehabilitation
CVRC Studies Could Have Major Impact on Pediatric Vision
SUNY Optometry’s Clinical Vision Research Center is currently conducting two important pediatric studies that could have broad implications not only on eye and vision health but on the quality of life of a major segment of the population as well.
InFocus, a study designed to determine if certain optical treatments, including soft contact lenses and eyeglasses, are able to slow the progression of myopia (or nearsightedness) in children, began in the Clinical Vision Research Center (CVRC) recently. Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, Vistakon, the CVRC is just one of only three sites in the United States—and seven worldwide—to work on this potentially groundbreaking study.
“We’re very honored and excited to be one of only a handful of sites conducting this study,” Dr. Kathryn Richdale, the director of the CVRC said. “Given that the prevalence of myopia is over 40 percent in the US and up to 80 percent in some Asian countries, InFocus has the potential to have an enormous impact.” In addition to causing the need for glasses and/or contact lenses, myopia also carries with it an increased risk for glaucoma, retinal detachment and other vision-threatening problems. As a result, controlling it could have consequences well beyond nearsightedness. There is currently no FDA-approved treatment to control the progression of myopia, but previous studies have demonstrated that new optical designs may have the ability to significantly slow myopia progression. The InFocus study is enrolling nearsighted children, between the ages of seven and 11 years.
In addition, the CVRC also just launched another study looking at convergence insufficiency (CI) in children. CI can cause eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches and lead to an avoidance of reading. The study, which is known as the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial- Attention & Reading Trial (CITT-ART), is looking to establish if vision therapy can improve reading and attention in children with CI.
“While CI affects a relatively small percentage of children, it can have major implications on their ability to focus and learn which, of course, can have huge consequences down the road for those who suffer from it,” Dr. Richdale said. “If we’re able to improve a child’s ability to focus and read, we can have a major impact on his or her life going forward.”
The CITT-ART study is funded by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health and the CVRC is one of only eight research sites across the nation involved with it. The study is enrolling children between the ages of nine and 13 years old with symptomatic CI.
The CVRC, which has been in operation at the College since early 2013, has steadily increased its collaboration with industry and government partners over the past year, conducting a variety of clinical studies on the development of new drugs, devices and therapies.
“One of our missions at the College is to provide the most advanced treatment options for our current patients and to lead the study of new and better treatments for future generations of patients,” Dr. Richdale said. “These two studies truly have the potential to do just that.”
College Hosts International Symposium
In September, SUNY Optometry hosted the 21st International Visual Field and Imaging Symposium meeting of the prestigious Imaging and Perimetric Society (IPS). The organization works to promote the study of normal and abnormal eye structure and visual function, and to ensure and facilitate the cooperation and friendship of scientists throughout the world who are working on and interested in this discipline. It consists of approximately 160 members from around the world, including SUNY Optometry’s Dr. Mitchell Dul, who currently serves on the board of directors of IPS and was instrumental in hosting the meeting at the College. “We have a long history of contributing to the scientific body of knowledge associated with imaging and perimetry”, Dr. Dul said. “So when North America was slated for our next meeting, SUNY Optometry was a logical choice."
The conference, which took place at the College from September 9 -12, included a series of posters and scientific discussions as well as keynote speakers. Guess speakers included SUNY Optometry’s Dr. Qasim Zaidi, Dr. Jose-Manuel Alonso and Dr. Suresh Viswanathan.
SUNY Optometry’s Office of Continuing Professional Education assisted in organizing the event which also included opportunities for the global members of IPS to socialize and experience New York City. Future meetings of IPS will occur in Italy in 2016, and Japan in 2018.
Renowned Sports Vision Expert to Establish Sports and Performance Vision Center at UEC
SUNY Optometry will soon welcome Dr. Daniel M. Laby to establish and direct its new SUNY Sports and Performance Vision Center.
Dr. Laby is a board-certified ophthalmologist and comes to the College with extensive experience and as one of the leaders in the emerging field of sports vision. Dr. Laby’s work in sports vision began more than two decades ago when he started working with the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball, a relationship which continued for 18 seasons. Dr. Laby has also been responsible for the visual performance of the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, and he currently works with the Boston Red Sox (which he has done for the past decade), as well as the Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs. Dr. Laby has also spent the last three seasons working with the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics as well as the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings. Dr. Laby also worked with the US Olympic team prior to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and attended the games with the team. As a pioneer in the field, Dr. Laby, along with his colleague Dr. David Kirschen, have developed a revolutionary test of visual performance that is used by many professional and collegiate teams to measure their players’ sports vision abilities. The US Patent office has awarded Dr. Laby two patents for this vision testing system.
Dr. Laby is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Medicine and the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California Los Angeles. He is currently an assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, and is a member of the clinical faculty at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary as well as the New England College of Optometry. Dr. Laby has published widely in the field and is a sought after speaker at meetings ranging from Hong Kong to the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
The Sports and Performance Vision Center (SPVC) is scheduled to open on June 1, 2015. During the months leading up to that date, Dr. Laby will work on developing the SPVC within the Rehabilitation Service of the University Eye Center. Starting in June, Dr. Laby will also hold an appointment as an adjunct associate clinical professor. Dr. Laby notes, “I am very excited and appreciative of the opportunity to develop the Sports Vision Clinic at the SUNY College of Optometry. New York is the center of the sporting world and the College is at the center of optometric care. This is a perfect storm that will undoubtedly lead to success.”
Dr. David Troilo, vice president and dean for Academic Affairs at SUNY Optometry, said that the College is “very happy to be welcoming such an accomplished clinician and academic as Dr. Laby into our community. Sports vision is a burgeoning area in eye care and we’re very pleased to have him here to build what we expect will be an important element of our educational and clinical activities.”
Sports vision involves developing and implementing evaluation and training techniques that are specifically designed to improve the visual abilities of an athlete. Sports vision specialists often look to improve skills such as eye-hand coordination, dynamic visual acuity, peripheral awareness, focusing and visual reaction time in addition to the basic visual functions of visual acuity and contrast sensitivity as well as binocular vision. The field has grown exponentially in recent years, with many professional sports teams now regularly employing sports vision specialists as part of their training and medical staffs.
“We’re very pleased to welcome Dr. Laby and look forward to the work that he’ll be doing in our new Sports and Performance Vision Center,” said Dr. Neera Kapoor, the University Eye Center’s chief of Vision Rehabilitation Services. “People are becoming increasingly savvy and aware of the vast range of specialized visual skills required for improving function and success at their respective occupation, sport, or hobby. Vision is so much more than just ‘sight’ and sports and performance vision is one of the ways in which this point is being effectively illustrated.”
College Expands Reach into Broader Health Care Community with Newly Developed Role
President Heath announced the creation of a new position for the College specifically designed to focus on expanding the institution’s relationships within the broader health care community.
With the director of health care development, as the new position will be known, SUNY Optometry is taking a proactive approach toward integrating its patient care facilities, including the University Eye Center, and its students, more fully into the greater health care systems of New York City, New York State and beyond. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act represented an ideal moment to develop this new role focused specifically on building and nurturing key relationships for the institution.
“As we all know, our health care system is in the midst of very rapid change,” President Heath said in a statement announcing the new position. “And we felt that having somebody working to create partnerships with hospitals and other health care organizations that reflect the full integration of optometry into the health care system was imperative at this moment.”
In addition to building clinical relationships and increasing access to eye and vision care to more people in its community, SUNY Optometry is also looking to develop relationships with organizations that will provide such things as interprofessional opportunities for its students or additional support for its robust research programs.
Dr. Richard Soden (pictured) will take on this new role as of July 1, 2015. Dr. Soden currently serves as executive director of the UEC and vice president for clinical affairs at the College. He joined SUNY Optometry in 1980 after completing a residency program in rehabilitative optometry at the Northport VA Medical Center. In addition to his work at the College, Dr. Soden continued at the Northport VA as the associate chief of optometry. He was also a partner in a private practice on Long Island. His special interests include primary care, low vision rehabilitation, visual therapy and head trauma rehabilitation. In 2005, he returned to SUNY initially as the associate director of managed care and vice president for clinical affairs. He is a past president of the New York State Optometric Association and regularly lectures nationally and internationally on a variety of issues.
“Dr. Soden is nationally recognized for his expertise on our evolving health care system, and I believe that our organization will benefit immensely with him serving as our director of health care development,” President Heath said.
The College is currently conducting a national search for a new executive director of the University Eye Center.
Scholarly Activities for October 2014
17th Afro-Asian Congress of Ophthalmology/19th Congress of Chinese Ophthalmological Society
Several members of the SUNY College of Optometry community, including President David A. Heath, Dr. Richard Soden, Dr. Helen Duan and Dr. William O'Connell gave lectures as part of the 17th Afro-Asian Congress of Ophthalmology and the 19th Congress of Chinese Ophthalmological Society meeting which took place in Xi'an, China in September. Dr. Heath lectured about health care reform and the current trends in eye care delivery in the United States. Dr. Soden lectured on the economic and social burden of vision loss. Dr. Duan lectured on the analytical evaluation of Orthokeratology treatment outcomes as well as Ortho-K lenses in myopic control and Presbyopic treatment in the United States. Dr. O'Connell lectured on low vision.
Benavente-Perez A, Nour A, Troilo D. Axial Eye Growth and Refractive Error Development Can Be Modified by Exposing the Peripheral Retina to Relative Myopic or Hyperopic Defocus. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Sep 4. pii: IOVS-14-14524. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-14524. [Epub ahead of print]
Khajavi N, Reinach PS, Skrzypski M, Lude A, Mergler. (2014) S.L-Carnitine Reduces in Human Conjunctival Epithelial Cells Hypertonic-Induced Shrinkage through Interacting with TRPV1 Channels.Cell Physiol Biochem. 2014;34(3):790-803. doi: 10.1159/000363043. Epub 2014 Aug 19. PMID: 25170901 [PubMed - in process]
Levit NA, Sellitto C, Wang HZ, Li L, Srinivas 2, Brink PR, White TW. Aberrant Connexin26 Hemichannels Underlying Keratitis-Ichthyosis-Deafness Syndrome are Potently Inhibited by Mefloquine. Invest Dermatol. 2014 Sep 17. doi: 10.1038/jid.2014.408. [Epub ahead of print]
Okada Y, Shirai K, Reinach PS, Kitano-Izutani A, Miyajima M, Flanders KC, Jester JV, Tominaga M, Saika S (2014) .TRPA1 is required for TGF-β signaling and its loss blocks inflammatory fibrosis in mouse corneal stroma. Lab Invest. 2014 Sep;94(9):1030-41. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2014.85. Epub 2014 Jul 28.PMID: 25068659 [PubMed - in process]
Dr. Ken Ciuffreda and Ms. Diana Ludlam have been invited to be part of the review board for the upcoming, new COVD journal entitled, "Vision Development and Rehabilitation", with Dr. Len Press as Editor. Both Dr. Ciuffreda and Ms. Ludlam have been involved in the areas of general vision and its anomalies, as well as normal and abnormal vision development and ocular deficits and rehabilitation for several decades. Over the last decade, they have worked with the military and the VA in developing diagnostic and therapeutic protocols for their patients with traumatic brain injury.
In the News
Dr. Andrea Thau appeared in the Wall Street Journal article "Does Your Toddler Need Glasses?" (9/24)
Dr. Benjamin Backus appeared the Popular Science article "Can We Hack Our Vision To See Infrared With The Naked Eye?" (9/9)
Dr. Joan Portello appeared in the Time article "You Asked: Can Computers Really Ruin My Eyes" (9/3)
SUNY Optometry Steps Up for World Sight Day
For the second year in a row the SUNY College of Optometry community came together to recognize World Sight Day, an increasingly significant day organized by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness that is designed to draw attention to the scourge of avoidable blindness across the world.
The events, which took place on October 9, were organized by the Student Chapter of the American Public Health Association (SAPHA). The group organized an information table in the busy lobby of the College’s Midtown Manhattan building so that students, faculty and staff, as well as visitors and patients of the University Eye Center, could learn more about the enormous impact that avoidable blindness has on people across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, about 80 percent of the 285 million people who are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide have either a preventable or treatable condition.
Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to purchase and wear World Sight Day t-shirts to help raise awareness and money for Optometry Giving Sight’s World Sight Day Challenge, the largest annual global fundraising campaign to address avoidable blindness. Third year OD student, Jenna Blechman, the vice president of SUNY Optometry’s SAPHA, announced that the community had raised over $1,400 for the campaign.
In the evening, Dr. Jordan Kasslow, an optometrist and founder of VisionSpring, a social enterprise specifically developed to ensure affordable access to eyewear around the world, spoke to the community about his personal experiences since graduating from the New England College of Optometry and what led him to eventually create VisionSpring.
The World Sight Day events were partially sponsored by the American Optometric Student Association and the Optometric Center of New York, as well as TOMS, a shoe and eyewear company and innovator in the “one-for-one” business model.
This year, World Sight Day is closely aligned with the World Health Organization’s five-year “Global Action Plan” which focuses heavily on ensuring that all people around the world have access to quality eye health services.
Confucius Institute Celebrates Anniversary
On Saturday, September 27, the SUNY College of Optometry’s Confucius Institute for Health Care celebrated the 10th anniversary of Confucius Institutes around the world with a series of city-wide events in conjunction with four other New York City-based Confucius Institutes. The events included art exhibits, language and dance classes, as well as a vision screening, a seminar on traditional Chinese medicine and much more.
Fellow SUNY institution, the Confucius Institute for Business, along with the institutes at Columbia University, Pace University and the China Institute collaborated to host a series of 15 different events across Manhattan. SUNY Optometry hosted a photo exhibition of Chinese acupuncture in the United States, conducted a free vision screening for the public and produced a seminar on traditional Chinese medicine.
View a slide show of images from the day below. Further details about all of the events of the day can be found by clicking here
The Vision and the Promise Campaign Exceeds $10 Million Goal
Over 1,300 donors, including alumni, faculty, staff, foundations, corporations and others answered the call to support The Vision and the Promise: Campaign for SUNY College of Optometry. The campaign officially came to a close after a vote by the Board of Trustees of the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) on October 1. By all measures it was as an unquestionable success, having exceeded its goal and raised nearly $10,200,000.
In September of 2009, the board of the OCNY, the foundation of the SUNY College of Optometry, voted to embark on an ambitious fundraising campaign—the first, formal campaign in the history of the College—to raise $10 million to provide critical support for the growing educational, patient care, research and community outreach needs of SUNY Optometry.
Here are some of the ways in which The Vision and the Promise has directly benefited the multi-faceted mission of the SUNY College of Optometry and helped to change lives:
- It provided more than $3.2 million of educational support, including 18 new scholarships for students.
- It enabled thousands of New Yorkers to receive quality eye and vision care though the funding of a variety of community outreach efforts, including the Bowery Mission Project, the Indigent Patient Fund and the Homebound program.
- It enabled state-of-the-art improvements for the University Eye Center, including the creation of a unique clinical care unit designed to test new technologies and alternative approaches to care.
- It established a College-sponsored low vision clinic to serve a critical need in China.
- It produced the first endowed chair in College history: the Dr. Alden N. Haffner Innovation Chair.
- It helped to establish the College’s dynamic Clinical Vision Research Center.
“The Vision and the Promise was absolutely essential for providing the means to enable the SUNY College of Optometry to continue to remain a vital, cutting-edge institution," Mr. Richard Feinbloom, the outgoing president of the OCNY’s Board of Trustees said. “We launched this campaign during a very difficult economic moment and its success is an enormous testament to power of our institutional mission.”
Over the course of The Vision and the Promise campaign, the OCNY raised more support than it had during any other five-year period in its history. The campaign received strong participation from College alumni, including the largest gift ever made by an alumnus. The OCNY Board of Trustees contributed over $3.8 million to the campaign and well over half of the College’s faculty and staff participated as well. In addition, foundation and corporate support for The Vision and the Promise accounted for over $2.3 million.
“We’re very pleased with the breadth of support for the campaign from across our constituencies,” said Ms. Ann Warwick, executive director of the OCNY and the College’s vice president for Institutional Advancement. “In addition to our wonderful board, our alumni as well as our faculty and staff, the ophthalmic industry and a lot of new supporters really demonstrated their belief in what we’re doing here. That is something that is very gratifying.”
With the College still in the early stages of an ambitious new strategic plan that will run through 2018, SUNY Optometry’s president, Dr. David A. Heath, emphasized that the success of The Vision and the Promise campaign should act as a springboard for the future.
“The work that we’re doing here now is only just beginning,” President Heath said. “I’m enormously pleased with the success of The Vision and the Promise, it has been the catalyst for initiatives that will enable us to remain on the forefront of the work that we do and maintain our position as a leader in health care. But there is much more work still to be done and my firm belief is that the success of this campaign will enable even greater success in the future.
“I am also very grateful to our Board of Trustees and to Ms. Warwick for their leadership and excellent stewardship of the campaign,” President Heath continued. “Without their hard work the successful completion of this campaign would not have been possible.”
Video: See What Research at the College is All About
The SUNY College of Optometry has internationally recognized faculty and students engaged in cutting-edge basic, translational and clinical research. In fact, research is one of the core missions of the College and a vital component for increasing our knowledge and ultimately improving health care in the future. Dr. Stewart Bloomfield, associate dean for graduate studies and research, describes the research activities at SUNY Optometry, as well as how the MS and PhD programs at the College fit into this mission.
To find out more visit: www.sunyopt.edu/research
Alumna and Faculty Member Elected American Optometric Association Vice President
Last June, SUNY Optometry alumna and faculty member, Dr. Andrea Thau, was elected vice president of the American Optometric Association (AOA). Dr. Thau first became involved with the AOA when she was a student at the College during the 1980s. From 1990 to 1997, she served through all of the chairs of the Optometric Society of the City of New York (OSCONY), and became the first female president. She served the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) from 1987 to 2005, including 14 years as a member of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Thau was elected the first female president of the NYSOA and served in that role from 2001-2003. In 2007 Dr. Thau was elected to the American Optometric Association’s Board of Trustees, re-elected in 2010, and then elected Secretary-Treasurer in 2013.
Dr. Thau’s interest in the AOA and NYSOA started at a young age. Her late father, Dr. Edwin C. Thau, served as president of the Bronx County Optometric Society of the NYSOA. She witnessed the transformation of the optometric profession due to the volunteer efforts of AOA members on the local, state and national level. As a student, Dr. Thau lobbied with the NYSOA in Albany the year legislation was passed to enable optometrists in New York to utilize diagnostic pharmaceutical agents.
Dr. Thau is a founding member of the AOA's InfantSEE® committee which was launched in 2005. The program's goal is to ensure that every child embarks on a lifetime of good vision.
Dr. Thau began her career as a full time faculty member at SUNY during her first five years of practice and has continued to be a part-time faculty member since. In 1987, she began her own private practice.
“I love being in private practice and cultivating long term patient-care relationships with my patients,” Dr. Thau said. “Between my father and I, we have cared for five generations of the same family. As OD’s, we protect, preserve, enhance, rehabilitate and maintain our patients’ vision. Participating actively as a volunteer in the American Optometric Association is exciting, invigorating and makes you much more successful!”
Dr. David A. Damari - 2014 Alumnus of the Year
In July the SUNY Optometry Alumni Association Board of Directors, in coordination with the entire alumni community, named Dr. David A. Damari, from the Class of 1988, the Alumnus of the Year for 2014. The award will be presented to Dr. Damari on October 25 as part of Alumni Reunion Weekend at Envision New York.
Dr. Damari currently serves as dean of the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University and previously served as professor and chair of the Department of Assessment at Southern College of Optometry (SCO). Since 1995, he has been a national consultant on visual disabilities. Prior to joining SCO, he worked in private practice in New York State.
The Alumnus/a of the Year Award is given annually to a SUNY College of Optometry graduate in recognition of his or her service to the profession, the College, and the community. In 2013, it was awarded to Dr. Jillia Bird.
“Dr. Damari’s leadership and dedication to excellence as dean of the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University will positively impact students for years to come,” Dr. Denise Whittam, president of the Alumni Association said in a letter announcing the award. “As an alumnus of SUNY Optometry, you carry forward a great tradition of education and service and your Alumni Association is pleased to pay tribute to you with this prestigious award.”
For the first time in the history of the award, the selection committee chose three finalists and then opened up a vote to members of the alumni community at-large to make the final choice.
In addition to presenting the Alumnus of the Year award, Alumni Reunion Weekend will include an alumni reception on Saturday, October 25 honoring the classes of 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009 and a wine and cheese receptionon Sunday, October 26. For more information, click on the image below:
Q&A: Mr. Christian Alberto, Assistant Director of Admissions
Mr. Christian Alberto joined the Office of Student Affairs and International Programs this summer as the assistant director of admissions. We asked him a few questions about his background and what he hopes to accomplish at SUNY Optometry.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and what led you to the SUNY College of Optometry?
Prior to accepting my position at SUNY Optometry, I was serving as academic advisor/CSTEP counselor for the Division of Science at the City College of New York (CUNY). CSTEP is a state-wide program that aims to prepare historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students for careers in STEM and Allied Health. Prior to that position, I served as a social media and inclusion intern here in the Office of Student Affairs and International Programs at SUNY. I worked closely with Dr. Gui Albieri, the senior director of admissions and marketing, on the IDEA Initiative which aims to expose and prepare more underrepresented students to the profession and the College through various social media networks. Both of these experiences together brought me back to SUNY. I’ve become quite familiar with the profession of optometry over the years and I favor how dynamic, critical and ever-growing the field is. It is a smart and excellent career to pursue and I’m glad to be in a position where I can assist students actualize this goal during this critical moment their lives. Also, the sense of community here at SUNY is unmatched, which definitely drew me back.
What are you focusing on in admissions and student affairs? Are there any specific initiatives that you’ll be working closely on?
Our latest initiative in admissions is going paperless. I am working diligently on implementing WebAdmit, a new online application processing and management system, in a manner that is efficient and conducive for our department. We have been working with the system for the new 2014-2015 application cycle and so far it has changed what we do in admissions – for the better. I am also focusing heavily on filling our next class with highly qualified, competent and diverse students. In support of this goal, I am gearing up for my first recruitment trip to upstate New York where I will be attending four different graduate/professional school fairs, serve on a graduate admissions panel and hope to meet with CSTEP programs at each school. This will be only the first of many similar trips I expect to make.
You mentioned your experience working with New York State’s CSTEP program as well as historically underrepresented pre-health students. In your view, what are some of the best ways to recruit these underrepresented students into optometry?
