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
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:
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:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 Inter-Professional 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 inter-professional 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
‘Women in Optometry’ Recognizes SUNY Graduate
The June issue of the Review of Optometry’s supplement Women in Optometry has recognized 2013 SUNY graduate Dr. Irene Tran as one of the 16 women who earned top honors from North America’s 22 schools and colleges of optometry this year.
SUNY Optometry VP Named Business Officer of the Year
The State University of New York Business Officers Association (SUBOA) bestowed Mr. David A. Bowers, the SUNY College of Optometry’s vice president for administration and finance, with the prestigious 2013 Robert J. Wagner Business Officer of the Year Award at the association’s annual conference in Rye Brook, NY last May. The award, which has been conferred by SUBOA since 2006, is the association’s highest honor and is given, according to its citation, "in recognition of outstanding performance, high professional standards and significant contribution to SUNY and SUBOA.”
Mr. Bowers joined the College more than 25 years ago, in 1988, and has served on the SUBOA executive board since 1998. He served as SUBOA president from 2002-2004. In addition to his role as vice president for administration and finance, Mr. Bowers serves as the College’s internal control officer and as the campus operations manager for The Research Foundation for The State University of New York. He served as officer-in-charge of the College from July 2006 to June 2007 while a presidential search was being conducted.
Mr. Bowers holds master’s degrees in business administration and urban planning. Prior to joining SUNY Optometry, he held positions as the associate dean for administration and finance in the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, the assistant dean for administration and finance in the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and as a research associate in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.
The award is named in honor of Robert J. Wagner, a former business officer from SUNY's University at Buffalo. He is a past-president of SUBOA and currently serves as senior advisor to the president of the University at Buffalo Foundation.
Office of Continuing Professional Education Launches Two Online Courses
The Office of Continuing Professional Education has launched two online courses; each course is COPE approved for one hour of distance learning CE credit.
- Dr. Leon Nehmad presents: “Practical Approach to Visual Field Testing and Interpretation for Glaucoma”
- Dr. Jerome Sherman presents: “VEP: Objective Assessment of macula and optic nerve function with office based VEPs”
Also, Drs. David Libassi & Ralph Gundel present Contact Lenses for the Post Surgical at the Breakfast & Learn program on Sunday, August 11, 2013 from 8:00am-12:00pm. The course will be COPE approved for four hours of CE credit.
Registration is also now open for New Jersey Orals Certification program on Friday, September 20th- Sunday, September 22nd. This course fulfills many state licensing requirements for prescribing oral pharmaceuticals including New Jersey’s State Board of Optometrists. The course is presented by nationally recognized educators and held over the weekend at the College. It includes the six hours of CPR/AED required for the professional rescuer and 24 hours of COPE & CE Broker approved continuing education credits.
SAVE THE DATE: 12th Annual Envision New York October 18th-21st. Over 40 hours of CE credit will be offered at this year’s Envision New York along with CEE/TQ, NJ Orals and LV courses. Also, for the first time ever we will be presenting a Friday night doctor's lecture and exhibitors cocktail reception. Stay tuned for more information soon.
Please visit our website for additional upcoming programs and information.
OCNY Receives Support to Help Those in Need in New York City
The Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the philanthropic arm of the SUNY College of Optometry, recently received a $25,000 grant from the Allene Reuss Memorial Trust in support of the College and the University Eye Center’s efforts to provide eye and vision care to indigent patients throughout New York City.
Meanwhile, the OCNY has also received a series of recent grants to assist in establishing a unique partnership between the College and the Bowery Mission in New York City that will help to provide high-quality eye and vision care for many of the city’s homeless population. A total of $30,000 in grants from The Lydia Collins deForest Charitable Trust, The Chatlos Foundation, the Ethel Kennedy Foundation, the Hyde and Watson Foundation and the Tides Foundation will help to directly build on an existing, volunteer collaboration between faculty and students at the College and the Bowery Mission. This fall, students will begin rotating through the Mission to provide care to hundreds of homeless and transient patients in New York.
Both of these vital initiatives need continuous support in order to provide much-needed care. To make a tax-deductible gift please visit our website.