A major factor leading to the underrepresentation of minorities in optometry is the lack of knowledge or exposure to the field. A good number of underrepresented minorities are interested in and have a drive for medicine, which is, generally, much more mainstream than optometry, so I firmly believe our numbers can increase in optometry as we continue to educate these groups and expose them to the field at any early age. Dr. Jeffery Philpott, the vice president for Student Affairs and International Programs, as well as Mr. Francisco Lucio, our director of career development and minority enrichment and Dr. Albieri and I have all been brainstorming ideas on how we can achieve this. It is something that we’re taking very seriously as we plan new initiatives and programs, which makes me all the more excited to be here.
New Residency Class Gets to Work
In July, SUNY Optometry welcomed one of its largest residency classes in its four-decade history. A total of 37 residents are participating in 15 programs this year, both in the University Eye Center and in health care facilities across the region.
Here is a closer look at two of the doctors in the 2014-15 residency class:
Dr. Tyler Phan is the current acquired brain injury & vision rehabilitation primary care resident. This unique residency was the first of its kind and remains one of the top programs in the country.
Dr. Phan grew up in Orange County, CA and graduated with honors from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Optometry in 2014. He chose to come to New York City and pursue a residency at the College because of its excellent reputation for patient care. Additionally, Dr. Phan has a great interest in the area of neuro-optometry and acquired brain injury rehabilitation. During his time at Western, Dr. Phan learned the critical role that optometrists often play in improving the lives of patients with acquired brain injury through lenses, prisms and vision therapy.
After completing his residency, Dr. Phan would like to join a private practice or work for the US government taking care of veterans who have acquired brain injury and, eventually, get back into academia and teach.
Dr. Corinne Blum, a 2014 graduate of SUNY Optometry, is doing her residency in the primary care program. She graduated with honors and received the Beta Sigma Kappa Award and the Esther J. Werner Memorial Award for academic achievement.
Dr. Blum, from Huntington, Station, NY, chose to do a residency at SUNY Optometry because she wanted to obtain additional, advanced clinical skills and is looking also to gain more experience writing academic papers and present at academic meetings. Dr. Blum chose SUNY in particular because she knew that she would have an excellent support system to help her achieve her professional goals. The primary care residency program was a particular draw for Dr. Blum because she wanted a well-rounded curriculum and a broad clinical experience.
After Dr. Blum completes her residency, she hopes to work in private practice providing full-scope, primary care to patients of all ages.
Here is the complete listing of the entire 2014-15 residency class:
Cornea/Contact Lenses (SUNY)
East New York Diagnostic & Treatment Center
Keller Army Community
Hospital, West Point
Michigan College of Optometry
Low Vision Rehabilitation (SUNY/Lighthouse Guild)
Ocular Disease (SUNY)
Fromer Eye Centers
New York Harbor Health Care VA
Pediatric Optometry (SUNY)
New Jersey Veterans Health Care System
Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center
Irish Dela Rea
VA Hudson Valley Health Care System
Western University of Health Sciences
Western University of Health Sciences
Northport DVA Medical Center
Primary Eye Care (SUNY)
Acquired Brain Injury (SUNY)
Western University of Health Sciences
Dr. Irwin B. Suchoff Residency Program in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation (SUNY)
Midwestern University of Arizona
Scholarly Activities for September 2014
Cristina Llerena Law, O.D., has received two prestigious awards for her research on visual neuroplasticity in adult amblyopia. She was awarded an American Optometric Foundation (AOF) William C. Ezell Fellowship for 2014 in the amount of $8,000.
Additionally, Dr. Law received an award in the amount of $2,500 from the Minnie F. Turner Memorial Fund for Impaired Vision Research for 2014. Dr. Law is a doctoral student in the Graduate Program in Vision Science.
Jinyoung Choe (2017) has been awarded a grant from the Minnie F. Turner Memorial Fund for Impaired Vision Research for her study of color adaptation defects in patients with early glaucoma. The purpose of the fund is to stimulate research related to vision in the academic fields of physics, electrical engineering, psychology, education, medicine and other related disciplines. Jinyoung Choe is enrolled in both the professional program in Optometry and the Masters of Science program in Vision Science. She will be working with her graduate mentor, Mitchell W. Dul, MS, OD, FAAO, and collaborators Qasim Zaidi, PhD and Robert McPeek, PhD.
Bonnie Cooper, a doctoral student, was awarded a Doctoral Fellowship Award to attend the European Conference on Vision Perception.
Akopian A, Atlasz T, Pan F, Wong S, Zhang Y, Völgyi B, Paul DL, Bloomfield SA. (2014) Gap junction-mediated death of retinal neurons is connexin and insult specific: a potential target for neuroprotection. J Neurosci. 2014 Aug 6;34(32):10582-91. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1912-14.2014. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25100592]
Lin Z, Gao T, Vasudevan B, Jhanji V, Ciuffreda KJ, Zhang P, Li L, Mao G, Wang N, Liang YB. Generational difference of refractive error and risk factors in the Handan Offspring Myopia Study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Aug 5. pii: IOVS-13-13693. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-13693. [Epub ahead of print]
Mergler S, Valtink M, Sumioka M, Okada Y, Saika S, Reinach PS. (2014) Ocular thermosensitive transient receptor potential channel expression in health and disease. Ophthalmic Research (in press).
Yadav NK, Ciuffreda KJ. (2014) Effect of Binasal Occlusion (BNO) and Base-In Prisms on the Visual-Evoked Potential (VEP) in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). Brain Injury (In press).
Yadav NK, Ciuffreda KJ. (2014) Effect of Simulated Octant Visual Field Defects on the Visual Evoked Potential (VEP). Journal of Optometry (Available online).
Class of 2018 Students Welcomed to the College
The OD program students of the Class of 2018 at SUNY Optometry began their journey toward becoming doctors on August 14 during the first day of a two-day orientation program designed to help them get acquainted with various aspects of the College and the University Eye Center. The 98 students in the class learned about the curriculum that they will be studying over the next four years and strategies for suceeding, as well as about the profession of optometry and much more.
Most of the orientation events took place in one of the College’s newly-renovated, first-floor classrooms as well as in the Center for Student Life and Learning.
See some of the images from orientation here:
Video: A Closer Look at the College’s Clinical Vision Research Center
To find out more visit the CVRC website
SUNY Rules Video Rocks Student Bowl
Watch the official rules video created by SUNY College of Optometry students for the 2014 Varilux Optometry XXIII Student Bowl which took place on June 26 at Optometry's Meeting in Philadelphia. SUNY was given the honor of creating the rules video after it won the “spirit award” during last year’s competition.
Scholarly Activities for Summer 2014
Alves M, Reinach PS, Paula JS, Vellasco E Cruz AA2, Bachette L, Faustino J, Aranha FP, Vigorito A, de Souza CA, Rocha EM. (2014) Comparison of diagnostic tests in distinct well-defined conditions related to dry eye disease. PLoS One. 2014 May 21;9(5):e97921. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097921. eCollection 2014.
Bloomfield, SA and Völgyi B (2014) Mind the gap: the functional roles of neuronal gap junctions in the retina. In: The New Visual Neurosciences. J.S. Werner and L.M. Chalupa, eds. MIT Press.
Ciuffreda KJ, Ludlam DP, Thiagarajan P, Yadav NK, Capo-Aponte J. Proposed Objective Visual System Biomarkers for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI): Brief Report. Military Medicine (Accepted).
Sumioka T1, Okada Y, Reinach PS, Shirai K, Miyajima M, Yamanaka O, Saika S.(2014) Impairment of cornea epithelial wound healing in a TRPV1-deficient mouse, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Apr 29. pii: iovs.13-13077v1. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-13077. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24781945
Yadav N.K, Ciuffreda K. J. Effect of simulated octant visual field defects on the visual evoked potential (VEP). Journal of Optometry (In press).
Zheng Q, Ren Y, Reinach PS, She Y, Xiao B, Hua S, Qu J, Chen W.Exp Eye Res.(2014_ Reactive Oxygen Species Activated NLRP3 inflammasomes Prime Environment-induced Murine Dry Eye. 2014 May 13. pii: S0014-4835(14)00122-5. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2014.05.001. [Epub ahead of print]
Bloomfield SA (2014). The role of gap junctions in the retina. Invited talk at Department of Ophthalmology, Downstate Medical Center.
Bloomfield SA (2014). Mind the gap: the roles of gap junctions in retinal physiology and pathology. Presentation at FASEB Conference on Retinal Circuitry and Visual Processing, Saxtons River, VT.
Reinach P (2014) Invited by Xiamen University, Department of Ophthalmology, to give a guest lecture on May 24th at the st Annual Ocular Surface Symposium in Xiamen.The title of his lecture was Differential Roles of Ocular Surface Transient Receptor Potential Channels in Adapting to Environmental Stress.
Abstracts/Poster/Presentations at Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Meeting, Orlando, FL. , May 2014
Akopian A, Atlasz T, Bloomfield SA. Excitotoxic and Ischemic Conditions Change the Expression of Gap Junction Connexins in the Inner Retina. Invest. Ophthal. Vis. Sci. Supple.
Bass SJ, Sherman J. Molecular Genetics, OCT and Fundus Autofluorescence Patterns in Peripapillary (Pericentral) Pigmentary Retinal Degeneration. Bass SJ, Sherman J. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Meeting, Orlando, FL. , May 2014.
Benavente-Perez A, Nour A, Troilo D (2014). Asymmetries in Peripheral Refraction in Marmosets Change with Emmetropization and Induced Eye Growth. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci Annual Meeting (ARVO). May 2014 Orlando, FL, US.
Bittner AK, DeJong R, Benavente-Perez A (2014). Correlations between Retrobulbar Arterial Velocities and Severity of Retinitis Pigmentosa. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci Annual Meeting (ARVO). May. Orlando, FL, US.
Boneta JE, Yannuzzi LA, Nath S, Bass SJ, Sherman J. Spectrum of Retinal Pigment Epithelium Abnormalities in Central Serous Chorioretinopathy as Revealed by Ultra-Widefield Autofluorescence Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Meeting, Orlando, FL. , May 2014.
Ciuffreda KJ, Yadav NK. Oculomotor Vision Rehabilitation in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Effect on the Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) and Visual Attentional (VAT) Responsivity. ARVO annual meeting, Orlando, FL, May 2014
Fimreite V, Yadav NK, Ciuffreda KJ. Effect of Luminance on the Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) in Visually-Normal and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) Populations. , ARVO annual meeting, Orlando, FL, May 2014.
Jiang L, Zhou X, Drobe D, Troilo D. Eye Shapes Measured by MRI are Different in Different Age Groups of Chinese School Children with Similar Refractive States. ARVO Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, May 2014
Joshi N, Viswanathan S, Llerena-Law C. Test-retest variability of pupil responses mediated by intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, May 2014
Llrena-Law C, Siu M, Modica P, Backus B,. Stimulus Characteristics Affect the Assessment of Pupil Defects in Amblyopia. Poster, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), May 2014.
Li S, Nguyen TT, Bonanno JA. Expression Required for Corneal Lactate Efflux. , Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), May 2014.
Pan F, Akopian A, Bloomfield SA. GABA Inhibition Controls the Threshold Sensitivity of Retinal Ganglion Cells Independent of Dopaminergic Circuitry. Invest. Ophthal. Vis. Sci. Supple.
Rajagopalan L, Patel N, Viswanathan S, Harwerth R, Frishman L. Comparison of multifocal photopic negative response (mfPhNR) with structural and functional measures in experimental glaucoma. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual meeting, Orlando, FL, May 2014
Swanson WH, Dul MW, Horner DG, Malinovsky VE, Evaluating Sources of Test-retest Variability in Glaucomatous Visual Field Defects, ARVO annual meeting, Orlando, FL, May 2014
Thiagarajan P, Ciuffreda KJ. Persistence of oculomotor training effects in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). , ARVO annual meeting, Orlando, FL, May 2014.
Truong JQ, Ciuffreda KJ, Han E, Suchoff I. Retrospective Analysis of Photosensitivity in Mild Traumatic Brain-Injury (mTBI). ARVO annual meeting, Orlando, FL, May 2014.
Yadav NK, Ciuffreda KJ. Effect of Binasal Occlusion and Base-In Prisms on the Visual-Evoked Potential (VEP) in the Visually-Normal and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Populations. , ARVO annual meeting, Orlando, FL, May 2014
The SUNY College of Optometry held its annual Scholars' Dinner last month to recognize the scholarly activates of both students and faculty at the College over the past academic year. Graduate student Stanley Komban received this year’s annual Dr. Dean Yager Award for the best published research paper by a student. Dr. Yager was a well-known research scientist in areas ranging from color vision in fish to human psychophysics of reading, peripheral vision, low vision and electronic displays. He joined the College in 1974 as dean and founding chairman of the Graduate Program in Vision Science and trained many graduate students who hold academic and clinical positions today. Also acknowledged at the event were Dr. Jens Kremkow who received recognition for the best first-authored research paper by a post-doctoral fellow and Dr. Jose-Manuel Alonso who was named a SUNY Distinguished Professor.
College Honors Residents with Farewell Ceremony
The SUNY College of Optometry’s 2013-14 residency class bid farewell to the College at a ceremony on June 20. A total of 37 residents in 15 different programs received certificates of advanced clinical competency at the event.
Dr. Diane Adamczyk, SUNY Optometry’s director of residency education, told the outgoing residents during the ceremony that they can expect to use what they’ve learned during their intensive year in the program throughout their careers. Dr. Adamczyk also noted the growth of the program--the 2013-14 residency class was the largest in the College’s four-decade history of residency programs.
During the hour-long ceremony SUNY Optometry president, Dr. David A. Heath, said that the College aspires for its residents “to go on and do great things.” Meanwhile, former Alumni Association president, Dr. Julia Appel, welcomed them into the SUNY family of alumni.
This year's Distinguished SUNY Residency Alumni Award, a tradition that was recently developed at the College, was awarded to Dr. Kelly Thomann, a 1989 graduate of the College who completed her residency in 1990. During her address to the gathering Dr. Thomann spoke about the similarities and differences in between when she did her residency twenty-four years ago and today. She also stressed the importance of the relationships that she built both as a result of her residency as well as from being involved in residency education over the years.
The Dr. Martin H. Birnbaum Memorial Award, which is sponsored by the Optometric Center of New York and given to a resident who has shown outstanding knowledge and skill in behavioral optometry, was awarded to Dr. Vincent Cano.
Click on the image below to view and download pictures from the ceremony and the reception that followed
College Expands Partnership with Bowery Mission into Harlem
The SUNY College of Optometry’s partnership with The Bowery Mission, one of New York City’s most respected organizations providing services to the city’s homeless and vulnerable, has expanded to East Harlem.
Last year the College signed an agreement to provide those served by The Bowery Mission’s lower Manhattan location with full-service, no-cost, comprehensive eye care. Three days each month, SUNY Optometry’s Dr. Jack Chen, along with interns from the College, visit the site to provide care to a wide range of people. Thanks to broad support solicited by the Optometric Center of New York, the College’s philanthropic foundation, equipment was purchased and provided for the program as well.
The continued support from a range of foundations and individual donors has enabled the College to expand its relationship with The Bowery Mission to include the organization’s new Men’s Center in East Harlem. The center is expected to house up to 60 men in a transitional residential setting and provide services to both the residents and members of the neighborhood in need.
"We are pleased and honored to have the SUNY College of Optometry spearheading the health care services at our new Men’s Center and providing full service eye care to residents,” said Matt Krivich, The Bowery Mission’s director of operations and community relations. “The people served by The Bowery Mission have benefited greatly as SUNY Optometry has provided excellent care at our lower Manhattan location. We are excited to be expanding our existing partnership into East Harlem."
Renovations to the space were recently completed and the Men’s Center in Harlem includes two fully equipped diagnostic examination rooms. All services, including any necessary optical devices such as glasses, are provided to those served free of charge.
The SUNY College of Optometry has been steadily increasing its outreach into the community. It was announced recently that the College will manage the care at two New York City public school vision centers as part of an initiative by the United Federation of Teachers and the global vision care nonprofit OneSight called “ProjectNYSee.” Also, thanks to a recent grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the College will also be hiring a fulltime outreach coordinator to manage and cultivate the institution’s robust efforts within the community.
“Our partnership with The Bowery Mission has been fruitful for us in a variety of ways,” said SUNY Optometry’s President Dr. David A. Heath, “It has provided us with another opportunity to fulfill our mission of providing service to our community and it has also given us the ability to further enhance our students’ clinical experiences while also promoting the value and importance of public health.”
A Day of Celebration - Commencement 2014
The SUNY College of Optometry awarded a record 80 students with degrees at the Hudson Theatre in Midtown Manhattan on Sunday as the College celebrated its 40th commencement since its establishment in 1971.
The day began with the annual awards ceremony in the College’s Schwarz Theater where 20 graduating students received a total of 26 academic, service and professional distinction awards. (Click here to see the full list of awards.)
“Our reputation is derived from the quality of our students,” Dr. David A. Heath, president of SUNY Optometry, told those gathered for the ceremony as he recognized the significant achievement of the students. Dr. David Troilo, vice president for academic affairs and dean, noted that the Class of 2014 was well known for its academic and leadership prowess, while vice president for student affairs, Dr. Jeffrey Philpott, who presided over the ceremony, reminded the students that they had come to the College the same year that he had and that they had spent the last four years learning and growing together. This year recipients chose faculty members to present their awards to them during the ceremony which helped to create some heartfelt, witty and even a few emotional moments during the course of the one-hour event.
At the afternoon commencement, three students were awarded the PhD in Vision Science, four students were awarded the MS in Vision Science and 76 students received the Doctor of Optometry degree. It represented the largest graduating class in the College’s history.
During the ceremony, SUNY conferred an honorary degree upon Dr. Jacob Nachmias, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania and a leader in developing the modern understanding of spatial vision.
This year the College inaugurated the Presidential Medal, awarding it to Dr. Robert Duckman. The Presidential Medal was created to recognize a retiring, full-time faculty member who has devoted the vast majority of his or her career to the College and whose work has made a significant impact in their field. Dr. Duckman joined the faculty of the College when it opened in 1971.
Class of 2014 president, Mitali Sanghani, spoke to her fellow graduates about the camaraderie that they shared and urged her colleagues to use their new careers for good. “We are in a profession that can change lives,” she said.
This year’s commencement address was given by Ms. Ronda Kotelchuck, the chief executive officer of the Primary Care Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization that works to expand and transform primary health care in underserved communities. Ms. Kotelchuck noted that the graduates would be entering into a health care system that his undergone enormous change recently but also carefully pointed out that they had the opportunity to make an outsized impact within the new system.
Also during the ceremony, SUNY alumnus Dr. Christopher Colburn, president of the New York State Optometric Association, presented the NYSOA Optometric Educator Award to faculty member Dr. David Krumholz and the NYSOA Optometrist of the Year Award to the president of the College's Alumni Association, Dr. Denise Whittam.
For more information about Dr. Nachmias, Ms. Kotelchuck and Dr. Duckman click here
Want to see photos?
- To view and download photos of commencement click here
- To view and download photos from the awards ceremony click here
You can also view slideshows of commencement and award ceremony images below:
Large Crowd Celebrates Class of 2016 White Coat Ceremony
Well over 200 people gathered in the Schwarz Theater on May 22 to welcome the Class of 2016 into the third year of their professional program and the clinical phase of their education. This rite of passage, known as a “white coat ceremony,” has been increasingly celebrated at professional health educational institutions across the nation in recent years. The College began conducting its own white coat ceremony in 2011 and this year saw the largest collection of family, friends and faculty members in attendance to date.
A total of 85 students received pins as part of the hour-long ceremony that included the perspectives of a parent of one of the students—Dr. Sylvia Bernatsky, herself an OD—as well as inspirational words from Mr. Richard Bernstein, a visually impaired lawyer and advocate who has completed 18 marathons and triathlons.
In his remarks to the gathering, SUNY Optometry president, Dr. David A. Heath, noted that the progression of the Class of 2016 into its third year of the Doctor of Optometry program represents a significant watershed in the students' professional lives that marks a shift of focus away from themselves to a greater concern over the well-being and outcome of their patients.
Meanwhile, the rapid evolution of the health care environment was also imparted on the new clinical interns. Dr. Richard Soden, vice president for clinical affairs at the College, noted that the students will be faced with “the greatest changes in health care reform since the introduction of Medicare” nearly fifty years ago. While Dr. Denise Whittam, the past president of the New York State Optometric Association and the current president of SUNY Optometry’s Alumni Association, told the students that they would soon be entering a profession that has progressed markedly in recently years, a sentiment that was also articulated by Dr. Bernatsky during her remarks.
Dr. Bernatsky urged the students to remember that working with patients is a two-way street. “At times you may need to teach your patients,” she said. “But don’t forget to learn from them as well.” Mr. Bernstein, who was introduced by Jenna Salner, the class president, implored the students to remember the impact that they will have on their patients’ lives and thanked them for their “willingness to make people’s lives better.”
After receiving their pins from Dr. Soden and Dr. David Troilo, vice president and dean for academic affairs at the College, the students recited the optometric oath for students. The gathering then moved to a reception at the College’s Center for Student Life and Learning.
Check out the slideshow below for more images from the event. Individual photos can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here
SUNY Alumnus Helping Others Navigate Successful Careers
Dr. Matthew Geller founded OptometryStudents.com as a first year OD student at the SUNY College of Optometry in 2009. Five years later, the 2013 graduate has launched NewGradOptometry.com as a way to assist new doctors as they work to succeed in the ever-dynamic health care environment. Both websites have been highly lauded by the ophthalmic community for providing information and resources that are often unavailable elsewhere.
We asked Dr. Geller, who also currently practices at a private clinic in San Diego, a few questions about his two unique endeavors:
When you began OptometryStudents.com as a SUNY Optometry OD student, you said that that you wanted to create a “positive voice for students in the profession.” Are you now looking to continue this same tradition for newly minted doctors at NewGradOptometry.com (NGO)?
Moving the profession forward will always be the number one goal for any project that I take on. If you don’t have an altruistic, positive and genuine motive behind what you do then you won’t succeed. Optometry comes first at the end of the day and every decision we make gets passed through the filter of “is this bringing value to new graduates?” and “is this helping optometry?”
With OptometryStudents.com the goal was the help optometry students understand the profession they were getting involved in. With NewGradOptometry.com the goal is to give new graduates everything they need to succeed in the real world of optometry. With the proper tools and direction from other new graduates, we are capable of being the next leaders in the profession.
What was your motivation for launching NGO?
We wanted to make life easier for new graduates so that they can be successful, both professionally and personally.
Can you talk about the reception that you received from the optometric community for OptometryStudents.com and how NGO is being received today?
I have formed so many friends in the community thanks to OptometryStudents.com. The community loved this project and we got nearly every industry player involved in some way or another. Everyone got to benefit from OptometryStudents.com. It was truly an altruistic project.
The perception of NGO is exactly the same. Everyone is excited to get new graduates up to speed on the “real world” of optometry. Industry players and the community are eager to utilize NGO to deliver a message that might have taken triple the amount of time previously.
Your team at NGO includes SUNY alumni Dr. Quy Nguyen and Dr. Antonio Chirumbolo. How did your overall experience at SUNY help inform how you view the profession today and the information that you provide at NGO?
Quy and Antonio are great friends and great doctors. They are going to be big names in the future! SUNY was amazing, the best optometry school I could have attended. At SUNY it’s all about the community and the relationships and SUNY taught me how valuable this was. With NGO we are keeping that same “community” vibe alive. SUNY taught me great things. Nine times out of 10 I wondered why I was learning something in the moment but now it all makes sense. They really have valuable knowledge to deliver from an awesome staff.
As a doctor working in private practice, what are some of the challenges that you’ve faced and how are you trying to use your experience to help those who follow you as new doctors?
The biggest challenges are…
- Getting credentialed on insurance panels
- Understanding insurance (vision and medical)
- Getting your schedule busy
- Prescribing with confidence
- Being confident but respecting your superiors and staff
- Getting involved without running yourself too thin
These are all lessons we write about at NGO…and our fans get to learn right alongside us!
What is your overall impression of the optometric profession today and how do you think young ODs coming into optometry today will change it in the future?
Optometry is awesome! I love the profession and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I would advise only those students who have a TRUE PASSION for optometry to join our family. Those who are doing it to just “punch the clock and get a paycheck” are not going to enjoy this profession. Optometry needs motivated individuals like Ryan Corte and Courtney Dryer—two more members of our NGO team—who will take optometry to new heights.
The profession will change BIG TIME. Look at it now – vertical integration of corporations, health care reform, online eye exams, online dispensaries and board certification – these are all things we must embrace and change alongside. Do not fight this stuff; it will not get us anywhere. We need to learn how to be the authority leaders and the go-to doctors. We need to innovate and grow and partner with these ideas.
People always say “optometry is changing” but its not just optometry, it’s the entire global and social order that is changing. These changes are happening thanks to the internet, which allows companies and political organizations to streamline their workflow and their interactions with employees and customers. Every company is cashing in on this and utilizing it to the fullest extent. Consumers now expect a streamlined and easy-to-use interface for all of life’s interactions and if an industry can’t adapt to that, they will fail. Optometry is the tip of the iceberg but underneath it is the real drive for social, economic and political change. Optometry is just along for the ride! You can’t stop the entire iceberg called “life” from changing. You need to jump on board that iceberg and build your own motor and steering wheel so that you can navigate it where you want it to go. Would you stand in front of a million-ton iceberg? I sure wouldn’t…
If you need to find me, I will be in a down jacket and gloves on top of the iceberg! Come join me, it’s a wonderful view!
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Provides Support for UEC’s Growing Community Outreach Efforts
The University Eye Center will use a two-year, $200,000 grant, recently provided by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, one of the world’s leading international philanthropic organizations, to the Optometric Center of New York, the philanthropic arm of the College, to create and staff a fulltime community outreach coordinator. The new coordinator will be responsible for managing and expanding the UEC’s network of ongoing relationships across the New York City community and beyond.
“Enhancing public health through education and service is part of our mission at the College,” said Dr. David A. Heath, SUNY Optometry’s president. “We’re certainly grateful to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for partnering with us in our effort to build on the success that we’ve had in caring for our community.”
The UEC has been steadily expanding its outreach programs in a variety of different ways recently. Last year, the clinic’s doctors and interns made more than 200 visits to individuals in Manhattan and Queens who are unable to leave their homes as part of its decades-long Homebound program. The College also established a partnership with the Bowery Mission last year to provide regular, free vision care to those served by the Mission in lower Manhattan. That program will expand to the Bowery’s East Harlem location this spring. UEC doctors and practitioners also provided more than 1,100 individuals at various educational and community events throughout the city last year with vital, health-related information. Doctors, interns and staff also regularly examine individuals at free screenings in the UEC and throughout the community designed to detect a variety of ocular and systemic diseases. It was also recently announced that the College will manage the care at two vision centers at public schools in New York City which are being established later this year by the United Federation of Teachers and the global vision care nonprofit OneSight as part of an initiative known as “ProjectNYSee.”
In addition to maintaining the institution’s robust outreach programs, the community outreach coordinator will also focus on developing new and different avenues for providing a broad range of care to underserved members of the community.
“We’re very excited by the opportunity that having somebody in this position will give to us in our ongoing effort to expand our outreach into the community,” said Dr. Richard Soden, vice president for clinical affairs at the College and executive director of the UEC. “The care that we provide for our neighbors is an important service and I am pleased that this grant will enable us to expand on our already vigorous efforts.”
SUNY Optometry Prepares for its 40th Commencement
On Sunday, June 1, the SUNY College of Optometry will hold its 40th commencement. The day's events will begin with the College's annual awards ceremony for students in the Schwarz Theatre in the morning with commencement at the Hudson Theatre in Midtown Manhattan during the afternoon. A total of 76 students will receive degrees at the ceremony.
Dr. Jacob Nachmias, an emeritus professor at the University of Pennsylvania, will receive an honorary degree. Ms. Ronda Kotelchuck, the founding CEO of the Primary Care Development Corporation, will address the graduates. SUNY Optometry's Dr. Robert Duckman will receive the inaugural Presidential Medallion in recognition of his service to the College.
Here’s a closer look at Dr. Nachmias, Ms. Kotelchuck and Dr. Duckman:
Dr. Jacob Nachmias
Doctor of Science, honoris causa
Professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Jacob Nachmias is arguably the scientist most responsible for the experimental work upon which our modern understanding of spatial (or “pattern”) vision is based. Spatial or pattern vision is the first step in visual perception after the eyes send retinal image information to the brain.
Throughout his career, Dr. Nachmias’s work has been widely recognized for its cleverness of experimental design, careful attention to detail and technical precision. His seminal insights into functional vision have had a profound influence on other leaders in the field, and through his legacy of research, teaching and mentorship, he serves as a powerful role model for students.
Dr. Nachmias has been honored with elected membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the Edgar D. Tillyer Award from the Optical Society of America. He received his AB degree from Cornell University, his MA from Swarthmore College and his PhD from Harvard University.
Ms. Ronda Kotelchuck
Ms. Ronda Kotelchuck is the founding CEO of the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC). Under her leadership, PCDC, a US Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution, has financed more than 100 primary care projects totaling $485 million and modernized more than 925,000 square feet of space. PCDC has also provided performance improvement training and coaching to nearly 900 primary care organizations throughout the United States, helping to transform the delivery and quality of primary care services in low-income communities.
In August 2011, Ms. Kotelchuck was invited to participate as a member of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's Medicaid Redesign Team Payment Reform Workgroup; a committee selected to develop recommendations to reduce costs and increase quality and efficiency in New York’s Medicaid Program.
Ms. Kotelchuck is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, co-chair of the Hermann Biggs Society, a member of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Advisory Council and a member of the California Health Care Foundation/Center for Health Care Design’s Advisory Committee on Safety Net Clinic Design.
She is a recipient of the Haven Emerson Lifetime Achievement Award, the Paul Ramos Memorial Award, and the Avedis Donabedian Healthcare Quality Award. Ms. Kotelchuck received her BA from Lewis and Clark College, and her MRP from Cornell University.
Dr. Robert Duckman
The Presidential Medallion is a newly created award given for the first time this year. It is designed to recognize a retiring, full-time faculty member who has devoted the vast majority of his or her career to the College and whose work has made a significant impact in their field.
Dr. Robert Duckman became a founding member of the SUNY College of Optometry faculty on August 1, 1971, shortly after receiving his OD degree from the New England College of Optometry. During the ensuing 43 years, Dr. Duckman devoted himself to the College by educating several generations of students and perhaps, most critically, by enhancing and advancing our understanding of pediatric vision. During his tenure at the College Dr. Duckman achieved the rank of professor and served in numerous roles including chair of the Department of Vision Sciences, director of the Children with Special Needs Clinic and chief of the Infant’s Vision Service. He is a recipient of the 2008, Satmar Bikur Cholim, Physician of the Year Award, as well as a 2010 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.
He has published widely and served as editor and contributor to the 2006 textbook “Vision Development, Diagnosis and Treatment of the Pediatric Patient.” He has also participated as a member of the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG) since its inception in 1997. Dr. Duckman is also widely sought out as speaker in both the United States and abroad.
In addition to his OD degree, Dr. Duckman received a BA in Biology-Chemistry from Queens College and an MA in Psychology from the New School for Social Research.
Scholarly Activities for May 2014
Jain AJ, Anstis SJ, Backus BT (2014) Cue-recruitment for Extrinsic Signals After Training with Low Information Stimuli. PLOS One, in press.
Komban SJ, Kremkow J, Jin J, Wang Y, Lashgari R, Li X, Zaidi Q, Alonso JM. (2014) Neuronal and perceptual differences in the temporal processing of darks and lights. Neuron. 2014 Apr 2;82(1):224-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.02.020. PMID: 24698277
Lin Z, Vasudevan B, Jhanji V, Mao GY, Gao TY, Wang FH, Rong SS, Ciuffreda KJ, Liang YB. (2014) Near Work, Outdoor Activity, and their Association with Refractive Error. Optom Vis Sci. 2014 Apr;91(4):376-82. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000219. PMID: 24637483
Harrison SJ, Backus BT. (2014) A trained perceptual bias that lasts for weeks. Vision Res. 2014 Mar 13. pii: S0042-6989(14)00048-0. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2014.03.001. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24631663 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Martin PR, Lee BB. (2014) Distribution and specificity of S-cone ("blue cone") signals in subcortical visual pathways. Vis Neurosci. 2014 Mar;31(2):177-87. doi: 10.1017/S0952523813000631. Epub 2014 Feb 20.PMID: 24555883
Li X, Chen Y, Lashgari R, Bereshpolova Y, Swadlow HA, Lee BB, Alonso JM. (2014) Mixing of Chromatic and Luminance Retinal Signals in Primate Area V1. Cereb Cortex. 2014 Jan 23. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24464943
Giesel M, Zaidi Q. (2014) Frequency-based heuristics for material perception. J Vis. 2013 Dec 6;13(14). pii: 7. doi: 10.1167/13.14.7. PMID: 24317425
Verselis VK, Srinivas M. (2013) Connexin channel modulators and their mechanisms of action. Neuropharmacology. 2013 Dec;75:517-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.03.020. Epub 2013 Apr 15. PMID: 23597508
Alexandra Benavente was invited to give a Provost Lecture talk at SUNY Institute of Technology, Utica, along with Andrea Dziubek from SUNY IT, titled "Mathematical Modeling of Ocular Blood Flow in the Retina" on March 28th 2014
SUNY Plays Large Role at American Optometric Association’s Congressional Advocacy Conference
A large contingent of SUNY College of Optometry students and alumni met with lawmakers in Washington, DC in April as part of the American Optometric Association's 2014 Congressional Advocacy Conference. Part of the focus of this year’s conference was on addressing legislation that would include optometrists in the National Health Service Corps and to recognize optometrists as physicians within Medicaid.
SUNY Optometry had 32 students along with several alumni among the AOA group, including Dr. Susan Fisher, Dr. Ken Sorkin, Dr. Fran Reinstein and Dr. Andrea Thau. The group met with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as well as New York House members, Rep. Tim Bishop, Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Joe Crowley, Rep. Steve Israel, Rep. Peter King, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Tom Reed, and Rep. Paul Tonko.
SUNY Spirit Shines at VisionWalk 2014
SUNY Optometry showed up at Citi Field in full force on May 3rd for VisionWalk 2014, raising nearly $7,300 for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and winning the “Overall Spirit Award” in the process.
Dr. Susan Schuettenberg, associate clinical professor at the College, served as medical co-chair of the 5k walk which, since its inception in 2006, has seen tens of thousands of participants from across the country and raised over $30 million to fund sight-saving research.
Over 170 students, faculty and staff from SUNY, and their families, participated.
Donations to the SUNY Optometry team can be made through June 30. Click here for details.
You can see pictures from VisionWalk 2014 by clicking here or watch the slideshow below:
Eye Ball 2014
SUNY College of Optometry students, faculty and staff recently celebrated their accomplishments and successes at the annual, student-organized Eye Ball on April 17. This year over 200 members of the SUNY Optometry community enjoyed a great night. The Eye Ball was sponsored by Alcon, ABB Optical Group, Modern Optical and Lombart Instruments.
Check out some of the great pictures:
Alumnus Provides Substantial Support for the Vision and the Promise Campaign
It was announced at the Optometric Center of New York’s ‘Eyes on New York’ gala on March 28 that SUNY College of Optometry alumnus Dr. Mark Feder of the Class of 1983 and his wife Sherrie have provided significant support which, SUNY Optometry President David A. Heath told the audience, would be recognized at the College with the naming of one of its newly-renovated, state-of-the-art classrooms “Feder Hall.” In addition, the College will establish the Dr. Mark Feder Endowed Scholarship and also fund other critical campaign initiatives. “We are proud to support the Vision and the Promise campaign,” Dr. Feder said. “The College plays such a critical role in the community providing education, patient care and research.”
Dr. Feder is the founder of Norwalk Eye Care and has been in private practice in Norwalk, CT since his graduation from the College. He also serves as the chief executive officer of IDOC, an organization for independent optometrists. “SUNY is where I started my career more than three decades ago,” he said, "and it has been an incredibly rewarding journey for me being able to improve so many lives with the gift of sight.”
The Feder’s connection to SUNY Optometry now extends to another generation as their daughter currently attends the College as a Class of 2017 student in the OD program.
“We're very grateful to be able to give back to this wonderful institution that our family has such a close connection to so that they can continue the excellent work that they’re doing with their campaign and beyond,” Dr. Feder said.
The Vision and the Promise is the OCNY’s five-year, $10 million fundraising campaign which is designed to support the College’s education, patient care, research and community health care initiatives.
Support to Enhance Dispensing Services for Students and Patients
SUNY Optometry President David A. Heath announced a $250,000 gift from Essilor of America at Vision Expo East last month. In recognition for the gift, SUNY has named its dispensary the “Essilor Eyewear Center.”
“On behalf of the entire SUNY Optometry community, I would like to express my great appreciation to Essilor for the generosity and significant support to our students, faculty and patients that they are providing through their gift,” President Heath said. “As a result, we will be able to continue to enhance the education of our students, as well as continue to improve our patient care experience and facilitate the operation of our dispensing service.”
As part of the gift, which is being made over a period of five years, Essilor is providing SUNY’s optical lens fabricating laboratory with a new optical lens edger. Through this in-kind donation, as well as cash contributions, SUNY will help to ensure that its dispensary remains an innovative, state-of-the-art facility for both its students at the College and its patients in the University Eye Center.
“The future of optometry is important to Essilor, and through this contribution we are pleased to support SUNY and its efforts to train students in a modern, high-tech facility,” said Dr. Howard Purcell, senior vice president of customer development at Essilor of America. “We are honored to be associated with SUNY and the work they do to provide students with the latest, most innovative equipment as they gain a hands-on learning experience in preparation for their optometric careers.”
The gift was made as part of the Optometric Center of New York’s five-year, $10 million fundraising campaign the Vision and the Promise which is designed to support the College’s education, patient care, research and community health care initiatives.
Grants Totaling Up to $1.5 Million Awarded for CVRC Research
The SUNY Research Foundation signed agreements with several industry partners recently that will enable the SUNY College of Optometry to move ahead on a series of clinical research projects designed to improve and enhance eye and vision health in both children and adults. The total combined funding for the studies is approaching $1.5 million.
The projects will be run through the College’s Clinical Vision Research Center (CVRC) and include a long-term study that will examine the effectiveness of spectacles and contact lenses to slow the progression of myopia in children as well as a study that will test a newly developed drug designed for treating inflammation associated with dry eye disease. Agreements for two additional studies that will evaluate new designs of progressive addition spectacle lenses and limbal ring contact lenses were also recently signed.
CVRC founding director, Dr. Kathryn Richdale, is pleased with these recent collaborations and what they mean for not only the College but the larger community.
“These collaborations allow us to offer treatment options not otherwise available to our patients,” Dr. Richdale said. “I’m proud of the role that SUNY Optometry and the CVRC are playing in the important process of ophthalmic device and drug development and look forward to continued expansion of our industry partnerships.”
The CVRC is beginning the critical process of enrolling subjects for each study. For Information about the specific aims and requirements for each study or to find out how you can enroll in a clinical research study at the SUNY College of Optometry click here.
SUNY Optometry Student Honored by Chancellor
SUNY College of Optometry student Kevin Willeford received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence during a ceremony with SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher in Albany on April 2. Originally from Easton, PA and a graduate of the University of Miami in Florida, Willeford received his MS in Vision Science from SUNY Optometry last year and is a member of the OD program’s Class of 2014. This summer he’ll begin the PhD in Vision Science program at the College.
“Students honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence truly embody the power of SUNY,” Chancellor Zimpher said. “As proven leaders and role models, scholar athletes, creative artists, and civic volunteers, each student is recognized not just for academic achievement, but also for the profound impact they have on college campuses and local communities across New York State.”
During his tenure at SUNY Willeford has worked closely with faculty members Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda and Dr. Jerry Rapp, co-publishing research with both of them. He has a particular interest in the electrophysiology of the brain and the role that visual attention plays in learning disabilities. He has also published work on the relationship between age-related macular degeneration and smoking.
“I see the Chancellor's Award as recognition of my hard work over the past four years and I’m humbled to receive it,” Willeford said. “I hope I can continue to represent SUNY Optometry with similar honors in the future.”
The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement. This year 274 students from across the 64 campuses of the SUNY system received the award.
“We’re exceptionally proud of what Kevin has achieved during his time at the College,” SUNY Optometry President David A. Heath said. “His accomplishments in both our professional program and our graduate program make him a great representative of the excellence that we consistently strive for at the College.”
Career Symposium Enlightens and Inspires
The SUNY College of Optometry was buzzing about the future on Sunday at the College’s 3rd Annual Career Symposium: Imagine Tomorrow. The full-day event, produced by the Career Development Center (CDC), assembled a collection of distinguished professionals to provided students and other members of the SUNY community with an informed glimpse at what the future of optometry might look like.
Two dozen experts from across a broad spectrum of the optometric community and beyond took part in a variety of fast-paced, interactive panel discussions on such issues as employability, technology, interprofessional practice and more. In addition to its insightful content, this year’s symposium also provided a more intriguing presentation with the Schwarz Theater arranged to look like a living room and the panelist’s images projected for the audience onto a large screen. Video was also incorporated into the symposium’s introductory presentation.
SUNY Optometry’s president, Dr. David A Heath, noted in his welcoming remarks to the audience that one of the College’s goals when it established the CDC in 2012 was to ensure that the overwhelming majority of students who attend the College end up satisfied in careers of their choosing and that events like the annual career symposium are designed specifically as tools to help the members of the College community achieve that important goal.
A major theme of this year’s event was the globalization of the profession, something that was reflected in the international nature of many of the symposium’s participants. Dr. Fan Lu of Wenzhou Medical University in China, Dr. Hector Santiago who has worked for three decades on the development of optometric education in Latin America and beyond were two of the panelists, while Dr. Jason Singh, the event’s keynote speaker, is the executive director of OneSight, a nonprofit organization that is working to create sustainable solutions for vision care around the world. A complete listing of the participants and their bios can be found by clicking here.
“The energy, the enthusiasm, the collection of talent and the wide range of issues that were addressed helped to make this year’s symposium the best one yet,” said Mr. Francisco Lucio, SUNY Optometry’s director of career development. “It was a great opportunity for the members of our community to really dig into the issues that will matter for their careers in the coming years.”
See some reactions to the 3rd Annual Career Symposium in the video below:
SUNY Residents Put Their Best Foot Forward
Hundreds of people attended SUNY's annual Residents' Day program in mid-March. Co-sponsored by Alcon, Residents' Day is one of the requirements for the doctors in SUNY's residency programs. Residents present on a variety of topics relevant to their specialty and, in the process, provide a variety of COPE-approved continuing education credit for optometrists throughout the community.
Scholarly Activities for April 2014
Dr. Robert McPeek has been awarded a four year National Eye Institute grant totaling $1.5 million. The title of the grant is "Cortical and subcortical control of saccades". The research project investigates the neural control of saccades, which are rapid eye movements that allow the fovea to fixate objects of interest, making them essential for efficient visual perception and action. Saccade planning involves a network of cortical and subcortical brain areas, but we currently have little idea of how activity across these areas is coordinated to produce an eye movement. The project investigates the interactions among these brain areas during saccades in different contexts, using a combination of both correlational and causal techniques. The results will illuminate the functional architecture of the saccadic eye movement system, and, more generally, will lead toward a better understanding of how cortical and subcortical brain areas interact.
Harrison, S. J., & Backus, B. T. (2014). A trained perceptual bias that lasts for weeks. Vision Research. In press.
Nakata M, Okada Y, Kobata H, Shigematsu T, Reinach PS, Tomoyose K, Saika S. (2014) Diabetes mellitus suppresses hemodialysis-induced increases in tear fluid secretion. BMC Res Notes. 2014 Feb 4;7:78. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-78.
Scheiman M, Ciuffreda KJ, Thiagarajan P, Tannen B, Ludlam D. (2014) Objective assessment of vergence and accommodation after vision therapy for convergence insufficiency in a child: a case report. Optometry and Visual Performance, 2014, 2, 10-15.
Thiagarajan P, Ciuffreda KJ, Capo-Aponte J, Ludlam DP, Kapoor N. (2014) Oculomotor neurorehabilitation for reading in mild traumatic brain injury: an integrative approach Neurorehabilitation, 2014, 34, 129-146.
Thiagarajan P, Ciuffreda KJ. (2014) Effect of oculomotor rehabilitation on vergence function in mild traumatic brain injury. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 2014, 50, 1223-1240.