SUNY Optometry Scholars Honored at Reception
With 40 grants, 47 papers published and a total of $3.1 million of research funding over the past year there was much to celebrate at a reception held in honor of the scholarly activities of faculty at the SUNY College of Optometry on June 17.
“We’ve made great progress in our research,” Dr. David Troilo SUNY Optometry’s vice president and dean for academic affairs told the faculty, administrators, staff and students gathered in the College’s Center for Student Life and Learning overlooking Bryant Park.
Troilo pointed out recent renewal of grants awarded to various SUNY Optometry faculty members, noting that this was indicative of the excellent scholarship being produced at the College. He also recognized the recent $1.6 million five-year research project, supported by funding from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., awarded to SUNY faculty member Dr. Alexandra Benavente-Perez. He also lauded the efforts of the College’s new Clinical Vision Research Center and that work that it has engaged in since opening its doors earlier this year.
SUNY Optometry President David A. Heath reiterated the importance of research and scholarship for the College’s mission.
“Our long term success is tied to the intellectual leadership of our community,” Heath told the gathering before thanking the faculty for its impressive output of work.
During the ceremony the College also honored its recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, Dr. Andrea Yang. A total of 312 faculty members from throughout the 64 campuses of SUNY received the prestigious annual award.
"SUNY employs an exemplary body of faculty and staff across the state and the annual presentation of these awards underscores our deep appreciation for those who serve SUNY campuses, students, and communities with the highest levels of distinction,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher in a statement. “Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees.”
In addition, PhD student Reza Lashgari, working under the direction of his faculty advisor Dr. Jose-Manuel Alonso, received the Dr. Dean Yager Memorial Award. The award has been given annually since 2009 to the best published research paper by a graduate student.
Dr. Stewart Bloomfield, SUNY Optometry’s associate dean for graduate programs and research, noted that the scholarly output from the College was particularly remarkable given the size of the institution.
In addition, here are some recent scholarly activites by SUNY faculty members:
Joan K. Portello, Mark Rosenfield, and Christina A. Chu, “Blink Rate, Incomplete Blinks and Computer Vision Syndrome,” Optometry and Vision Science, Volume 90, Number 5, May 2013
Laura J. Monahan, Gregory S. Calip, Patricia M. Novo, Mark Sherstinsky, Mildred Casiano, Eduardo Mota, Inês Dourado “Impact of the Family Health Program on gastroenteritis in children in Bahia, Northeast Brazil: An analysis of primary care-sensitive conditions,” Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health (peer reviewed and accepted, the article will appear in a future issue)
Drs. Qasim Zaidi and Ben Backus gave presentations at Vision Sciences Society conference in Naples, FL in May.
Dr. Backus also presented on June 19 at the Child Vision Research Society biennial meeting in Waterloo, Canada.
Find out about the ongoing research studies at SUNY's Clinical Vision Research Center by clicking here
SUNY Optometry Honors Dr. Jia Qu, Celebrates Student Achievement at 39th Commencement
On Sunday, June 2 the SUNY College of Optometry conducted its 39th commencement exercises at the historic Hudson Theatre in midtown Manhattan. Seventy-five graduates from the Class of 2013 received their OD degrees, dual OD/MS degrees or PhD degrees during the afternoon event.
SUNY Optometry president, Dr. David A. Heath told the graduates that they had met the challenge of a vigorous education and thanked faculty, family and other members of the College community for helping the Class of 2013 succeed.
An honorary Doctor of Science degree was awarded by SUNY at the ceremony to Dr. Jia Qu, professor and president of the Wenzhou Medical University (WMU) in Wenzhou, China. During his remarks after accepting his degree Dr. Qu, who has led WMU for the past quarter century, noted the significant progress that optometry has made in China in recent years, a development that he attributed, in part, to the cooperation between institutions like WMU and SUNY Optometry. In 2008 the College established the Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation at WMU and has maintained a strong relationship with the institution in recent years.
The commencement address was given by Dr. Melvin Shipp, dean of The Ohio State University College of Optometry. Dr. Shipp, who in 2011 became the first optometrist to lead the American Public Health Association, the world’s oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals, reminded the graduates about the debt that they owe—to family, loved ones, peers and others—for their success and urged the new doctors to continuously work to pay this debt back through their actions.