Vieira SM, Silva RL, Lemos HP, Amorim RC, da Silva EC, Reinach PS, Cunha FQ, Pohlit AM, Cunha TM. (2014) Gastro-protective effects of isobrucein B, a quassinoid isolated from Picrolemma sprucei. Fitoterapia. 2014 Mar 1. pii: S0367-326X(14)00053-7. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2014.02.008. [Epub ahead of print]
Yadav N.K, Thiagarajan P, Ciuffreda K. J. (2014) Effect of oculomotor vision rehabilitation on the visual-evoked potential and visual attention in mild traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury (Available online). 2014 Feb 24. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24564831
Backus, B. "Plasticity and learning in visual perception and low-level binocular vision"
March 12, 2014 SUNY Downstate Neuroscience Colloquium (Brooklyn, NY)
and March 14, 2014 Univerisity of British Columbia Neuroscience Seminar (Vancouver, Canada)
Barry Tannen received the "Ludlam Education Award" at the annual Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association's annual meeting on April 5th 2014.
In the Media
Benjamin Backus was asked to give an explanation of an illusion in an NPR blog (read it here) on March 17, 2014 "The green you see is not the green you see" by Tania Lombrozo
OCNY Closes in on Campaign Goal, Honors Executive and Humanitarian at Eleventh Annual Gala
The Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the philanthropic arm of the SUNY College of Optometry, held its Eleventh Annual “Eyes on New York” gala Friday night at a glittering Cipriani 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, honoring Mr. Andrea Dorigo, a former president of Luxottica Wholesale, North America and Ms. Edie Lutnick, the co-founder and executive director of The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund. OCNY president Mr. Richard Feinbloom noted in his remarks during the evening that both honorees “have made significant contributions” to their communities through their professional and philanthropic activities.
After taking the podium, SUNY College of Optometry president, Dr. David A. Heath told the gathering of more than 350 people from across the ophthalmic community and beyond that the OCNY had now raised more than $9.5 million toward the $10 million goal that was established for the five-year Vision and the Promise campaign which the Foundation launched in 2009 to support the College’s education, patient care, research and community health care initiatives. “It is no longer a question of whether we will reach our goal,” President Heath said, “but by how much we will exceed it.”
During the evening President Heath announced two significant contributions that were recently made to the campaign. Dr. Mark Feder, a 1983 alumnus of SUNY Optometry, and his wife Sherrie provided significant support which, President Heath told the audience, would be recognized by the College naming one of its newly-renovated, state-of-the-art classrooms “Feder Hall.” In addition, the College will establish the Dr. Mark Feder Endowed Scholarship as well as fund other critical campaign initiatives.
“We’re proud to support the Vision and the Promise campaign,” Dr. Feder said in an earlier statement to the College. “SUNY is where I started my career more than three decades ago and it has been an incredibly rewarding journey for me to be able to improve so many lives with the gift of sight.”
President Heath also recognized a $250,000 gift from Essilor of America, the world’s leading provider of eyeglass lenses, which had been announced earlier in the day at Vision Expo East. This support, he noted, will help to ensure that the College’s dispensary remains an innovative facility for both its students as well as for patients of the University Eye Center. It was also announced that, in recognition for their generosity, SUNY Optometry has named its dispensary the “Essilor Eyewear Center.”
Mr. Dorigo, who held several senior management roles at Luxottica before joining Brooks Brothers in the newly-created role of president of North America earlier this year, expressed his honor at being recognized by the OCNY and noted that Luxottica takes “a long view” toward its commitment to both the ophthalmic industry and to the community at large. Mr. Dorigo was graciously introduced by gala co-chair Ms. Holly Rush, the current president of Luxottica Wholesale, North America.
Ms. Lutnick received the OCNY’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, which she established in the wake of 9/11, addresses the needs of victims of terrorism, natural disasters and emergencies. Ms. Lutnick was introduced by co-chair and OCNY vice president Ms. Barbara Saltzman. In her remarks Ms. Lutnick expressed gratitude for the work that optometrists and other eye care professionals do, specifically noting the life-changing care that SUNY Optometry’s Dr. Neera Kapoor provided for one of her friends.
“It was a remarkable evening and a wonderful testament to the great support that our community continues to provide to this critical campaign,” Ms. Ann Warwick, vice president for institutional advancement at SUNY Optometry and executive director of the OCNY said about the event.
View a slideshow of photos from the evening below, or view individual images by clicking here
Also, you can view the video that was shown at the gala below:
UEC’s Referral Service Working with a Growing Community of Practitioners
Since its establishment more than five years ago, the University Eye Center’s Referral Service has provided the clinic with a steady and growing stream of patients. The growth, in fact, has been staggering. Last year, the Referral Service produced close to three times the number of patient encounters than it had just five years earlier. That growth, according to Dr. Harriette Canellos, the Referral Service’s director, can be attributed to several factors, including the UEC’s reputation, the multitude of specialty services that it provides and simple word-of-mouth from a wide range of satisfied referring doctors and other health care professionals in the community.
“When the Referral Service began, we assumed that we would be receiving referrals from doctors in the New York City area,” Dr. Canellos says, “but we quickly started to receive referrals from Long Island, Westchester County and Upstate New York, as well as from Connecticut and beyond. It’s a testament to the good work that we’ve been doing here.”
Many referrals come from optometrists and ophthalmologist looking for specialized services that they don’t perform in their own practices. “Optometrists and ophthalmologists often refer patients to us for things like specialty contact lens fittings, or for our extensive Imaging Service,” Dr. Canellos notes.
Over the past year, however, one area of growth for the Referral Service has been particularly notable. In 2012, more than a quarter of the referrals made through the Referral Service came from specialists outside of the areas of optometry and ophthalmology. Last year, that number grew to more than one-third of all referrals.
Dr. Canellos credits a growing recognition about the importance of an interprofessional approach to health care as part of the reason for this development. “These referring providers are recognizing that optometrists are part of a larger health care team,” Dr. Canellos notes.
This fact seems to be well illustrated in the Referral Services’ data. “Primary care physicians and pediatricians have recognized our excellence when it comes to both routine exams and advanced care,” Dr. Canellos says. “We see referrals from primary care physicians for patients with systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, and we see referrals from pediatricians for children with conditions ranging from eye infections to learning disabilities.” In addition, when a child fails a basic vision screening performed by a pediatrician, that doctor often refers that child to the UEC for a more extensive examination.
The Referral Service is also seeing an expanding number of referrals from beyond the realm of primary care physicians and pediatricians. Specialists are regularly referring their patients to the UEC. “We have dermatologists who refer their patients to our Oculoplastics Service, and neurologists who refer to our Head Trauma Service,” Dr. Canellos says. “And we’re also seeing an increasing number of referrals from professionals like speech pathologists, audiologists, occupational and physical therapists, as well as from school psychologists, teachers and child advocates.”
The Referral Service was created to provide services and testing that complement what the referring practitioners can deliver to their patients. This goal, Dr. Canellos notes, epitomizes what interprofessional health care is all about. But it also helps to highlight the three-pronged mission of the institution—education, research and patient care—to the larger health care community.
“The Referral Service is looking to increase our recognition, not only as a patient care facility but also as an important educational institution that engages in high quality research as well,” she says. “The Referral Service plays a key role in raising the visibility of our entire institutional mission.”
SUNY Optometry Ready to Imagine Tomorrow at the Third Annual Career Symposium
Registration is now open for the SUNY College of Optometry’s 3rd Annual Career Symposium: Imagine Tomorrow which will take place on Sunday, April 6. The focus of this year’s events, which is hosted by the College’s Career Development Center, is squarely placed on the future of optometry and what current and future optometrists will need to be aware of as they build their careers in the years ahead.
“Of course nobody can predict the future with absolute certainty,” says Mr. Francisco Lucio, SUNY Optometry’s director of career development, “but it’s abundantly clear that the health care world domestically and internationally is changing very rapidly at the moment and we want to ensure that our SUNY community is as prepared as they can be for what is to come.”
The day-long event, which will take place at the College, includes a discussion with a panel of experts on emerging technologies and how to prepare for their potential implementation in the future. The topic of team-based care and what optometrists will need to do in order to succeed in this increasingly prevalent practice model will also be tackled, as well as issues of employability and what future optometrists will need to do now in order to be competitive candidates for the jobs of the future. The Symposium will also examine non-traditional employment opportunities for optometrists with a panel that includes three ODs who found different ways to incorporate their unique passion into their professional careers.
With globalization continuing to play a prominent role in all sectors of society, including health care, the Career Symposium will address it head on with a session on global optometry that will provide key insights on the inner-workings of vision care in China, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. In addition, the keynote address at the event will be delivered by Dr. Jason Singh, the executive director of OneSight, a nonprofit organization committed to eradicating the global vision crisis through access for all. Dr. Singh will tell his inspiring story about providing critical care around the globe and give a glimpse into the future of vision care for the world’s neediest people.
“Our previous two Symposiums were very successful,” Mr. Lucio says, “and we’re really excited and proud to be gathering together another collection of experts to address these absolutely critical topics for the SUNY Optometry community.”
Preparing students, residents and alumni for successful, fulfilling careers is a key initiative for the College. “Our students and residents receive an outstanding education at the College,” Mr. Lucio says. “And the Annual Career Symposium is a great companion to that high-quality education by helping to inform them about what lies ahead for their careers.”
To see the complete program and to register for the 3rd Annual Career Symposium: Imagine Tomorrow on Sunday, April 6 click here (registration is FREE but required to attend)
Alumni Association Working to Establish California Chapter
The SUNY College of Optometry Alumni Association is making a serious push to establish a new California chapter designed to represent and support the College’s large and growing cohort of alumni in the Golden State. Working with the assistance of an enthusiastic core of California alumni, including Dr. Raymond Chu, Dr. Valerie Wren, Dr. Long Tran, Dr. Lisa Galstian and Dr. John Gartner, the College has taken the first steps toward developing a chapter that will be split into two geographical sections of California—one northern and one southern—as a way to organize and support its considerable number of alumni in the state which continues to grow at a steady pace each year.
To help jumpstart the process, SUNY Optometry’s associate director of alumni affairs, Mr. Francisco Lomparte launched a LinkedIn professional group designed as a way to organize and energize the College’s California alumni and provide them with a place to gather and discuss issues pertinent to them.
“The LinkedIn group will allow our alumni in California to keep in contact with former classmates, connect with lost friends, find out about new practice opportunities, read articles related to the profession and even learn about and participate in future continuing education webinars hosted by the College which they will be able to take advantage of, even from 3,000 miles away,” Mr. Lomparte said.
The College has been working hard to provide its alumni with personalized services that provide value to them as they build their careers.
“It’s important for us to continue to find ways to engage and inform our alumni, as well as to provide them with a variety of different ways to stay connected to their alma mater and gain value from their relationship with us,” Ms. Ann Warwick, vice president for institutional advancement at SUNY Optometry said.
The SUNY Alumni Association will continue to develop this new California chapter, with the assistance of its California-based alumni, by establishing a presence at upcoming professional meetings in the state.
Scholarly Activities for March 2014
Bachy R and Zaidi Q. (2014) Factors governing the speed of color adaptation in foveal versus peripheral vision. J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 31, A220-A225.
Cooper B. and Lee B. (2014) (CV) Independence and interaction of luminance and chromatic contributions to spatial hyperacuity performance. J.Opt. Soc. of Am. A: Accepted February 2014. Doc. ID: 198653.
Kelly ST, Kremkow J, Jin J, Wang Y, Wang Q, Alonso JM and Stanley GB (2014). The role of thalamic population synchrony in the emergence of cortical feature selectivity. PLoS computational biology 10(1): e1003418. PMID: 24415930. PMCID: 3886888.
Kremkow J, Jin J, Komban SJ, Wang Y, Lashgari R, Li X, Jansen M, Zaidi Q and Alonso JM (2014). Neuronal nonlinearity explains greater visual spatial resolution for darks than lights. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID:24516130.
Li X, Chen Y, Lashgari R, Bereshpolova Y, Swadlow HA, Lee BB and Alonso JM (2014). Mixing of Chromatic and Luminance Retinal Signals in Primate Area V1. Cerebral cortex. PMID: 24464943.
Nakata M, Okada Y, Kobata H, Shigematsu T, Reinach PA, Tomoyose K, and Saika S. (2014) Diabetes mellitus suppresses hemodialysis induced increases in tear fluid secretion. BMC Research Notes 2014, 7:78. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1756-0500/7/78
Swanson WH, Dul MW, Horner DG, Liu T, Tran I. (2014). Assessing Spatial and Temporal Properties of Perimetric Stimuli for Resistance to Clinical Variations in Retinal Illumination. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. Jan 20; 55(1): 353-359. Doi:10.1167/iovs. 13-11640. PMID:24370832.
Wagner H, Richdale K, Mitchell GL, Lam DY., Jansen ME, Kinoshita BT, Sorbara L, Chalmers RL for the CLAY Study Group (2014). Age, Behavior, Environment, and Health Factors in the Soft Contact Lens Risk Survey. Optometry & Vision Science, 16 January 2014. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000164
Dr. Barry Tannen lectured at the Winter Education Series in Princeton, NJ on March 2nd 2014 on behalf of the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians. The topic was "Visual Consequences of Sports Related Concussions: Diagnosis, Management and Treatment Strategies" and "Oral Medications Used in the Treatment of Acquired Brain Injury"
OCNY to Honor Luxottica Executive and Philanthropist at Eleventh Annual Gala
The Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) is set to honor Mr. Andrea Dorigo, the past president of Luxottica Wholesale, North America and Ms. Edie Lutnick, the co-founder and executive director of The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, at the organization’s eleventh annual, “Eyes on New York” gala on March 28 in New York City.
The co-chairs of the marquee event, which will once again be held at the iconic Cipriani 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, are Ms. Holly Rush, the current president of Luxottica Wholesale, North America and Ms. Barbara Saltzman, the OCNY vice president.
The ‘Eyes on New York’ gala supports the ongoing work of the OCNY which is currently in the final year of its five-year, $10 million Vision and the Promise Campaign. The campaign supports community health care projects, such as the growing collaboration between the SUNY College of Optometry and the Bowery Mission that helps to provide hundreds of indigent New Yorkers with free vision care and the Homebound Program that has provided hundreds of New Yorkers who are unable to leave their homes with invaluable care. Over the course of the campaign, the OCNY was also established 16 new scholarships for students to attend the College as well as funding numerous, ongoing research projects.
Mr. Dorigo held several senior management roles at Luxottica since arriving at the company in 2005. Earlier this year he left Luxottica to join Brooks Brothers in the newly-created role as president of North America.
Ms. Lutnick, an advocate and author, established the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund on September 14, 2001 to address the short and long term needs of victims of terrorism, natural disasters and emergencies. Under Ms. Lutnick's leadership the organization has raised and distributed over $180 million to over 800 families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"Our gala, which has become a tradition for our Trustees and for industry leaders who attend Vision Expo East,” said Ms. Ann Warwick, executive director of the OCNY and vice president for Institutional Advancement at the College. “This event pays tribute to two people whose unique creative vision represents the very best in personal and professional achievement."
Find Out About Our Current Clinical Vision Research Center Studies
One year ago the SUNY College of Optometry officially opened its Clinical Vision Research Center (CVRC) as a way to provide an opportunity for faculty, patients, industry and government research partners to work together to conduct critical research that will advance vision care. “Research is a priority of this institution,” SUNY Optometry president Dr. David A. Heath said at the inauguration of the CVRC in February 2013, “it is an integral part of our mission.”
The CVRC has hit the ground running, partnering with a variety of entities to engage in numerous studies in a variety of areas. Here’s a look at the current studies being conducted at the CVRC and information about how patients can get involved.
If you have any questions or would like to find out how to participate in any of these studies, please contact the CVRC directly at 212-938-4052 or email@example.com
Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Study (CITS)
Convergence insufficiency is a problem where the eyes do not turn in enough when reading or looking at something close to your eyes. As a result, it takes extra effort to do near work and this extra effort can cause symptoms of eyestrain, blurred or double vision, headaches and reading problems. To treat convergence insufficiency, in office or at home vision therapy is recommended to help the eyes work together better. Two treatments that are often used are therapy using hand-held equipment and therapy using computer software.
The purpose of this study is to see which treatment therapy, hand held equipment or computer software, works better at home. The study is being conducted by the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group and is sponsored by the National Eye Institute of the US National Institutes of Health. The study will include 600 children nationwide who have convergence insufficiency. Children who have been diagnosed with convergence insufficiency and are between the ages of nine and 18 might be eligible. The study can take up to five visits and participants are compensated $40 per visit.
Hyperopia Treatment Study 1 (HTS1)
This study is being conducted because it is not known if hyperopia (or farsightedness) in children should be treated right away or if it is better to treat only when vision problems like an eye turn or lazy eye occur. As part of this study, some children will be prescribed glasses and others will not. All of the children will be closely monitored for vision problems. The study is being conducted by the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group and is sponsored by the National Eye Institute of the US National Institutes of Health. The study will include up to 700 children nationwide, between the ages of one and five, who have hyperopia and have never worn glasses or contact lenses. Subjects are compensated $40 per visit and must be willing to participate in up to seven study visits.
Contact Lens Assessment in Youth Observation of Risks Associated with Contact Lenses (CLAY ORACL) Study
This study is designed to learn more about why some people who wear contact lenses are more likely to get infections than others. It involves a single visit where participants will be examined, asked to complete a series of surveys and have their eyes, contact lens and lens case cultured. This study is sponsored by an unrestricted grant from Alcon Laboratories and is looking for individuals between the ages of 12 and 33 who currently wear soft contact lens. The study requires both healthy contact lens wearers (without any complications) and those who have a “red eye” or eye infection.
Prior to enrollment a doctor will determine whether or not you meet all the criteria to participate in the study. Participants should allow approximately 45 minutes to an hour for completion of the single visit study. Those who complete the study will be compensated $50 for their time.
Treatment Response in Accommodative Insufficiency (TRAIn) Study
This study is designed to learn more about accommodative insufficiency, a condition that makes it difficult for people to focus their eyes for near work. Eight schools and colleges of optometry from across the United States and Canada are participating in the study. At SUNY, the study is sponsored by the Schnurmacher Institute for Vision Research.
Individuals, between the ages of nine and 30 years old, who get tired eyes while reading might be eligible to participate in this two-visit study. The first visit includes testing the participant’s focusing ability and completing a survey. The second visit involves completing a survey. Participants will be paid up to $50 if they complete the study.
Healthy volunteers are always needed
Interested in participating in an eye or vision research study? Many of the CVRC’s studies require healthy patients as controls to compare to people with an eye or vision problem. If you have any questions about clinical research or would like to find out more about how to participate in a study, please contact the CVRC at 212-938-4052.
VisioNYC: June 2, 2014
Join us for VisioNYC Monday, June 2, 2014
A meeting for vision scientists in greater New York
SUNY College of Optometry
33 West 42nd Street
New York NY 10036
6:00-6:30 Arrival and refreshments (3rd floor lounge)
6:30-8:00 Talks (2nd floor lecture hall)
BOTOND ROSKA (Friedrich Miescher Institute)
The first steps in vision: computation and repair
DAVID WILLIAMS (University of Rochester)
Imaging retinal function at a cellular scale in the living eye
8-9 Light supper, drink, and conversation (3rd floor lounge)
Directions to SUNY College of Optometry
Entrance at 33 W. 42nd Street, midway between 5th and 6th avenues, opposite Bryant Park.
B or D train to 42nd street and exit at Bryant Park
4, 5 or 6 train to 42nd street and exit at Grand Central Station
1 or 2 train to 42nd street and exit at Times Square
You must present a photo ID to obtain a visitor pass at the entrance.
SUNY Optometry Community Highlights Critical Health Issue
The College highlighted the importance of heart health awareness on February 11 with students, faculty and staff—dressed brightly in red—handing out more than 400 red ribbons and information designed to educate and enlighten the community about this critical health issue. The event, which was organized by the student chapter of the American Public Health Association, is also emblematic of the overall commitment that the University Eye Center and the SUNY College of Optometry have toward addressing important public health issues.
Watch this video to find out more about Heart Health Awareness Day at SUNY Optometry:
SUNY Optometry Researchers Solve 400-Year-Old Question
Here's a closer look behind the seminal work of SUNY College of Optometry researchers Jens Kremkow, Jose Manuel Alonso, Qasim Zaidi and collaborators in the laboratories that was published on February 10, 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (click here to view the paper) advancing the understanding of how our brains are wired for seeing white versus black objects.
The publication has created a flood of global media attention which you can view here.
SUNY Optometry Celebrates Lunar New Year
The Chinese Culture Optometric Students Association, in conjunction with the Confucius Institute, hosted a celebration of the Lunar New Year at the College on Friday, February 7. The event included a lion dance performance, food and more.
Wear Red Day in support of Heart Health Awareness
Students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in Wear Red Day, on Tuesday February 11th, in support of Heart Health Awareness. Pick up your red ribbon pin as you come into the building on this date. You'll receive an entry into a raffle to win great prizes!
Heart disease is the number one killer in the world according to the World Health Organization. Join the SUNY Optometry Student Chapter of the American Public Health Association (SAPHA) in learning more about this important disease and what you can do to help.
Students Can Now Choose from a Wider Range of Courses
SUNY Optometry has recently expanded the elective course offerings in its Doctor of Optometry (OD) program as a way to provide students with an even broader range of learning opportunities.
Dr. David Troilo, vice president and dean for academic affairs at the College, answers a few questions about what these new electives mean for students.
What kinds of new electives are being offered as part of the curriculum?
We offer students in our professional (OD) program electives on a variety of advanced topics that enhance their understanding and delivery of clinical care by diving deeper into general areas such as special topics in ocular disease, use of advanced diagnostic technologies, evidence based practice, emerging trends in clinical care, public health and foreign languages for clinical care.
The teaching formats are generally designed for small groups, many are in a seminar group discussion format, others include laboratory or clinical components, some are independent studies, many involve presentations and some even have international travel associated with them.
Why are these electives being added to the course offerings at the College?
The OD curriculum at the College already provides an excellent preparation for entry into clinic practice. In fact, we’re proud that the elements of our curriculum anticipate and prepare our students for the optometric practice of the future. Our elective program provides greater opportunities for students to customize their education by adding material that they find particularly interesting and valuable.
Have you seen an increased interest from students recently for a wider selection of elective courses?
Our students were asked and have identified many of the topics covered in our elective catalog, and our faculty has responded with many new offerings. The catalog grows each year and we pay careful attention to which electives are most popular. We also sometimes consider certain electives for inclusion into the required OD curriculum.
What does the College hope to achieve by providing a broader array of courses to students in the OD program?
We see our electives as value-added to an already strong program. They also help us meet one of our strategic goals, which is to deliver a customizable professional degree that enhances the student experience while ensuring active and integrated learning. We believe our electives advance student knowledge and prepare them even better to deliver the highest quality, problem-oriented, evidence based patient care possible.
The Vision and the Promise Update - January 2014
As we enter into the final year of our historic, $10 million campaign The Vision and the Promise. Here’s a closer look at what your generous contributions have enabled us to achieve so far:
52: The percentage of faculty and staff members who have participated in the campaign
16: The total number of new scholarships that have been established
5: The number of endowed scholarships, pledged or established, from faculty and administrators.
1: The single largest gift from an alumnus in the history of the College
Over the course of the first four years of the campaign, the Optometric Center of New York has raised more funds for scholarships, research and community health care projects than any other four year period in its history.
But, with the campaign now in the home stretch, we need your help more than ever in order to reach our goal.
For more information about The Vision and the Promise campaign and to find out more about how it is making a difference, or to make a tax deductible gift, please visit www.sunyopt.edu/giving or contact Ann Warwick at 212-938-5600 (
(As of 1/30/14)
Scholarly Activities for January 2014
Bachy R and Zaidi Q. (2013) Factors governing the speed of color adaptation in foveal versus peripheral vision. Journal of the Optical Society of America A: Accepted: 27 December 2013. Doc. ID: 198967
Ciuffreda K J, Yadav NK, Ludlam DP. Effect of binasal occlusion (BNO) on the visual-evoked potential (VEP) in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Brain Injury. 2013. 27:41-47.
Kelly ST, Kremkow J, Jin J, Wang Y, Wang Q , Alonso JM and Stanley GB (2014). The role of thalamic population synchrony in the emergence of cortical feature selectivity. PLoS computational biology 10(1): e1003418. PMID: 24415930. PMCID.
Kremkow, J., Jin, J., Komban, S.J., Wamg, Y., Lashgari, R., Li, X., Jansen, M., Zaidi, Q., Alonso, J.M. (2014) Neuronal nonlinearity explains greater visual spatial resolution for darks than lights. PNAS (in press).
Swanson WH, Dul MW, Horner DG, Liu T, and Tran I. (2013) Assessing Spatial and Temporal Properties of Perimetric Stimuli for Resistance to Clinical Variations in Retinal Illumination. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. December 26k, 2013. IOVS -13-11640.
Willeford K.T, Ciuffreda K.J, Yadav N.K, Ludlam D.P. Objective assessment of the human visual attentional state. Documenta Ophthalmologica. 2013. 126:29-44.
Willeford K.T, Ciuffreda K.J, Yadav N.K. Effect of test duration on the visual-evoked potential (VEP) and alpha-wave responses. Documenta Ophthalmologica. 2013. 126:105-115.
Xiaobing Li, Y. Chen, R. Lashgari, Y. Bereshpolova, H.A. Swadlow, B.B. Lee and J. M. Alonso (2014). Mixing of chromatic and luminance retinal signals in primate area V1. Cerebral Cortex (in press).
Zhuang, J., C. R. Stoelzel, Y. Bereshpolova, J. M. Huff, X. Hei, J. M. Alonso and H. A. Swadlow (2013). Layer 4 in primary visual cortex of the awake rabbit: contrasting properties of simple cells and putative feedforward inhibitory interneurons. The Journal of neuroscience 33(28): 11372-89. PMID: 23843510. PMCID: 3724558.
SUNY Optometry Honors MLK by Providing Vision Care to Community
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as part of a state-wide initiative by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State University of New York, the SUNY College of Optometry provided a free vision screening in the East Harlem community of New York City.
Eleven students from the College participated alongside faculty members Dr. Andre Stanberry, Dr. Krisitine Zabala, Dr. Christina Llerena. The College’s director of career services and minority enrichment, Mr. Francisco Lucio, was also at the event.
The screening was done in collaboration with the New York State Optometric Association Student Society, the Optometric Society of the City of New York, the University Eye Center, the New York City Mayor’s Office and GenerationOn, a global youth service network.
“This vision screening was part of a larger community event that brought together middle school students and their families for a day of service in the spirit of unity to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Mr. Lucio said. “It was a great experience to see our students and doctors provide the vision screening to the community of East Harlem.”
The event provided residents of East Harlem—both children and adults—with a general ocular health screening. If those screened are found to require further examination they are typically referred to the University Eye Center by one of the attending doctors.
Class of 2015 student, and current president of the NYSOA Student Society, Chelsea Ashlaw explained that beyond providing students with the opportunity to give back to their community, the screening also presented a valuable learning experience as well.
“It was great to see students working together and helping each other as well as the members of the community,” she said. “Screenings like these are a good supplement to our education and at the same time we are able to provide eye health awareness and care for children and their parents.”
Later that same week, members of SUNY Optometry’s Student Chapter of the American Public Health Association conducted a glaucoma screening at the Greater Harlem Nursing Home. In addition to providing a vital public health service to elderly members of the community, it also provided students with additional clinical practice as well as a chance to gain more experience working with patients.
"It was a unique opportunity for us to help the community while increasing our experience among an older segment of the population," Class of 2016 student Beth Kurh said.
The College and the University Eye Center regularly provide a variety of community screenings and educational events throughout the New York City region and beyond.
“One of our core values as an institution is our commitment to providing service to our community,” said SUNY College of Optometry President Dr. David A. Heath. “We serve thousands of people throughout our community at events like these each year and I’m always especially delighted when our students have the opportunity to take such an important and leading role in the effort.”
Harold Kohn Vision Science Library Focuses on the Future
One of the greatest challenges facing any library today—particularly academic libraries—is how to properly adapt to the ever-changing landscape of new technology. In addition to understanding these technologies themselves, library administrators must also understand, and often predict, exactly how these technologies will affect how their library is utilized by those who rely on it as a vital tool for learning and research. The SUNY College of Optometry’s Harold Kohn Vision Science Library, one of the premier vision science libraries in the United States, is dealing with this systemic challenge head on.
“We certainly take advantage of training opportunities in order to keep up-to-date with best practices,” Ms. Elaine Wells, MA, MLS, Kohn Library’s director explains. “Like many institutions, libraries are in a constant state of flux in order to keep up with technological changes and shifts in how our resources are utilized.”
In order to better understand how library patrons use its facilities, Kohn Library’s staff has developed and implemented a series of benchmarks that measure digital resource use, as well as demand for the services they provide. The goal is to assess the value of current resources and activities and proactively adapt as the need arises.
“We endeavor to create a library ‘without walls,’ where most of our resources are available 24/7 in digital format,” Ms. Wells says. “Students have increasingly come to expect that their information needs will be met immediately, and while we are definitely moving in that direction, not everything they need is available online and costs can sometimes be prohibitive.” However, students still come together at the library to study, relax after exams and just spend time together. “In that way,” Ms. Wells explains,” the library remains very much at the heart of the institution and maintains an important physical presence as it always has.”
Beyond this shift toward digital content and monitoring use, the Kohn Library is also looking to facilitate seamless and lifelong learning for its entire community of constituents—students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers and other professionals.
One of the particular areas of focus for the Kohn Library today is making sure that its broad swath of constituents who don’t regularly visit the College’s midtown Manhattan campus—particularly alumni—are fully aware of the enormous resources available to them.
“We offer a lot of services at the library that many people might not know about,” says Ms. Kim Oliver, the Kohn Library’s outreach and services coordinator. “These services include personalized assistance with research and access to journals and other information,” she notes. “We also strive to ensure that all of SUNY Optometry’s faculty and staff, including adjuncts and alumni, know how to access everything we can offer them.”
In addition, alumni and adjunct faculty can register for services like journal table of contents delivery which enables them to see what is being published in their specific area of interest as soon as it becomes available. Practitioners and researchers with special patient care needs or areas of research interest can also get assistance with automated searches so that they can scan the latest articles for new developments. Adjuncts and alumni are also able to search the online catalog from the library’s website and can borrow any circulating book.
The Kohn Library also sends out a quarterly newsletter to the community that provides reminders about its services as well as articles on ongoing research, upcoming events and new publications.
For more information about the Harold Kohn Vision Science Library, and for a complete list of their services visit http://www.sunyopt.edu/library
Internship Program Provides Unparalleled Experience for CSTEP Students
For two weeks this January a dozen undergraduate college students from throughout New York State participated in the SUNY College of Optometry’s CSTEP Winter Internship Program. The students had the opportunity to attend lectures by College faculty members and experience first-hand what it’s like to work with and care for patients in the University Eye Center.
The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program is a New York State-sponsored initiative designed to increase the number of historically underrepresented minority students in the sciences. SUNY Optometry is an enthusiastic partner in the CSTEP program. In addition to the internship programs, the College hosts a free, eight-week Summer Academic Program each year from May to July.
Find out what some of this year’s students thought about their experiences in this unique internship program:
President Heath Offers Praise, Urges Community Dialogue during Annual Address
On January 21, SUNY College of Optometry president, Dr. David A. Heath, gave his annual State of the College address to the institutional community.
You can watch the entire address below:
Dr. Mark Rosenfield on Digital Eye Strain
SUNY College of Optometry professor Dr. Mark Rosenfield has conducted extensive research on digital eye strain (which is also known as Computer Vision Syndrome) in recent years, evaluating both the causes and the potential treatments for a condition that has become increasingly prevalent in our computer-smartphone-tablet-obsessed society.
But how harmful is this screen time for your eyes and what can be done to alleviate the strain that it causes? We asked Dr. Rosenfield for some answers.
Firstly, can you explain what digital eye strain is and what it does to eyes?
Digital eye strain, also known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), is a general term for the symptoms that many individuals experience when looking at electronic screens. Research in our laboratory has shown that around 40 percent of individuals report these symptoms at least half the time that they are looking at screens, with the most common symptoms being tired eyes, dry eyes and eye strain. As a result, people are less productive during computer usage and may make more errors.
With so many people looking at so many screens over the course of the day—from computers to televisions to tablets to mobile phones—what exactly are the short and long-term effects of this on eyes and vision?
No long term effects have yet been identified, but the short term effects described above, (tired eyes, dry eyes and eye strain) are becoming increasingly prevalent.
What are some things that people can do to mitigate the strain on their eyes from these sources?
With the use of these devices becoming universal in very young children, older children and adults, it is critical that the correct prescription is worn for the position of the device. Since hand-held devices like smartphones and tablets are often held at closer to the eyes than printed materials, the eyes have to both focus more and converge (or turn in) to a greater extent. To minimize the demand on the eyes, these devices should not be held closer than 16 inches away. People should also make sure to have regular eye exams in order to check both the health of thier eyes and that their prescription is up to date. People would also discuss with their optometrist all of the devices that they use and where they are positioned when they use them. Sometimes, more than one pair of glasses may be needed for all of the different screen locations that they have.
It’s also important to remember to take breaks. The 20:20:20 rule is a good guideline, so that every 20 minutes, you should look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Some apps even make the screen go blank every 20 minutes as a reminder.
For more information about Dr. Mark Rosenfield and his research visit his webpage
A Closer Look at the Relationship Between Diet and Eye Health
Drs. Barbara Pelletier and Laurie Capogna are optometrists who practice separately in Ontario, Canada. Through their daily interactions with patients, both doctors recognized a distinct lack of knowledge among the public about the relationship between diet and eye and vision health and wanted to do something to address it. After years of research and development, Drs. Pelletier and Capogna created Eyefoods: A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes as a tool that they hope will help to encourage people to learn and discover more about the relationship between food and eyes.
We asked Dr. Pelletier a few questions about diet and its correlation with vision and eye health.
Tell us how you came to start Eyefoods.
I have always had an interest in nutrition, and in 2008, with my friend and colleague Dr. Laurie Capogna, became inspired to educate the public about the link between nutrition and eye health. Through the years we both have attended lectures and conferences on the subject, working to get educated on the relationship between nutrition and eye health in order to answer the questions that we were getting from our patients.
Can you give us a few of the most important things that people should be doing for their eyes when it comes to food and nutrition?
The most important things to do for your eyes from a nutritional stand point are:
- Eat your leafy greens... a handful a day keeps AMD away!
- Eat cold water fish four times a week. Choose sustainable fish that is low in contaminants, like wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel (not king mackerel), rainbow trout or sardines.
- Eat orange peppers (they are high in zeaxanthin), two peppers per week, cooked or raw.
- Eat eggs, including the yolk. Eggs contain lutein which is highly absorbed by the body. Having four per week is ideal.
- Avoid high glycemic index and high glycemic load foods like refined grains and sugars. These foods are linked to diabetes and AMD.
Most people recognize that nutrition and general health go hand-in-hand but when it comes specifically to eyes and vision people don’t often think about how nutrition affects them. Why do you think that is?
The reason there is little awareness about the subject of nutrition for eye health is probably because that there is very little media attention on the subject. Optometrists and other health professionals can help to change that by becoming knowledgeable about nutrition and eye health and then educating their patients and their communities whenever they get a chance.
Can you talk about the science behind diet and eye health? Can you point to some recent studies that corroborate these connections?
There have been numerous studies over the past decade that have directly addressed the relationship between diet and eye and vision health, particularly the relationship between nutrition and AMD. You can see a bibliography of many of the related journal articles here.
What are the most important things that you would want every OD student or newly minted OD to know about nutrition and eye health?
AMD, diabetic eye disease and ocular surface disease all have a preventable component. It is our duty as health care providers to educate our patients about nutrition and lifestyle choices that can help reduce their risk of eye disease. Our genetic code will express itself depending on the environment it is exposed to. This environment, on a cellular level is largely influenced by nutrition and lifestyle. So optometrists need to tell their patients to eat well, be physically active, protect their eyes from harmful UV and short wavelength blue light and to stop smoking! If this is too much chair time then direct them to eyefoods.com or have information in your waiting room. Your patient will appreciate your holistic approach.
Alumnus Named VOSH Humanitarian of the Year
SUNY College of Optometry alumnus, Dr. Carl Sakovits was named the Humanitarian of the Year for 2013 by VOSH International, an organization that provides vision care and optometric services to those who cannot obtain or afford it around the world.
Dr. Sakovits, along with classmates Greg Rios, Spencer Moy and George Kaknis, founded the Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity chapter at SUNY in 1987. Following graduation, Dr. Sakovits continued to work with the SUNY chapter and in 1998 he was named SUNY’s first-ever ‘Alumnus of the Year.’ In addition, Dr. Sakovits was the recipient of the Dr. Max Cohen Memorial Award for outstanding volunteer commitment to community service and the Dr. Louis Herman Memorial Award for dedication and commitment to VOSH.
Dr. Sakovits also founded the Northeast chapter of VOSH and has served as its president for the past 25 years. He has organized and led over 25 multi-disciplinary medical missions to Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Panama.
Dr. Sakovits, a 1988 graduate of the College, practices in Bristol, RI. He was presented with the Humanitarian of the Year award at a ceremony in San Juan Puerto Rico last year. Watch the video below:
Dr. Richard Soden on What You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act
Dr. Richard Soden is vice president for clinical affairs at the College and the executive director of the University Eye Center. He is also a recognized authority on health care reform who has lectured widely on the topic over the years. As the Affordable Care Act begins to take effect across the United States, we asked him a few questions about what it will mean for people seeking optometric care.
With the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare” or the ACA) rolling out across the country, give us some of your general impressions about what it means and how much of a landmark this new legislation is for heath care in the United States.
The Affordable Care Act has created the most dramatic change in health care in the United States since the creation of Medicare in 1965. Approximately 30-40 million people who were not previously covered by any health care plan before will be able to receive health care coverage now as a result of this legislation. The emphasis of the new law is placed on primary care and prevention of diseases and eye examinations are one of the core components of this.
The ACA’s major goal is to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care and are reasonably able to obtain health insurance coverage. As a result, its primary focus is to provide health insurance coverage to those who have been uninsured and to encourage enrollment in health care coverage plans by offering subsidies (for those who qualify) to purchase coverage.
Despite the initial, and well publicized, issues related to the healthcare.gov website, the ACA has revolutionized health care in this country by creating new models for value-based health care delivery that focuses both on quality and results.
One of the major elements of the ACA is the pediatric vision care benefit. Can you explain this benefit for us and discuss any other vision care-related coverage people should be aware of?
With the pediatric vision care benefit, millions of children are gaining health insurance coverage through the age of 18 and will have access to an annual comprehensive eye exam and treatment from an optometrist. This benefit is one of the cornerstones of the ACA and it must be offered by all new small group and individual health insurance plans.
By including the pediatric vision care benefit as part of the law, the ACA is recognizing that regular comprehensive eye exams for children are essential to ensuring visual health and readiness for school.
Although adult vision care is not designated as an essential benefit under the new law, medical eye care services—that is, anything related to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases—will continue to be covered by all health insurance plans. The millions of adults who are gaining insurance coverage for the first time under the ACA will be able to access optometrists for their medical eye care needs.
In what ways will the ACA affect vision insurance plans?
Companies that offer vision care plans will not be allowed to sell these plans directly through the health care exchanges that have been set up by the federal government and the various state governments. Instead, they will need to work with the health insurance companies that offer coverage to patients through these exchanges. Health insurance companies may choose to contract with companies that offer vision plans in order to have them administer a vision care benefit for their customers.
Increased demand for children’s eye care services, thanks to the previously mentioned pediatric vision benefit, will require many health care plans to add optometrists as participating providers starting now and continuing into early 2014.
How has the University Eye Center prepared for the implementation of the ACA?
The UEC is already a participating provider on many of the plans that are currently selling through the exchanges and we are working with the insurance companies that we are not currently participating with in order to become participating providers.
We have also worked to ensure that our capacity to see more pediatric patients as well as other patients who will now have insurance coverage is able to meet the expected demand in 2014 and beyond. As we have for decades, the UEC will be able to continue to offer the most comprehensive and cutting-edge eye and vision care to both children and adults now and into the future.
See How the Vision and The Promise Campaign is Making a Difference
Unique Mentoring Program Launched by the Career Development Center
The Career Development Center (CDC) was established in 2012 as way to help the students, residents and alumni of the College meet their career goals. Through its various programs, events and individualized activities, the CDC has created opportunities for busy students and professionals to connect and create meaningful relationships that are critical for career development and advancement.
Recently, the CDC developed a unique new mentoring program, the first of its kind among schools and colleges of optometry, called the Family of Mentors Program. We asked Mr. Francisco Lucio, director of career development and minority enrichment at the College, to answer a few questions about this new program and talk to us about its goals.
Tell us why the Career Development Center decided to create the Family of Mentors program as one of the services it provides to students and residents at the College?
No one ever makes it alone. Everyone who has ever achieved career success has done it with the help of others. Mentoring is a focused effort to facilitate career success because there is a rich and meaningful connection formed between a mentor and mentee. The CDC felt that it was crucial to create that space where mentoring relationships could form and thrive, and thus, the development of the Family of Mentors Program. But beyond the positive impact to the individual mentor and mentee, the Family of Mentors Program exists within the context of the larger optometric field that is enhanced as future and current optometrists are nurtured.
What do you hope that students and residents will gain most from their interaction with their mentor?
My hope is that students and residents will make a deep and meaningful connection with a life-long colleague. So often in today’s fast-paced world of text messages, tweets and one-line email responses opportunities to truly get to know someone are lost. The structured Family of Mentors Program creates built-in opportunities for mentors and mentees to get to know one another via monthly discussion prompts that touch on not just optometry, but also on personal goals and aspirations.
How about the mentors, what would you like them to take away from their experience mentoring?
As a former teacher, I know the great satisfaction one receives from helping a young person grow and achieve their goals, so I’m positive our mentors will get similar satisfaction from helping their mentees. And more often than not, it is the mentor who ends up gaining the most from the relationship because he or she has the opportunity to be introspective and giving.
What kinds of mentors are you looking for? Do they have to be in the optometric profession or are you looking to recruit mentors with a variety of professional backgrounds?
We're looking for mentors with the passion to help students and residents here at the College. We want mentors who come from all walks of life and have decided to take on the responsibility of developing a future colleague.
The mentors we're seeking can come from other professional backgrounds because there is a lot that can be learned from someone else’s experience; however, our mentors should be familiar with the optometry student or resident experience and the optometric profession in general. For example, we may have industry partners and consultants who can provide a unique perspective on the optometric career, and that is a very valuable thing.
To find out more about the Family of Mentors Program visit the website
December 2013 Scholarly Activities
Hue JE, Rosenfield M, Saa G. (2013) Reading from electronic devices versus hardcopy text. Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation. Publisher IOS Press .ISSN 1051-9815 (Print) 1875-9270 (Online).
Lin Z, Vasudevan B, Jhanji V, Gao TY, Wang, NL, Wang Q, Wang J, Ciuffreda KJ, Liang YB. (2013) Eye exercises of acupoints: their impact on refractive error and visual symptoms in Chinese urban children. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:306 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-306
Thiagarajan P, Ciuffreda KJ, Capo-Aponte JE, Ludlam DP, Kapoor N. (2013) Oculomotor neurorehabilitation for reading in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI): An integrative approach. NeuroRehabilitation. 2013 Nov 27. Prepress.
Zaidi Q, Victor J, McDermott J, Geffen M, Bensmaia S, Cleland TA. (2013) Perceptual spaces: mathematical structures to neural mechanisms. J Neurosci. 2013 Nov 6;33(45):17597-602. doi: 10.15 23/JNEUROSCI.3343-13.2013. PMID: 24198350 [PubMed - in process]
Posters/Presentations at Society for Neuroscience Conference , November 2013, San Diego, CA
Backus BT, Law CL. Theory-based options for assessing and treating disorders of binocular vision. . Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Bereshpolova YI, Stoelzel CR, Zhuang J, Alonso JM, Swadlow HA. V1 Corticogeniculate input to LGN is sustained. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Caziot B, Park J, Harwood MR, McPeek RM, Changes in build-up rate and threshold level in superior colliculus neurons in a simple saccadic decision task. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Hei X, Stoelzel CR, Zhuang J, Bereshpolova Y, Huff JM, Alonso JM, Swadlow HA. Directional selective neruons in rabbit LGNd project to layer 4 of V1 and are modulated by brain state. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Jansen M, Li X, Lashgari R, Kremkow Y, Bereshpolova Y, Swadlow H, Zaidi Q, Alonso JM. Spatial tuning for color and luminance in awake area V1. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Komban SJ, Jin J, Kremkow J, Wang Y, Lashgari RR, Alonso JM, Zaidi Q. Cross-orientaton interactions between on and off pathways. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Kremkow J, Jin J, Komban SJ, Wang Y, Lashgari R, Alonso JM. Asymmetries in ON and Off cortical retinotopy: are OFF receptive fields the anchors of cortical retinotopic maps? Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Li X, Lashgari R, Jansen M, Bereshpolova Y, Swadlow HA, Alonso JM. Increased attentional suppression of cortical LFP with practice time. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Pola J, Matin E, Matin L. The Influence of saccadic adaptation on perceived location of the pre-saccade fixation target and the saccade goal target. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Stoelzel CR, Bereshpolova J, Zhuang J, Alonso JM, Swadlow HA. The Tortoise and the Hare: Fast vs. very slow corticogeniculate axons differ in visual response properties. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Wang, Y, Jin J, Kremkow J, Komban SJ, Lashgari R, Alonso JM. Vertical organization of spatial phase in cat primary visual cortex. . Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Wool LE, Kremkow J, Jansen M, Li X, Bereshpolova Y, Swadlow H, Zaidi Q, Alonso JM. Electrophysiological correlates of color salience. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Zhuang J, Stoelzel CR, Befeshpolova, Huff JM, Hei X , Alonso JM, Swadlow HA. Layer 4 in primary visual cortex of the awake rabbit: Contrasting properties of simple cells and putative feed-forward inhibitory interneurons. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Zaidi Q. Minisyposium: Geometric structure of perceptual color space. Society for Neuroscience Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
Dr. Peter Reinach has been invited to lecture on the Potential drug targets for improved management of ocular inflammation and fibrosis at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Department of Ophthalmology in Sao Paulo Brazil on December 4, 2013.