“Your new status brings with it the responsibility for not only protecting the health and welfare of others, but also enabling those less fortunate than yourself,” Dr. Shipp told the graduates. “Involve yourself in organizations that promote and advance your profession, but also, and perhaps more importantly, the less fortunate in your community.”
During the commencement ceremony Dr. Susan Fisher, president of the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA), awarded Dr. Frank Pirozzolo the NYSOA’s “Optometrists of the Year” award and his son, Dr. Raymond Pirozzolo the NYSOA’s “Young Optometrist of the Year” award. In addition, SUNY alumna Dr. Julia Appel, president of SUNY Optometry’s Alumni Association, announced that 1989 graduate Dr. Jillia E. Bird has been awarded the honor of “Alumna of the Year” which will be presented to Dr. Bird during the College’s Envision New York weekend in October.
During the beginning of the hour-long ceremony, the “Star Spangled Banner” was performed by SUNY student Raha Fahimi. Following a welcome from President Heath, Tammy Thuy Dang, the president of the Class of 2013, offered greetings from the graduating class as well as words of encouragement and thanks to her peers and to those in attendance.
At a separate ceremony at the College that morning a series of awards were given to various members of the Class of 2013, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellent which was awarded to both Antonio Chirumbolo and Irene A. Tran. Additional academic and clinical awards, service awards and professional distinction awards were also handed out during the ceremony which was followed by a pre-commencement brunch at the College’s newly completed Center for Student Life and Learning.
To view a complete listing of the awards please click here.
SUNY Awarded ASCO Optometric Education Diversity Mini-Grant for IDEA Initiative
The SUNY Office of Student Affairs has been awarded an Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry Mini-Grant as part of ASCO's Diversity and Cultural Competency Committee initiative. Dr. Guilherme Albieri, Director of Admissions and Marketing, will manage the $4,200 grant which will be used to support SUNY's IDEA Initiative. This initiative is designed to help the College expose traditionally underrepresented minority and socioeconomic disadvantaged undergraduate students to the profession of optometry and provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to become competitive applicants to the College.
The goal of the Optometric Education Diversity Mini-Grant Program, which is in its ninth year, is to develop and implement activities and programs that are designed to recruit and/or retain underrepresented minority students, as well as financially disadvantaged students and first-generation college students. Some of the programs it funds include summer "bridge programs" for undergraduate students, mentoring and guidance programs for first-year optometry students and partnerships with organizations, high schools, community colleges and undergraduate programs to promote optometry as a career among underrepresented groups. Funding is provided by The Vision Care Institute, LLC, Luxottica Retail, and Alcon.
SUNY Resident Recipient of 2013 Douglas W. Hopkins Residency Award
SUNY Primary Care resident Dr. Gloria Chow has been chosen by a committee of primary care optometrists and the American Optometric Foundation (AOF) as the 2013 recipeint for the Douglas W. Hopkins Primary Care Residency Award. The award is designed to promote the practice and development of the field of primary care optometry by providing incentives and support to talented optometric residents who demonstrate a passion and commitment to practice, research, and education in primary care.
Among the 16 applicants to the program, Dr. Chow, a 2012 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, School of Optometry, had extensive experience in clinical, research, leadership and extracurricular activities. She also expanded her residency experience by initiating and coordinating a weekly resident seminar talk session given by members of SUNY's gifted clinical faculty. Dr. Chow will receive a $2,000 award and a $750 travel fellowship to attend the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) 2013 Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington this October.
"Dr. Chow has been an excellent role model for the beginning practitioners that she is a preceptor for within the Primary Eye Care Clinic," said Dr. Susan Schuettenberg, SUNY's primary care residency supervisor.
Dr. Douglas W. Hopkins who was an optometrist and a leader within the Primary Care Section and the AAO, passed away in 2007. His friends and colleagues established the Douglas W. Hopkins Primary Care Fellowship Fund in his honor. Over $80,000 has been donated to facilitate the award, including $40,000 from his widow, Roberta.
The AOF is a 501(c) (3) philanthropic organization that is dedicated to the advancement of optometric education and research. The AOF develops and provides financial support for optometric research and education in vision and eye health and is an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO).