2013 Year in Review
SUNY System Tackles Big Data at Critical Issues Conference
In late October the State University of New York system hosted the third in its Critical Issues in Higher Education conference series in New York City, bringing together a vast number of higher education administrators, including President Heath and others from the SUNY College of Optometry.
Titled “BUILDING A SMARTER UNIVERSITY: Big Data, Innovation and Ingenuity,” the two-day conference offered presentations by more than 65 speakers from across the country, focusing on the value and use of data for improving higher education, including the student experience, research, infrastructure and beyond . The keynote speaker, Harper Reed, is a self-described “hacker/engineer” who was the chief technology officer for the “Obama for America” campaign in 2012.
“SUNY is well-positioned to take a leadership role in exploring how the tidal wave of data surrounding us can be used to build smarter universities,” SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said in a statement about the conference.
SUNY designed the Critical Issues in Higher Education conference series in 2011 as a way to bring together national thought leaders to examine, discuss and debate critical issues confronting higher education.
Homebound Program Gets Continued Support
The Arthur and Phyllis Milton Foundation has reiterated its ongoing support for SUNY's Manhattan Homebound program, providing the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the philanthropic wing of the SUNY College of Optometry, with a $10,000 grant to help fund the unique service. The program, which was developed to provide individuals who are struggling with their mobility the opportunity to receive high-quality eye and vision care from University Eye Center doctors in their home, has long been a focus of the OCNY’s fundraising activities and a staple of the UEC’s community outreach activities. The Milton Foundation has supported the program since 2010.
The Manhattan Homebound program serves approximately 120 patients throughout the borough each year providing everything from routine eye exams to ongoing treatment for a wide-range of ocular issues such as glaucoma, cataracts and low vision.
“We have been able to help hundreds of people who might not have otherwise had the opportunity to receive crucial eye and vision care,” said Dr. Richard Soden, vice president for clinical affairs at the College. “Without the support of the OCNY and the Milton Foundation this program would not exist so I am extremely grateful for what they have done over the years to help us better serve our community.”
SUNY Optometry Takes an Interprofessional Approach to Diabetes
November was Diabetes Awareness Month and the members of the Student Chapter of the American Public Health Association (SAPHA) took an active and interprofessional approach toward recognizing the occasion at the College.
In addition to posting diabetes facts throughout the College and providing reference cards about diabetes for students to use with their patients in the University Eye Center, SAPHA hosted Dr. Gary Glickman, an ophthalmologist from the Diabetic Eye Center in New York who specializes in diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Glickman spoke to a capacity crowd of students and faculty about the disease at the College on November 20.
SAPHA also sponsored a presentation by Ms. Neelam Gaur, a health coach who specializes in holistic nutrition and preventative wellness issues. Ms. Gaur spoke to students, faculty and staff at the College about nutrition and diabetes.
SUNY Optometry’s Low Vision Center Making a Growing Impact in China
The Optometric Center of New York, the philanthropic wing of the SUNY College of Optometry, has received the second installment of a nearly half-a-million dollar grant from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind to expand its low vision and vision rehabilitation clinic in Wenzhou, China.
In 2008 the College established the Center for Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation at Wenzhou Medical University (WMU) and four years later, in 2012, it received a three-year grant totaling more than $420,000 from Lavelle to expand on the work that it is doing and serve more low vision patients in China.
Over the past year the grant has enabled the Center to establish a satellite clinic at an eye hospital, affiliated with WMU, in the city of Hangzhou. In addition, a close association with several schools that serve visually impaired students in Zhejiang province was developed. The Center is helping these schools screen children and, in some cases, it has established special classrooms designed to assist low vision students studying there.
Over the past year, doctors and other staff members from the Center have traveled to the College and elsewhere in the United States in order to receive more advanced training in the use of field expansion devices, bioptic telescopes and other assistive technologies. The grant has also enabled the Center to begin the process of improving data collection and patient tracking systems which will ultimately allow the clinic to better serve a greater number of patients.
A large and increasing number of individuals suffer from low vision in China, particularly in rural areas of the country. The low vision population in China also includes a larger proportion of children than in the United States. The Center for Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation was established to help address this major public health issue and improve the lives of many of those living with low vision in China.
“In just a few short years, the Center has established its reputation in China as a resource for the training of low vision and vision rehabilitation personnel from hospitals throughout China,” said SUNY Optometry’s Dr. Michael H. Heiberger. “Having demonstrated a model to serve the needs of the visually handicapped, the Center, under the current grant from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, is developing a database to demonstrate the sustainability of its efforts.”
The Lavelle Fund for the Blind, which supports programs that help people who are blind and visually impaired lead independent and productive lives, will provide the final installment of the grant next year.
New York State Senator Brad Hoylman Pays a Visit to SUNY Optometry
New York State Senator Brad Hoylman made his first official visit to the SUNY College of Optometry recently to meet with senior administrators at the College and tour its Midtown Manhattan campus. Senator Hoylman, who was elected to the New York State Senate in 2012, represents the state’s 27th District where the College is located. During his first year in Albany, Senator Hoylman has proven to be a strong supporter on issues related to both education and health care.
In addition to meeting with SUNY Optometry’s president, Dr. David Heath, and other members of the administration, Senator Hoylman was briefed about some of the College’s ongoing research activities by Dr. David Troilo, vice president and dean for academic affairs, and had the opportunity to see some recently-completed renovations to the College’s research facilities.
Senator Hoylman also spoke with Ms. Liduvina Martinez-Gonzales, the chief operating officer of the University Eye Center, about the various services that the clinic provides to tens of thousands of people—including many of his constituents—each year.
The College maintains close ties to its elected representatives in Albany. Longtime Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, the College’s representative in the New York State Assembly, has been a close friend of the institution for a number of years.
The SUNY College of Optometry has produced the majority of optometrists currently practicing in New York State. It also makes a valuable contribution toward clinical and basic visual sciences research through a consortium with other SUNY institutions as a member of the SUNY Eye Institute and provides critical primary, advanced and rehabilitative eye and vision care to thousands of New Yorkers each year at the University Eye Center and elsewhere in the community.
“The work that we do at the College educating future health care practitioners and vision scientists, engaging in research and providing unmatched care to thousands of children and adults in our community is something that we’re very proud of,” said President Heath. “It’s important for Senator Hoylman and our other representatives in Albany and elsewhere to see firsthand the impact that we have and to recognize also that our institution is a vital resource for information related to health care issues and policy.”
Q&A: Dr. Kathryn Richdale on Clinical Research at the College
Dr. Kathryn Richdale, an assistant professor at SUNY Optometry, is the director of the Clinical Vision Research Center (CVRC) . Here she answers a few questions about the CVRC and the important role that clinical research plays at the College
Tell us, what is the Clinical Vision Research Center, when was it established at the College and what is its goal?
The CVRC was established at the College in February 2013. The primary goal of the CVRC is to provide the necessary infrastructure to allow the conduct of sponsored clinical research in eye and vision care.
How does the CVRC work in conjunction with the University Eye Center and the College to accomplish their goals?
The College, the University Eye Center (UEC) and the CVRC work together to accomplish many greater goals. Through the establishment of the CVRC, the College helps faculty to conduct research in their area of expertise, but the CVRC also supports the students and patients at SUNY. For example, teaching students about the practice of evidence based medicine is one of the missions of the College, and the CVRC provides opportunities for students to learn about the latest clinical studies and gain hands-on experience conducting research.
In addition, our doctors in the UEC strive to provide the best care and treatment options for their patients – and this now includes the ability to refer patients to clinical studies in the CVRC.
Also, the studies at the CVRC often provide services free of charge, pay patients for their time or offer treatments not otherwise available at a general eye care provider’s office. Together, we’re providing better services to those who work, study or are cared for at our institution.
You do your research in conjunction with corporate and nonprofit entities. Do you find developing relationships with organizations outside of higher education to be particularly helpful?
The understanding of eye and vision problems and the safe and careful development of new treatments can be a very time consuming and expensive process. At the College and UEC, we have some of the best and brightest clinicians and researchers in the field, but it's only through our industry, private and government partners that we are able to gain the necessary financial support and materials, such as new drugs or devices, to carry out our clinical research. Working with these partners allows us to bring cutting-edge diagnosis and treatment options directly to our patients.
What are your biggest challenges when trying to conduct effective clinical research?
Successful clinical research requires a massive team effort and we’re only as strong as our weakest link. We rely on our sponsors for support, our doctors to communicate with patients about clinical research opportunities, our patients to volunteer as study participants and our clinical research team to provide the best care for our study patients. This past year has been a growing process as we’ve learned how to work together in the best interest of our institution, our patients and the greater optometric community. We’ve come a long way in a short time, but our biggest challenge currently is the recruitment of patients from the UEC’s busy and bustling clinic.
In your estimation, why is a clinical research program so important for an institution like the SUNY College of Optometry?
Without a doubt, the best health care and teaching facilities in the world are the ones that are actively engaging in research. Participating in research keeps clinicians at the forefront of their field; making them better teachers and care givers. Offering research opportunities attracts new patients who recognize the institution for its expertise and its ability to provide the latest health care options. Providing a strong clinical research graduate program attracts more knowledgeable and skilled students. In short, clinical research is the foundation upon which better patient care and education are built.
To find out about the CVRC's latest research programs click here.
Doctors Share Advice, Wisdom with Students at Networking Event
It was an evening of collaboration and collegiality when two students clubs, the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) and the Student Optometric Association for Private Practice (SOAPP), joined forces with SUNY Optometry’s Career Development Center (CDC) to host the inaugural “Networking with the Doctors Social.” Both student clubs and the CDC have been working hard to engage students in meaningful activities designed to help them better understand their career options and lead them to professional fulfillment and success.
Fifteen doctors and more than 50 students took part in a “speed dating” activity intended to showcase doctors from a wide variety of practice modes and specialties, each of whom had followed a unique career path. The goal was to help students gain a broader knowledge of the professional options that will be available to them once they graduate.
During the program, a small group of students spent several minutes engaging directly with each doctor. This enabled each of the students the opportunity to ask each doctor specific questions related to his or her career path. Doctors rotated among each of the small groups in order to speak with and field questions from all of the students.
“The Networking with the Doctors Social was a perfect way for students to ask their burning questions and get perspectives from a diverse group of doctors in a condensed period of time,” explained Lina Cawog, a Class of 2016 OD student.
SUNY Optometry’s CDC has put a particularly strong emphasis on exposing students as early as possible to a variety of optometric career options, and providing them with a better understanding of what will be available to them once they leave the College. The recently launched Family of Mentors program as well as the annual Career Symposium, both produced by the CDC, give students a critical opportunity to connect and learn from their soon-to-be professional peers. The Networking with the Doctors Social hopes to build on this important theme and provide students with even more opportunities to learn from professionals.
“There was a buzz in the air. You could see the engagement from both the students and the doctors as wisdom was being passed from one generation of doctors to the next,” said Francisco Lucio, director of career development and minority enrichment at SUNY.
The program was capped by a reception where doctors and students could continue their conversations and make even deeper networking connections.
“The event brought students into contact with doctors from a variety of practice modalities,” Jenny Soo Hoo, president of SOAPP, said. “Students had the opportunity to strengthen their networking skills while also learning from each doctor's personal experiences.”
The Networking with the Doctors Social, which is expected to be an annual event, was made possible through the generous sponsorship of Allergan.
Gund Foundation Renews Grant for General Operating Support
The Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation has renewed its support for the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) by providing another $10,000 grant that will be used for general operating expenses. This is the fifth year in a row that the Gund Foundation has thrown its support behind the OCNY.
Gordon Gund, who along with his wife Llura, operate the foundation, received an honorary degree from the College in 2008. Last year Mr. Gund, who is a businessman and philanthropists as well as an artist, donated an original sculpture to the College that is currently on display in the Center for Student Life and Learning on the third floor of the College's building.
This generous gift will enable the OCNY to continue to support projects such as the homebound program and the Bowery project that help to provide vulnerable New Yorkers with high quality eye and vision care. In addition the OCNY helps to support the training of the next generation of knowledgeable and compassionate eye and vision care providers through scholarships, as well as assisting in the advancement of research knowledge in the field.
12th Annual Envision New York Offers Expanded Program
The Office of Continuing Professional Education held its12th Annual Envision New York conference during the weekend of October 18 - 21st and, for the first time ever, expanded the signature CE program to Friday night.
A panel discussion on "The Challenges of Healthcare Reform for the Profession of Optometry," followed by a "Meet the Exhibitors" reception where attendees and students from the College were given the opportunity to mingle with each other rounded out the Friday events. Then, from Saturday through Monday, a broad array of courses, totaling 59 CE hours in all, were offered to hundreds of optometrists from around the country. The program featured many notable SUNY faculty members and clinicians, and for the first time, also included a high-tech, diagnostic hands-on workshop. For the second consecutive year a five-hour "Low Vision Track" provided credits that could be used toward the New York State Low Vision Certification. A three-hour symposium "Genetics in Eye Care" concluded the program on Monday.
SUNY Wins ‘Innovation in Education’ Grant
It was recently announced that SUNY has secured a nearly $3,000 “Innovation in Education” Grant from The American Optometric Foundation (AOF). The grant, which is provided by the AOF in collaboration with VISTAKON, and The Vision Care Institute, LLC., both divisions of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. is designed to aid recently appointed faculty in advancing their teaching skills in the areas of improving delivery of information to students, new methodologies, increasing the use of new technology in all teaching settings, and the promotion of online learning tools. A particular emphasis is given to innovative and creative projects.
The SUNY project “Optimizing Course Management Sites through the Integration of Dynamic Learning Resources” is designed to provide support to faculty in advancing their teaching skills through the utilization of new technologies in the classroom and the promotion of online learning.
SUNY plans to use the grant for quantitative and qualitative assessments that will measure learning outcomes and student reaction to the learning tools. In addition, there are plans to facilitate a faculty development workshop as a model for other courses and share the findings and results for consideration of publication in the Journal of Optometric Education.
The grant was conceived and written by Ms. Elaine Wells, Ms. Jill Locascio, the library director and assistant librarian respectively, as well as Ms. Jean Pak, academic programs coordinator, in conjunction with faculty member Dr. Kathryn Richdale.
OCNY Recognizes Donors with Private Showing at Famed Auction House
On November 4 the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the philanthropic arm of the SUNY College of Optometry, hosted a unique private viewing of impressionist and modern art for approximately 65 of the Foundation’s donors and friends the day before the collection was set to go to auction at Bonhams, one of the oldest and largest fine art auction houses in the world.
The collection included over 75 works by such artists as Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, Auguste Rodin and many others.
Prior to the viewing, which was hosted by Tanya Wells, the head of sales at Bonhams, the gathering was welcomed Mr. Richard Feinbloom, the OCNY president, Mr. Michael Mariani, a member and Trusts and Estates Advisory Committee of the OCNY and Dr. David A. Heath, president of the SUNY College of Optometry.
Q&A: Dr. Jillia Bird, 2013 SUNY Optometry Alumna of the Year
The SUNY College of Optometry Alumni Association held its annual alumni reunion reception as part of Envision New York at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in Times Square the evening of October 19. This year the Alumni Association honored the classes of 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008, and it presented 1989 graduate, Dr. Jillia Bird, with the 2013 Alumna of the Year Award. More than 130 people were in attendence at the reception and special recognition was given to Dr. Julia Appel for her service as immediate past president of the Alumni Association and to Dr. Denise Whittam, the Association's new president. The 2012 Alumnus of the Year, Dr. Richard Madonna, joined the others in recognizing Dr. Bird.
Dr. Bird, who is from the Caribbean island of Antigua, is extremely active in the Caribbean’s glaucoma awareness movement. Earlier this year Dr. Bird was named president of the World Glaucoma Patient Association and received the World Council of Optometry’s International Optometrist of the Year award in Malaga, Spain. She is also a board member of The Glaucoma Foundation in New York and Caribbean coordinator for the World Glaucoma Week Committee.
We asked Dr. Bird of few questions about her career, her work on glaucoma and her view on the future of optometry. Read the Q&A here:
Dr. Bird, first of all, congratulations on being honored as "International Optometrists of the Year" by the World Council of Optometry, as well as "Alumna of the Year" by SUNY Optometry, it's been a great year for you! Can you start by telling us how you decided to study optometry and how you ended up coming to SUNY to study?
I stumbled upon optometry not truly by choice but in an interesting way. I had done an undergraduate degree at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica with a double major in Chemistry and Applied Chemistry and my first job was as a trainee sugar chemist at Antigua's lone sugar factory. After going for months of training on a Guyana sugar estate, the local industry failed financially and I had to decide on a new career path. After turning down a medical school place some years earlier I applied to four allied health disciplines and vowed that I'd pursue the first one that accepted me. Out of optometry, podiatry, pharmacy and pharmacology, optometry won out. Why SUNY? Well New York was comfortable for me since I had the most friends and family living there at the time, it was the only optometry school that I applied to.
You're extremely active in creating awareness about glaucoma in your native Caribbean. How did you become so passionate about this issue?
SUNY Optometry also played a huge part in developing my interest in glaucoma and raising its awareness. After an epidemiology lecture in my fourth year by Dr. Cristina Leske of SUNY Stony Brook describing her imminent Barbados Eye Study, I walked up to her and asked to work with her and she hired me even before graduation. She then sent me and my young family to Barbados where I was to see more open angle glaucoma than I ever knew existed. My passion to educate patients about the silent nature of the disease grew from there and was fueled by my mother's dilemma when I returned home to Antigua two years later to find her misdiagnosed and losing her sight from open angle glaucoma.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges that optometrists and other health professionals face in dealing with glaucoma and raising awareness about it?
The foremost challenge is the silent nature of the disease and the lack of awareness of it as an irreversibly blinding group of conditions. Because it involves slow, insidious loss encroaching from the side and affecting central vision late, patients present too late in the disease for effective intervention.
Secondly no single effective screening test has yet been invented so populations can't be screened en masse.
Thirdly and fourthly, the ageing of the world's populations and the increase of NCD's as a result are poised to increase the burden of the disease on our public health systems.
What would you say is the state of the optometric profession in Antigua and throughout the Caribbean?
The future of optometry in the Caribbean is bright with the recent introduction of schools of optometry at two Caribbean universities—the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and the University Of Guyana.
The only stumbling block, aside from fragile economies, lies in archaic legislation that persists in many Caribbean territories, including Antigua, that continue to restrict our scope of practice similar to the conditions that prevailed in the US thirty years ago.
You've accomplished a lot in your career so far, what more would you like to achieve? What advice would you offer to ODs who are just starting out?
Before I retire I'd like to see optometry laws fully revamped so that it can be practiced to its fullest scope in all Caribbean territories and I'd be happy to be a part of the process that brings that to fruition. I hope I live to see the achievement of zero blindness from diseases such as open angle glaucoma... and not just in the Caribbean. I believe this is achievable if the patients are brought fully on board in the management teams and are made team players, allowed to “own” their disease treatment plans and are empowered to lead in the decision making process. This will require greater emphasis on awareness campaigns, patient education, low vision rehabilitation strategies, etc. than presently exists.
My advice to new OD’s: Take business management courses as well as psychology courses early in the game. Believe in empowering your patients as partners and prepare to be amazed. Optometry is a wonderful career that should hold no regrets, only joy. Sight is our most precious sense and optometrists remain the gatekeepers to clear, comfortable vision.
SUNY Sports Vision Center Evaluates Future Major League Baseball Stars
Dr. Arnold Sherman, director of the University Eye Center’s Sports Vision Center, and a number of SUNY students performed eye and vision testing on highly recruited baseball prospects at the East Coast Pro Showcase in Syracuse, New York last August.
For this year's annual program, Dr. Sherman and his team, made up of students Chelsea Ashlaw, Matt Bovenzi, Jason Rutherford, Greg Borukhov, John Gialousakis, Tyler Maxon, as well as Dr. Robert Byne, partnered with Mr. Tim Osbourne of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau to test 133 of the best high school baseball players on the east coast of the United States.
The players, who were all chosen to appear at the showcase by Major League Baseball scouts, were tested for visual acuity, dynamic visual acuity, focus speed from far to near, oculomotor skills, eye-hand coordination, proaction, reaction, reaction adjustability, binocular coordination at 20 feet and three feet, stereopsis at 32 inches, speed and span of perception as well as for general eye health.
An astounding 99.8 percent of those tested had better than 20/20 acuity. Meanwhile, 54 percent of the players had difficulty with a far-to-near focus change and more than 80 percent over-aimed their eyes in their batting stance at 20 feet. Eleven percent of the players tested were referred to their doctors for various conditions, including one who suffered from Duane syndrome, a rare congenital disorder, and another with a preexisting ocular injury resulting in uncorrected anisometropia. About one-quarter of those who were tested wore contact lenses. The eye and vision testing results are made available to each Major League Baseball club in order to allow them to make informed decisions about future draft selections.
The East Coast Pro Showcase is designed to provide Major League Baseball scouts with an in-depth look at the playing skills of some of the nation's best high school baseball players. During the week that the players are at the showcase they have the unique opportunity to compete in games amongst some of the best talent on the east coast.
“We're really pleased to be partnering with the MLB Scouting Bureau and hope to include a vision performance enhancement program in the future; enabling the players involved in the showcase the opportunity to improve their dynamic vision skills,” Dr. Sherman said. “I am also very excited that MLB realizes vision skills are so fundamental to performance on the field. As Pete Rose said: “See it. Hit it.”
The showcase has produced many current Major League Baseball stars, including Mike Trout, David Wright, Brian McCann, Mark Teixteira, Prince Fielder and former Most Valuable Player Justin Verlander.
SUNY Community Provides Record-Breaking Support for World Sight Day
For the first time in its history, the SUNY College of Optometry celebrated World Sight Day on October 10. World Sight Day (WSD), which is sponsored by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and supports World Health Organization programs designed to eradicate avoidable blindness, is specifically designated to raise awareness about international vision impairment. WSD has been celebrated around the globe on the second Thursday of October since 2007.
This year WSD concentrated on universal eye health in coordination with the launching of a new, multi-year World Health Organization action plan aimed at the prevention of avoidable blindness around the world. The College focused on this theme and used it as an opportunity to create a positive sense of community as well as to raise funds to support various programs that prevent blindness globally. Additionally, SUNY Optometry took part in Optometry Giving Sight’s “World Sight Day Challenge,” the largest annual global fundraising campaign designed to address avoidable blindness caused by uncorrected refractive error.
In preparation for the day, student organizers facilitated a T-shirt drive with shirts designed specifically by Optometry Giving Sight. Student leaders aimed to get as many members of the SUNY Optometry community to wear the shirts as possible on October 10 and the initiative proved to be successful. In fact, the 184 shirts that SUNY sold eclipsed all of the other schools and colleges of optometry, setting a new World Sight Day Challenge record in the process. The sea of T-shirt at SUNY—in the College and throughout the University Eye Center—on October 10 also contributed to a remarkable sense of community and solidarity and helped raise awareness of preventable vision impairment.
To further engage patients in the clinic and visitors to the College, a table was set up in the lobby of SUNY’s midtown Manhattan building. Free magnets and stickers were offered to visitors to commemorate the day. Information about global vision impairment was also distributed along with an opportunity to make a donation.
During the day SUNY students also had the opportunity to participate in a “Guess the Spectacle Rx” contest for a small donation. The contest served not only as a fundraiser, but also as a fun way for students to hone their clinical skills. Fourth-year student Matt Bovenzi was the winner.
The day’s main event included two speakers, Dr. Christine Melton and Ms. Donna Campbell, from the Aravind Eye Foundation who spoke to the community about the Aravind Eye Care System, an internationally lauded eye and vision hospital headquartered in India.
Dr. Melton, an ophthalmologist who practices in Manhattan, founded the Aravind Eye Foundation in 2000. The foundation helps to build networks and raise money to support Aravind’s vital work in India where it has seen over 32 million patients during its nearly four-decade existence. Dr. Melton currently serves as the president of the board of directors for the foundation. Ms. Campbell is the executive director for the board and has been working with the Aravind Eye Foundation since 2011. The Aravind Eye Care System’s mission is to end needless blindness by providing all patients with the same high quality care regardless of their ability to pay. Today, Aravind is one of the largest eye care providers in the world and its sustainable health care model, which inspired a Harvard Business School case report, has helped the institution remain successful. In addition to patient services, Aravind conducts research, capacity building and consulting as well as manufacturing ophthalmic supplies.
“We were extremely pleased to be part of SUNY's World Sight Day celebration,” Ms. Campbell said. “Every SUNY student is already helping Aravind achieve our mission of eliminating needless blindness. Every time you see a patient, you are helping someone regain or maintain sight."
During the presentation, SUNY Optometry also hosted Mr. Kyle Kilness of NYSee20/20, an organization that works to increase health literacy and access to quality eye care to New York City’s underserved populations. Mr. Kilness has partnered often with the College's Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH) organization in recent years hosting vision screenings and other activities.
A reception followed the presentation in SUNY’s Center for Student Life and Learning. Various competitions and games were held during the reception and students had the opportunity to win items from TOMS, a shoe and eyewear company known for its global philanthropic activities, such as sunglass straps, posters and discount codes.
“Without a doubt, the first World Sight Day celebration at SUNY Optometry was a great success,” said Elsa Sheerer, a third year OD student at SUNY and one of the organizers of the WSD activities.
World Sight Day efforts continued at SUNY throughout the remainder of October, including during Envision New York, the College’s marquee continuing education and alumni weekend. Ms. Sheerer, who is currently the president of SUNY Optometry’s Student Chapter of the American Public Health Association, spoke to attendees about WSD, Optometry Giving Sight, and the SUNY’s celebration just a week before.
Scholarly and Professional Activities
Congratulations to Dr. Ilana Gelfond-Polnariev, Assistant Clinical Professor, was offered, and gratefully accepted, membership on the International Examining Certification Board (IECB). The board, led by Dr. Irwin Suchoff, retired faculty member of the College, consists of 10 members. In addition, Dr. Gelfond-Polnariev, Treasurer of the National Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK), developed a relationship between BSK and COVD (Council of Vision Development) which helped to creat a $50,000 endowment fund for COVD fo research in visual development.
Rosenfield M, Bass S. Global Vision: Globalisation and advances in eye care delivery. Optician (8.30.13) 17-21.
Rosenfield M. Global Vision: The spread of technology. Optician (9.27.13) 36-37.
Gould JA, Ciuffreda KJ, Yadav NK, Thiagarajan P, Arthur B. (2013) The effect of retinal defocus on simple eye-hand and eye-foot reaction time in traumatic brain injury (TBI).) Brain Inj. 2013 Oct 8. [Epub ahead of print]
Gould JA, Ciuffreda KJ, Arthur B, Yadav, N. (2013) Retinal defocus and eye dominance effect on eye-hand reaction time. Optometry & Visual Performance, vol. 1, no. 4, 224-237.
Kunzevitzky NJ, Willeford K, Feuer WJ, Almeida M, Goldberg JL (2013). Amacrine cell subtypes differ in their intrinsic neurite growth capacity. Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science. PMID: 24130183 (Ahead of print)
Mergler S, Mertens C, Valtink M, Reinach PS, Szekely VC, Slavi N, Garreis F, Abdelmessih S, Türker E, Fels G, Pleyer U. (2013) Functional significance of thermosensitive transient receptor potential melastatin channel 8 (TRPM8) expression in immortalized human corneal endothelial cells.Exp Eye Res. 2013 Oct 14. doi:pii: S0014-4835(13)00291-1. 10.1016/j.exer.2013.10.003. [Epub ahead of print]
Yadav NK, Ciuffreda KJ.(2013) Optimization of the pattern visual evoked potential (VEP) in the visually-normal and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) populations. Brain Inj. 2013 Oct 10. [Epub ahead of print]
Lam DY, Richdale K, Chalmers RL, Mitchell GL, Kinoshita BT, Jansen ME, Sorbara L, Wagner H. Repeatability of the Contact Lens Risk Survey. Accepted as a poster presentation at the 2013 American Academy of Optometry meeting, October 23-26, 2013, Seattle Washington.
Richdale K, Sinnott LT, Bullimore MA, Zadnik K. Lens and ciliary muscle dimensions as a function of age, accommodation, and refractive error. Accepted as a paper presentation at the 2013 American Academy of Optometry meeting, October 23-26, 2013, Seattle Washington.
Zheng Y, Gee J, Backus B, Richdale K. Automated Measurement of Lens Thickness Using Optical Coherence Tomography. Accepted as a poster presentation at the 2013 American Academy of Optometry meeting, October 23-26, 2013, Seattle Washington.
Peter Reinach was invited to be a Guest speaker at the Japanese Cornea Society Meeting in Wakayama Japan at Wakayama Medical School on November 8-9, 2013. The Title of his lecture is Functional Roles of Transient Receptor Potential Channels in Ocular Health and Disease.
The following members of the faculty were newly elected Fellows in the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) at its annual meeting in October:
Dr. Sandra Benaventes-Perez
Dr. James Li
Mr. Naveen Yadav
2013 American Academy of Optometry (AAO) Lectures, Presentations and Posters by SUNY Faculty and Students
Bass S, Patel T, and Sherman J. (2013) The Differential Diagnosis Of Paravenous Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) From Pigmented Paravenous Retinochoroidal Atrophy (PPRA), A "Pseudo RP" Masquerade, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Bass S and Tran I. (2013). The Differential Diagnosis Of Syndromes Presenting With Combined Vision And Hearing Loss: A Case Of Alport Syndrome, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Bass S and Sherman J (2013). Hi-Tech Workshop in the Detection of Glaucoma and Retinal Disease, , AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Benavente-Perez A, Nour A, Yan L , Roden K, Abarr K, Troilo D (2013). Brief Periods Of Focused Vision Are More Effective Than Myopic Defocus At Reducing Lens Induced Increases In Eye Growth , AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Bittner A, Gould J, Rozanski C, Rosenfarb A, DeJong B, Benavente-Perez A, and Dagnelie G. (2013). Visual Function Improvements Following Electroacupuncture For Retinitis Pigmentosa, , AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Ciuffreda K, Thiagarajan P , Capo-Aponte J, Ludlam D, Kapoor N (2013). Effect Of Combined Oculomotor Training On Reading Ability In Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI), , AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Ciuffreda K and Thiagarjan P. (2013). Pupillary Dynamics To Light Are Slowed In Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI), AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Epshtein D, Lee J, Ahamed A and Sherman J (2013). Progression In Stargardt Disease As Visualized By Auto Fluorescence, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Gajjar A, Lim M, Harwerth R, and Patel N (2013) Effects Of Habitual Soft Contact Lens Wear On Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography RNFL Measures, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Klein, M, Viswanathan S, Burns S, Huang G (2013). Cone Spatial Density And Multifocal Electroretinogram (MFERG) A-Wave Amplitude: A Comparison Across Eccentricity, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Lam A, Portello J, and Rosenfield M. (2013). Effect Of Artificial Tears On Symptoms Of Computer Vision Syndrome (Cvs) In Dry Eye Patients, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Lam D, Richdale K, Chalmers R, Kinoshita B, Jansen M, Sorbara L, and Wagner H. (2013). Repeatability Of The Contact Lens Risk Survey, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Lim M, Gajjar A, Harwerth R, and Patel N (2013). Age-Related Loss Of Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer (RNFL) Thickness After Compensating For Major Retinal Vasculature And Ocular Magnification, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
McGovern M and Soden, R (2013). Medical Compliance with Billing and Coding 2013, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Nehmad L, Yang A, Sharma M, and Pereira S (2013). A Comparative Study of Methods Used to Evaluate Visual Field Progression in Glaucoma , AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Richdale K, Sinnott L, Bullimore M, and Zadnik K (2013). Lens and Ciliary Muscle Dimensions as a Function of Age, Accommodation And Refractive Error , AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Rosenfield M. , Rosenlicht T, Huang Y, and Simon J (2013). Effect Of Colored Overlays On Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) , AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Slotnick, S, Ciuffreda, Yadav N and Byne R. (2013). Relation Between Prosopagnosia And Hemifield Loss Of Contrast Perception Following Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) , AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Slotnick S, Epshtein D, Awad C, Nath S, and Sherman J (2013). Novices In Ophthalmic Field Trained To Identify Ocular Disease With High Sensitivity & Specificity Using Ivue(R) Iwellnessexam(TM) Test, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Truong J, Ciuffreda K, Han MH, Suchoff IB. (2013). Photosensitivity In Mild Traumatic Brain-Injury (MTBI): A Retrospective Analysis, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Yadav N, Thiagarajan P, and Ciuffreda K (2013). Effect of Oculomotor Vision Rehabilitation on Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) Responses and Visual Attention in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Yadav N and Ciuffreda K (2013). Optimization of the Pattern Visual Evoked Potential (VEP) in the Visually-Normal and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Populations , AAO Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Vasudevan B, Grk D, Cox M, Meehan K, Feis A and Ciuffreda K (2013). Comparison Of Non-Cycloplegic Objective Refraction In Darkness To Conventional Cycloplegic Subjective Refraction, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Rosenfield M (2013).Today's Technology: Yesterday's Eye Exam, AAO Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Young J, Kim WF, Wagner L. (2013).Orbital Venous-Lymphatic Malformation Misdiagnosed As A Chalazion, AAO, Seattle, WA, October 2013.
Zabala K, Richter S and Bass, S (2013). Macular OCT As The Key For Diagnosing Achromatopsia In Patients With Nystagmus, AAO Seattle, WA, October 2013.
We are happy to announce that Dr. Dipali Dave has joined the Graduate Center for Vision Research as the Sponsored Research Officer. Dr. Dave joins us after serving as Director of Human Clinical Trials in the Department of Ophthalmology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She received her M.D. from the American University of Antigua College of Medicine and is currently working towards a Masters of Health Care Administration. Dr. Dipali will oversee human subject research at the College, including implementation of school policies and compliance.
College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Dr. Barry Tannen (pictured at left) was selected to serve on the Executive Board of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development at their Annual Meeting in October. Dr. Tannen also lectured in the continuing education program on "Research in Reading: The Work of Harold Solan, OD and others."
2013 SUNY alumna Dr. Miki Lynn D'Angelo (pictured with Dr. Tannen) serves this year as the College of Optometrists in Vision Development National Resident Liaison.
SUNY Launches Inaugural Externship Expo
Last month SUNY Optometry’s Career Development Center hosted the inaugural Annual Externship Expo. The Expo is designed to allow third year OD students the opportunity to become better acquainted with the externship opportunities that will be available to them as fourth year students and provide them with a closer look at the various modes of practice once they graduate.
“Externship experiences are paramount to a students’ career trajectory as those experiences may influence a students’ practice philosophy, mode of practice to seek and whether to pursue residency training,” said Francisco Lucio, SUNY Optometry’s director of career development and minority enrichment. “The Externship Expo gave students the opportunity to make a better informed decision regarding which externship sites to pursue.”
As part of the Expo, externship site doctors had the opportunity to attend a continuing education luncheon led by SUNY faculty members Dr. Patricia Modica and Dr. Richard Madonna. Students attended a networking presentation led by Mr. Lucio. The half-day event ended with a reception.
"This was a great opportunity for our students to meet lots of our adjunct faculty members in a short period of time. As a result, they were able to identify sites that would be most beneficial to their continued development as clinicians and professionals," said Dr. Modica.
The Expo featured 16 externship sites including: East New York, VA Boston, VA Hudson Valley, VA Lyons in New Jersey, VA North Port, VA Southern Arizona Tucson, VA West Haven, CT, Eye Care Unlimited, Ezra Medical Center, Fromer Eye Centers, Keller Army Hospital and New York Vision Group
The Expo was attended by 65 students from the Class of 2015.
SUNY Optometry Open House
SUNY Optometry's next Open House will be held on Thursday January 9th, 2014. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, email address and your number of guests. There is a limit of 2 guests per person.
SUNY Optometry Introduces Grand Rounds
Beginning last July, the SUNY College of Optometry began a monthly schedule of Grand Rounds coordinated by Dr. Andre Stanberry. During its initial few months the program has been extremely successful, hosting more than 20 speakers and including over 200 attendees.
Grand Rounds have a long tradition as a vital teaching tool for health care professionals. During Grand Rounds interesting and often complex cases are presented and discussed between students, residents and faculty.
The entire College community, including alumni, are invited to attend and participate in Grand Rounds at SUNY. For more information please contact Dr. Stanberry directly at email@example.com
SUNY Optometry in the Media - October 2013
Recent mentions in the media of SUNY Optometry community members:
The September issue of Women in Optometry includes many SUNY-related individuals, including a cover story on Dr. Anna Marie Fernandez. Other SUNY-affiliated doctors included in the issue are: Dr. Jillia Bird, Dr. Gloria Chow, Dr. Andrea Thau, Dr. Kara Rose Pasner and Dr. Ilana Gelfond-Polnariev.
SUNY researcher Dr. Benjamin Backus is consulted and quoted for “The Mind-Bending Science Of James Turrell's Art” appearing in Popular Science.
The New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians (NJSOP) presented its Scientific Achievement Award to SUNY’s Dr. Diane Adamczyk. Check out the article in the Bergen Record.
SUNY’s Dr. Mark Rosen is consulted for this article about vision and smartphones in the Seattle Times.
- Dr. Thau is consulted and quoted in “What Every Contact Lens Wearer Needs to Know (But Is Afraid To Ask)” in the Huffington Post.
Record Amount of Scholarship Support for Students
Nearly two dozen students were honored by members of the SUNY College of Optometry’s administration and the College’s foundation the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) during a lunchtime presentation on October 2. Fourteen different scholarships were handed out to 22 students during the event in the College’s second-floor seminar room, and it offered a unique opportunity for some scholarship donors to connect directly with the recipients of their scholarship.
“The decision to donate money for a scholarship is a deeply person one,” President Heath told the gathering, while noting that it was particularly poignant for the donors to directly interact with the beneficiaries of their generosity.
OCNY trustee, Dennis Gehr and his wife Lesley were on hand to present their scholarship to Marina Davydova of the Class of 2017. While OCNY vice president Barbara Saltzman presented her scholarship to Class of 2016 student Jenna Salner.
President of SUNY Optometry’s Alumni Association, Dr. Denise Whittam, presented both the alumni scholarships and the alumni memorial scholarship and Dr. Kristen Fry, the immediate past president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Academy of Optometry, presented the NJOA Scholarship at the event.
President Heath also reminded those in attendance about the vital work that the OCNY does in support of scholarships for students at the College and encouraged the beneficiaries to remember this day and think about giving back once they’ve established their own careers in the future.
This year a record total of $247,000 in scholarship support has been provided to students at the College.
The following scholarships were given to the following recipients during the event:
Presented by: Dr. Denise Whittam, President, Alumni Association
Richard Chu (Class of 2017)
Teresa Nguyen (Class of 2017)
Alumni Memorial Scholarship
Presented by: Dr. Whittam
Rima Bakhru (Class of 2015)
Scott Tasker Folsom Scholarship
Presented by: Dr. David A. Heath, President, SUNY College of Optometry
Christine Corrente (Class of 2015)
Kenneth Wenthen (Class of 2015)
Rania Hallal (Class of 2015)
NYSOA Scholarship Dr. Alden Haffner Scholarship
Presented by: Dr. Ida Chung, Section Chief of Pediatrics
Rima Bakhru (Class of 2015)
Chelsea Ashlaw (Class of 2015)
Presented by: Dr. Kristen Fry, President, NJ Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry
Jennifer Turturea (Class of 2017)
Dr. Nathan and Laura Millman Scholarship
Presented by: Dr. Heath
Brittney Gewolb (Class of 2016)
Ellen McCrary (Class of 2016)
Matt Siu (Class of 2016)
Brenda Liang (Class of 2016)
Dr. Jerome Weiss Scholarship
Presented by: Dr. Richard Soden, Vice President for Clinical Affairs
Jeremy Whitney (Class of 2014)
Jeff White Memorial Scholarship
Presented by: Dr. Heath
Colleen Dye (Class of 2014)
Dr. Harold Solan Scholarship
Presented by: Dr. Neera Kapoor, Chief Vision Rehabilitation Services
Danielle Kalberer (Class of 2014)
Harold M. Spielman Scholarship
Presented by: Mr. Harold Spielman, OCNY Trustee
Raul Daniels (Class of 2017)
Barbara Saltzman Scholarship
Presented by: Ms. Barbara Saltzman, OCNY Trustee
Jenna Salner (Class of 2016)
Dennis and Lesley Gehr Scholarship
Presented by: Lesley and Dennis Gehr, OCNY Trustee
Marina Davydova (Class of 2017)
Dr. Sanford and Claire Levy Scholarship
Presented by: Dr. David Troilo, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs
Chelsea Ashlaw (Class of 2015)
Tea Avdic (Class of 2016)
Christine Morra (Class of 2016)
Presented by: Dr. Troilo
Tyler Maxon (Class of 2015)
October College Research Activities
Robert Ennis, a doctoral student in the Graduate Program in Vision Science, successfully defended his PhD dissertation, "The Role of Mental Representations in the Geometrical Structure of Color Similarity Judgments" on August 27, 2013. His dissertation advisor was Dr. Qasim Zaidi. Dr. Ennis has secured a position as a Post-Doctorate at the lab of Karl Gegenfurtner at Justus Liebig University Giessen in Giessen, Germany.
Bade A, Boas M, Gallaway M, Mitchell GL, Scheiman M, Kulp MT, Cotter SA, Rouse M; CITT Study Group (2013) Relationship between clinical signs and symptoms of convergence insufficiency. Optom Vis Sci. 2013 Sep;90(9):988-95. doi: 10.1097
Richdale K, Lam DY, Mitchell GL, Chalmers RL, Jansen ME, Kinoshita BT, Sorbara L, Wagner H. (2013) Geographic and temporal risk factors for interruptions to soft contact lens wear in young wearers. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2013 Oct;36(5):253-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 Mar 15.
Rubinos C, Villone K, Mhaske PV, White TW, Srinivas M. (2013) Functional Effects of Cx50 Mutations Associated with Congenital Cataracts. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2013 Sep 4. [Epub ahead of print]
Thiagarajan P, Ciuffreda KJ.(2013) Visual fatigue effects on vergence dynamics in asymptomatic individuals. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2013 Aug 22. doi: 10.1111/opo.12083. [Epub ahead of print]
Troilo D. (2013) In memoriam: Josh Wallman, PhD, 1943-2012: Editorial introducing the special issue of Experimental Eye Research in tribute to Josh Wallman. Exp Eye Res. 2013 Sep;114:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2013.04.009. Epub 2013 Apr 18.
Yang Y, Wang Z, Yuang H , Wang L, Gillespie S, Wolosin JM, Bernstein A, Reinach P (2013) TRPV1 potentiates myofibroblast development. PLoS ONE (accepted for publication).
Mergler S, Derckx R, Reinach PS, Garreis F, Böhm A, Schmelzer L, Skosyrski S, Ramesh N, Abdelmessih S, Polat OK, Khajavi N, Riechardt AI. Calcium regulation by temperature-sensitive transient receptor potential channels in human uveal melanoma cells. Cell Signal. 2013 Sep 29. doi:pii: S0898-6568(13)00298-2. 10.1016/j.cellsig.2013.09.017. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24084605 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] Related citations Select item 23838019
Alves M, Fonseca EC, Alves MF, Malki LT, Arruda GV, Reinach PS, Rocha EM. Dry eye disease treatment: a systematic review of published trials and a critical appraisal of therapeutic strategies. Ocul Surf. 2013 Jul;11(3):181-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 May 10. PMID: 23838019 [PubMed - in process] Related citations Select item 23707408
Bernardes A, Souza PC, Muniz JR, Ricci CG, Ayers SD, Parekh NM, Godoy AS, Trivella DB, Reinach P, Webb P, Skaf MS, Polikarpov I. Molecular mechanism of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α activation by WY14643: a new mode of ligand recognition and receptor stabilization. J Mol Biol. 2013 Aug 23;425(16):2878-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2013.05.010. Epub 2013 May 21. PMID: 23707408 [PubMed - in process] Related citations Select item 23391327
Paula JS, Ribeiro VR, Chahud F, Cannellini R, Monteiro TC, Gomes EC, Reinach PS, Rodrigues Mde L, Silva-Cunha A. Bevacizumab-loaded polyurethane subconjunctival implants: effects on experimental glaucoma filtration surgery. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jul-Aug;29(6):566-73. doi: 10.1089/jop.2012.0136. Epub 2013 Feb
Stewart Bloomfield, PhD, was invited to speak at Grand Rounds on The Roles of Gap Junctions in Retinal Physiology and Pathology in the Department of Ophthalmology at Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY on September 25, 2013.
Partners for Sight Foundation Renews Support for SUNY Homebound Program for the Sixth Time
The Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation has awarded the Optometric Center of New York a renewed $30,000 grant for its Homebound Program. This support is critical for the continuation of eye and vision care that is provided by the University Eye Center to homebound residents in Queens, as well as for providing lamps, eyeglasses and low vision devices to homebound patients in Manhattan. This is the sixth grant from the Foundation.
Vision loss puts individuals at increased risk for a variety of dangers including falls, fractures, depression or mistakenly taking the wrong medications, all of which can result in earlier admission into nursing homes and increased costs to the health care system. The College’s Homebound Program offers much-improved quality of life for patients, enabling them to perform the tasks of daily living while remaining safer at home. The renewed grant will offer access to essential services for homebound populations particularly at risk, including older adults, people with multiple disabilities and/or other health conditions which can make it challenging, if not impossible, to access available health services in the community. A portion of the funds will also be allocated for the purchase of lamps to address issues in the home like proper lighting, and will also be used for eyeglasses and low vision devices.
“We are delighted that the Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation has continued to offer its support to this vital program for the sixth year in a row,” said Dr. Richard Soden, vice president clinical affairs, and executive director of the University Eye Center at SUNY Optometry. “
Other recent activities:
- The Badgeley Trust recently provided a $10,000 unrestricted grant to the OCNY
- Hyde and Watson gave a $5,000 grand\t to purchase equipment for the Bowery Project.
- Alcon has committed to providing a $45,000 grant to the Partners in Education Program which benefits SUNY students, faculty, residents and Envision New York.
Graduate Center for Vision Research Holds Open House
On September 18, the Graduate Center for Vision Research held a Research Open House. The event introduced incoming, first-year optometry students to the many research opportunities at the College as well as the graduate programs offered in conjunction to their OD degree.
The event commenced in the afternoon where Dr. Stewart Bloomfield, director of the Graduate Center for Vision Research, spoke in depth about the graduate programs offered at the College. Besides dual degree programs (OD/MS, PhD/OD), there is also a singular PhD degree program offered to those interested specifically in vision science.
Graduate student Kathleen Abarr spoke about her experience as a dual degree student as an OD/MS student while doctoral candidate Lauren Wool spoke about her research titled, “Salience of Unique and Other Hues.” Drs. Alexandra Benavente, Christina Llerena and Robert McPeek also spoke on their respective research.
After the speakers concluded, a reception followed on the third floor of the Center for Student Life and Learning where students were able to view poster presentations by the various research labs at the College. Students gained insight into the clinical and basic research currently being conducted at the College. Selected topics included the Effects of Artificial Tears on Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome in Dry Eye Patients and Risk Factors for the Development of Soft Contact Lens Complications.
SUNY Doctors Educate Weill-Cornell Clinicians about InfantSEE
Last July Associate Clinical Professor, Dr. Andrea Thau and Associate Professor and Chief of Pediatric Services at the University Eye Center, Dr. Ida Chung addressed a group of 30 pediatric residents at the Weill-Cornell Medical Center about the InfantSEE® program. This was the first such collaboration between the SUNY College of Optometry and Weill-Cornell Medical and was an outgrowth of the highly successful InfantSEE® event held at the College last spring.
The presentation by Drs. Thau and Chung was designed to foster an exchange of knowledge and promote the importance of early eye examinations for infants. Early eye examinations are essential in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular and visual disorders that can affect the overall development of a child and impact the child’s social, motor and speech skills. The InfantSEE® program, a public health program coordinated by volunteer AOA member optometrists, provides one no-cost vision assessment of a baby’s eye and vision health between the ages of 6 and 12 months.
SUNY Optometry is proud to be an active participant in the InfantSEE® program since its inception. To date, more than 100,000 babies have been examined through the nationwide InfantSEE® program. Discussions such as the one conducted by Drs. Thau and Chung at Weill-Cornell, have helped to increase the visibility of this important program among physicians and other health care practitioners across the United States.
Q&A: Dr. Diane Adamczyk, Director of Residency Education
The 2013-14 residency class is the largest in the history of the SUNY College of Optometry’s clinical residency education program. In light of this, we’ve asked Dr. Diane Adamczyk, director of residency education here at SUNY, a few questions about residency programs at the College and the future of residency education.
Q: One of the College’s missions—as it pertains to both education and patient care—is to provide for the future health care needs of our community. How do you think the residency program at SUNY contributes to this important objective?
A: Residency education in many ways is where one should look to see where the future of optometry and health care is going. It provides the resident with advanced clinical competencies that go beyond the core training of the professional education. It is in residency education that one can get an idea of where the profession is going. SUNY has always been a leader in residency education, setting the example for the country in meeting the health care needs of today, and preparing the practitioner for the needs of tomorrow.
Q: SUNY has a long history of providing clinical residency education yet the program has continued to grow and evolve over the years. Can you tell us about some of the newer residency programs that are being offered and some of what the College is hoping to offer in the future?
A: SUNY has a rich residency history, beginning with the first residency program established in the country, back in 1975. We have since grown to 15 diverse programs with a total of 37 residents (as was mentioned, this is the largest residency class in the history of the College). Our two most recent programs are Fromer Eye Centers and Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, the first being an ophthalmology/optometry practice, and the second a hospital-based program, both seeing a broad and diverse population of patients. In addition to continued development of residency programs in this area, I also see growth in rehabilitation programs, such as our Acquired Brain Injury Residency.
Q: What do you think are the most important reasons for an optometrist to do a residency today?
A: Residencies develop not only advanced skills that go beyond what can be learned in the professional program but also sharpen the clinical thinking skills that are critical in providing exceptional patient care and clinical thinking skills that will remain with the practitioner their entire professional career.
Q: What would you say to somebody who is on the fence about doing a residency?
A: Get off the fence --- there is no question --- if there is one decision that you make that will change the course of your professional career in ways you can’t even begin to imagine --- it’s doing a residency.
Fifth Annual Recognition Awards Ceremony Highlights Excellence
On August 16 the College held its Fifth Annual Recognition Awards Ceremony in the Schwarz Theatre. Designed to celebrate the contributions, service and achievements of faculty and staff at the College, this year’s ceremony had an old-school Hollywood theme that featured a humorous video tribute to both the optometric profession and the silent film era as well as cleverly photo-shopped images of the award recipients as movie stars.
During the program, President Heath recognized more than a two dozen employees of the College, including those who have served 25 years or more as well as the most recent retirees. The Community Spirit Awards went to Ms. Kimberly Price and Dr. Catherine Pace-Watson. The Unsung Hero Award went to Mr. Rockley Lawes and the President’s Merit Award in Excellence was awarded to Dr. Guilherme Albieri.
The years of service recognitions and retirees for 2013 are:
40 Years of Service:
Dr. Harold Friedman
Dr. Jerry Rapp
Mr. Thomas Flagg
30 Years of Service:
Dr. Benjamin Freed
Ms. Ann Warwick
25 Years of Service:
Ms. Karen DeGazon
Dr. Catherine Pace-Watson
Mr. David Bowers
Ms. Janeth Scaturro
Dr. Tanya Carter
Dr. Lloyd Haskes
Dr. Marlene Jurman
Dr. Steven Ritter
Ms. Ellen Baberadt
Dr. Joel Warshowsky
Dr. Robert Byne
Dr. Neil Falasca
Dr. Kenneth Landesman
Dr. Staurt Rothman
Dr. Rodolfo Rodriguez
Dr. Michael Yellen
Dr. Steven Shaby
Dr. Terry Scheid
Dr. Helen Duan
Career Development Center Launches Distinctive Mentoring Program
The SUNY College of Optometry’s Career Development Center (CDC) has unveiled a one-of-a-kind mentoring program that is designed to enrich and enhance the academic and professional development of students and residents at the College. In keeping with the CDC’s mission, as well as the College’s new strategic plan which focuses heavily on providing assistance to students, residents and alumni in helping them to realize their career goals, this new program will provide a proactive and meaningful way to network, gain and develop valuable skills and build first-hand knowledge of the optometric profession.
The Family of Mentors Program (FMP) is an easy-to-use, online platform that will match mentors and mentees intelligently based on specific criteria such as career goals, geography and other factors. Once paired, the mentors and mentees will then move through a series of goals and exploratory questions based on the needs and desires of the mentee. Along the way the FMP will provide both individuals with helpful prompts to keep the process on track and moving forward.
“Ultimately with the Family of Mentors Program we’re looking to capitalize on our vast network of alumni as well as our professional and organizational partnerships to create meaningful relationships between students and mentors in order to help positively impact the optometric profession,” said Mr. Francisco Lucio, SUNY’s director of career development and minority enrichment.
To launch the program SUNY has initially developed a pool of approximately 50 mentors drawn from its community of more than 2,200 alumni as well as from the ranks of organized optometry such as the New York State Optometric Association and the corporate world. Not all mentors are required to be optometrists and Mr. Lucio is hoping for a broad cross-section of professional experience among the pool of mentors.
“We want to have a wide variety of mentors available for our students and residents to choose from,” Mr. Lucio said. “There are so many modes of practice within optometry and so many different career goals that our students and residents are interested in and can choose from. We want to be able to offer connections to mentors that will suite anyone’s interests and needs.”
Mr. Lucio said that mentors must have a strong commitment to the CDC’s mission of helping the students and residents who pass through SUNY’s doors realize their professional goals. They must also be willing to commit to providing at least one hour each month to their mentee, whether through the online FMP platform or through face-to-face meetings.
“No other school or college of optometry has engaged in this kind of formalized mentoring program for their students and residents,” Mr. Lucio said. “So we’re excited to see the FMP quickly become a vital tool for them to achieve their professional and personal goals.”
Dr. Andrea Thau Elected Secretary-Treasurer of the AOA
Dr. Andrea Thau, associate clinical professor at the College, was elected secretary-treasurer of the American Optometric Association (AOA) at its 116th Annual AOA Congress and 43rd Annual AOSA (American Optometric Student Association) Conference: Optometry's Meeting® in San Diego, California this past June.
First elected to the AOA Board of Trustees in 2007, Dr. Thau was re-elected at Optometry's Meeting® in June 2010. She will not only have responsibilities as secretary-treasurer, but will also serve as chair of the AOA Constitution and Bylaws and Finance Committees and be a member of the AOA Executive and Investment Committees. In addition, Dr. Thau also will serve as board liaison to Optometry Cares® - The AOA Foudation and to the affiliate associations in Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University.
Prior to her election to the Board, Dr. Thau served as president of the New York State Optometric Association -- the first female president in the history of the association. She is also past-president, and the first woman to serve as president of the New York Academy of Optometry where she also served as membership chair for 18 years.
Dr. Thau is an alumna of SUNY Optometry and has been a member of the faculty since graduation.
SUNY Optometry in the Media
Dr. Andrea Thau appeared on WNBC News 4 NY on Monday, August 12, 2013 to comment on the importance of comprehensive eye examinations for children before they start school. Click here to see video.
College Research Activity
Alves M, Fonseca EC, Alves MF, Malki LT, Arruda GV, Reinach PS, rocha EM (2013). Dry eye disease treatment: a systematic review of published trials and a critical appraisal of therapeutic strategies. Ocul Surf. 2013 Jul;11(3):181-92. doi:10.1016/j.jtos.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 May 10. PMID:23838019 [PubMed - in process] Select item 23707408
Bernardes A, Souza PC, Muniz JR, Ricci CG, Ayers Sd, Parekh NM, Godoy AS, Trivella DB, Reinach PS, Webb P, Skaf MS, Polikarpov I. (2013). Molecular Mechanism of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor α Activation by WY14643: a New Mode of Ligand Recognition and Receptor Stabilization. J Mol Biol. 2013 Aug 23;425(16):2878-93. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2013.05.010. Epub 2013 May 21. P MID: 23707408 [PubMed - in process]
Caldwell MD, Hu SS, Viswanathan S, Bradshaw H, Kelly ME, Straiker A. (2013). A GPR18-based signalling system regulates IOP in murine eye. Br J Pharmacol. 2013 jun;169(4):834-43.
Hue JE, Rosenfield M, Saá G. (2013). Reading from electronic devices versus hardcopy test. Work. (in press).
Paula JS, Ribeiro VR, Chahud F, Cannellini R, Monteiro TC, de Lima Gomes EC, Reinach PS, Veronese Rodrigues Mde L, Silva-Cunha A. (2013). Bevacizumab-loaded polyurethane subconjunctival implants: effects on experimental glaucoma filtration surgery. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jul-Aug; 29(6):566-73. doi: 10.1089/jop.2012.0136. Epub 2013 Feb 7. PMID: 23391327 [PubMed - in process]
Rosenfield M. Global Viaion. Part 6. globalisation and spread of technology. Optician (in press).
Sanchez HA, Villone K, Srinivas M, and Verselis VK. (2013). The D50N mutation and syndromic deafness: altered Cx26 hemichannel properties caused by effects on the pore and intersubunit interactions. The Journal of General Physiology, June 24, 2013, vol. 142, no. 1, 3-22. Doi:10.1085/jgp.201310962.
Schwartz SH (2013). Geometrical and Visual Optics: A Clinical Introduction, Second Edition. McGraw-Hill:New York.
Volgyi B, Pan F, Paul DL, Wang JT, Huberman AD, and Bloomfield SA. (2013). Gap Junctions are Essential for Generating the Correlated Spike Activity of Neighboring Retinal Ganglion Cells. PloS ONE 8(7) e69426. Boi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069426.
Zaidi Q, Li A, Wong C, Cohen EH and Meng X. (2013) Chapter 22. Hard-Wired and Plastic Mechanisms in 3D Shape Perception in Shape Perception in Human and Computer Vision: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Eds., Sven J. Dickinson and Zygmunt Pizlo, Springer-Verlag, London.
Zhuang J, Stoelzel CR, Bereshpolova Y, Huff JM, Hei X, Alonso JM, Swadlow HA. (2013). Layer 4 primary visual cortex of the awake rabbit: contrasting properties of simple cells and putative feedforward inhibitory interneurons. The Journal of Neuroscience 33(28):11372-89, PMID:23843510. PMCID:3724558
Caziot B, Rolfs M, Backus BT. The orienting of attention across binocular disparity. (2013) The European Conference in Visual Perception on August 26, 2013.
Benavente-Perez A, Nour A, Yan L, Roden K, Abarr K, Troilo D. (2013) The Role of Peripheral Refraction in the Temporal Integration of Induced Eye Growths in Marmosets. International Myopia Conference (IMC). August. Asilomar, CA. US
Sedgwick, HA (2013) Contact relations in the visual perception of spatial layout. Invited talk presented at the Asia Pacific Conference on Vision. July 5-8, 2013, Suzhou, China.
Sedgwick, HA (2013) Orientation, location, and scale in the visual perception of extrapersonal space. Invited talk presented at the Hong Kong Univeristy - International Workshop in Vision Science, July 11, 2013, Hong Kong.
Troilo, D, Nour, A, and Benavente, A. (2013) Manipulation of Eye Growth and Refractive State using Contact Lenses, International Myopia Conference 2013, Monterey, California, August 19-22.
Meeting Abstracts Presented at VSS 2013
Adams-Bedford J, Wallis G, and Backus B. (2013). The impact of intention, action, and learnt contingency on visual perception. Journal of Vision, July 24, 20013, vol. 13, no. 9, article 754. doi:10.1167/13.9.754.
Cai L, Yuan A, and Backus B. (2013). Motion perception in RDK with signal and noise dots distributed across eyes. Journal of Vision, July 24, 2013, vol. 13 no 9 article 934. doi:10.1167/13.9.934.
Giesel, M and Zaidi Q. (2013). Constituents of material property perception. Journal of Vision, July 24, 2013, vol. 13 no 9 article 206. doi:10.1.1167/13.9.206.
Jain, A, Doerschner K and Zaidi Q. Identification of nongrid 3D shapes from motion cues in the fovea and periphery. Journal of Vision, July 24, 2013, vol. 13 no 9 article 264. doi:10.1167/13.9.264.
Komban S, Jin J, Wang Y, Lashgari R, Kremkow J, Alonso JM and Zaidi Q. (2013). Perceptual consequences of temporal differences in ON and Off channels. Journal of Vision , July 24, 2013, vol. 13 no. 9 article 1022. Doi: 10.1167/13.9.1022.
Llerena Law C, Backus BT, Yuan A, Natanelova O, Steele L, Tseng I and Cai L. (2013). Use of dichoptic random dot kinematograms to assess amblyopic suppression. Journal of Vision, July 24, 2013, vol. 12 no. 9, article 544. doi:10.1167/13.9.544.
Zaidi Q. (2013). Phenomenology and neurons. Journal of Vision, July 24, 2013, vol. 12, no. 9 article 1395. doi:10.1167/13.9.1395.
12th Annual Envision New York Continuing Education Meeting and Alumni Reunion
The 12th Annual Envision New York Continuing Education meeting and Alumni Reunion will be held at the SUNY College of Optometry on Friday, October 18 - Monday, October 21, 2013. This year's conference will continue to offer world-class optometric education and the opportunity to socialize with old friends and colleagues. Our tradition has been to offer new and distinctive programs -- this year is no different.
Highlights for 2013 program include:
- For the first time, Envision will expand to Friday night, offering a panel discussion on "The Challenges of Healthcare Reform for the Profession of Optometry". The discussion is available for both doctor and student registration. It will be followed by a "Meet the Exhibitors" reception and an opportunity to mingle with other attendees and with students from the College.
- The always popular Envision reception and Alumni Reunion will be held at the Millennium Broadway Hotel. The SUNY College of Optometry "Alumna of the Year" will be honored at this reception.
- A hands-on workshop will allow attendees to utilize high-tech diagnostic instruments.
- For the second consecutive year, the Office of Continuing Professional Education is offering a five-hour Low Vision track that can be used towards New York State Low Vision Certification.
- A three-hour symposium on Genetics in Eye Care will conclude the program on Monday.
Once again, the Millennium Broadway Hotel is offering exceptional rates for Envision attendees. The Office of Continuing Professional Education looks forward to seeing you for a fantastic Envision New York weekend!
Campaign Update: Our Goal is in Sight!
Thanks to the generosity of donors to The Vision and The Promise Campaign, the Optometric Center of New York, the College's foundation, will be able to increase its support of programs that help the City's underserved.
Our project at the Bowery Mission will have a new autorefractor and phoropter because of gifts from friends of the College.
A member of the staff has designated her gift to benefit glaucoma patients.
One of our faculty has created a scholarship endowment in her name that will support an academically qualified and financially needy student. This gift was made in the form of a bequest. The interest from this endowment will be given as the scholarship while the principal will remain untouched and in perpetuity.
Three alumni have joined together to buy a locker plaque with their names prominently displayed in the new Center for Student for Life and Learning as part of the campaign's Locker Legacy effort.
We have reached 46% giving from faculty and staff! Thank you for your continued support.
Please feel free to contact Ann Warwick and staff at extension 5600, or visit the 18th floor Institutional Advancement Suite, if you have any questions.
Allene Reuss Memorial Trust Helps University Eye Center Provide Care for Needy New Yorkers
For the eighth year in a row the Allene Reuss Memorial Trust has provided support to the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) for its Indigent Patient Fund, a pool of money that was created by the OCNY to provide financial support that enables thousands of people from throughout New York City to have access to high-quality, vital vision care at the University Eye Center (UEC).
The Indigent Patient Fund, which has been in operation at the UEC for nearly four decades, provides patient care to both children and adults who are either uninsured or underinsured and are not financially able to pay for their care in full. Typically about 1,500 patients from all five boroughs of the city receive assistance annually through the fund. However, the number of patients served by the fund has been on the rise in recent years.
The fund enables increased access to essential eye care services for patients who might not otherwise seek the care that they need. In many cases, the care that they receive thanks to support from the fund helps those adults and children live better, happier and more productive lives. Last year the $25,000 Allene Reuss grant allowed the fund to treat nearly 200 patients.
“We’re very proud to provide this valuable service to our community,” said Dr. Richard Soden, executive director of the UEC and an OCNY trustee. “And we’re grateful for the continued support that the Allene Reuss Memorial Trust has provided for nearly the past decade as we look to expand this important community program even further.”
Residents Honored During Ceremony
Check out some photos from SUNY’s event recognizing the hard work of its 2013 class of residents.
SUNY Earns Spirit Award at Student Bowl
At last month’s 116th Annual American Optometric Association Congress and 43rd Annual American Optometric Students Association Conference—otherwise known as Optometry’s Meeting—it was the extraordinary energy and unyielding enthusiasm of SUNY’s large contingent of students at the Varilux® Optometry Student Bowl that made a lasting impression in San Diego. Sponsored by Essilor USA, this enormously popular and much-anticipated event, which is in its 22nd year, was attended by well over 1,500 students, doctors and others who were in town for the meeting. Matt Bovenzi (Class of 2014) adeptly represented SUNY with an exceptional effort and for the first time in the event’s history there was a tie for first place between students representing the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Nova Southeastern University.
But it was the passion and zeal of the SUNY contingent that won the day. With students from every school and college of optometry gathered in matching t-shirts, sporting signs and even belting out original songs and chants, SUNY out shinned them all and earned the coveted “Spirit Award” which, along with well-deserved recognition for three hours of gusto, comes the responsibility of producing the “rules video” that will be shown at next year’s Student Bowl in Philadelphia.