White Coat Ceremony Ushers OD Students into Clinical Education
For the third year in a row the SUNY College of Optometry conducted a “white coat” ceremony for its incoming third year OD class in recognition of the transition that students traditionally make between their classroom and clinical studies. The event marked both “a point of celebration and also a point of responsibility,” according to SUNY Optometry’s president Dr. David A. Heath.
Dr. Richard Soden, the executive director of the University Eye Center, congratulated the students and welcomed them to this new phase of their education toward becoming optometrists. He was also quick to point out that they were beginning their clinical activities at one of the most distinctive moments in the history of health care in the United States with the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. “The health care system will look remarkably different,” Soden told the gathering of 76 students from the Class of 2015 (pictured above), along with many of their family members and friends as well as SUNY faculty, staff and others.
The white coat ceremony is a relatively recent phenomenon at professional health schools and colleges across the United States and around the world. Soden noted that the first white coat ceremony took place at Columbia University’s medical school in 1993 but it is a tradition that his quickly spread across the various health professions. SUNY’s ceremony was sponsored by both Allergan and Essilor, as well as by the Optometric Center of New York and the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA). The NYSOA’s immediate past president, SUNY alum Dr. Denise Whittam, also addressed the students during the ceremony, telling them that they should be proud of their accomplishments and that the time had come for many of them to recognize the value and importance of advocacy groups like the NYSOA in a “legislated profession” like optometry.
Dr. David Troilo, SUNY’s vice president and dean of academic affairs, noted that the student’s passage across the threshold into patient care is accompanied by great responsibilities and expectations. While Dr. Richard Madonna, SUNY’s chairman of clinical education, told the students that with these new expectations comes the need to be “proactive and responsible for your own education.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Jeffry Philpott, SUNY’s vice president for academic affairs, reminded the students that during their first two years at the College they had built strong relationships across the SUNY community that will only continue to grow during the remaining years of their education and beyond.
The ceremony, which took place on Friday, May 17 and lasted about an hour, was followed by a reception for the students and attendees in the College’s new Center for Student Life and Learning.
SUNY Presentations at ARVO 2013 Annual Meeting
Here is a complete list of the posters and presentations by SUNY Optometry faculty and students at ARVO 2013 (SUNY presenters are in bold):
Sherry J. Bass; Anna Wong; Jerome Sherman. (2013) The Dissociation Between the Ganglion Cell Analysis/Ganglion Cell Complex and Peripapillary Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness in Hereditary Retinal Disease. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Alexandra Benavente-Perez; Ann Nour; Luying Yan; Keisha Roden; Kathleen Abarr; David Troilo. Daily interruptions to hyperopic defocus can reduce induced eye growth in marmosets (2013). The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Ava K. Bittner; Jeff Gould; Collin Rozanski; Andy Rosenfarb; Marius R. DeJong; Alexandra Benavente-Perez; Gislin Dagnelie. (2013) Visual Function Improvements following Electroacupuncture for Retinitis Pigmentosa. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Stewart A. Bloomfield; Tamas Atlasz; Bela Volgyi; Abram Akopian (2013) Secondary Cell Death of Amacrine Cells Under Excitotoxic and Ischemic Conditions is Mediated by Gap Junctions Formed with Neighboring Ganglion Cells. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Kenneth J. Ciuffreda; Preethi Thiagarajan (2013).Effect of oculomotor rehabilitation on vergence responsivity in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI.). The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA.
Jennifer Gould; Kenneth J. Ciuffreda; Naveen K. Yadav; Preethi Thiagarajan (2013). Effect of Retinal Defocus on Simple Eye-Foot Reaction Time in Traumatic Brain Injury. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA.
Dorothy Hitchmoth; Jerome Sherman (2013). New Potential Biomarker of Neurofibromatosis Type I, discovered with Multi-Spectral Imaging (MSI) of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) and Choroid. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA.
Jae-do Kim; Kenneth J. Ciuffreda (2013) Effective amblyopia treatment using near adds spectacle lenses alone. . The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Yuanbo Liang; Zhong Lin; Balamurali Vasudevan; Vishal Jhanji; Tieying Gao; Ningli Wang; Kenneth J. Ciuffreda . (2013) Outdoor activity exhibit protective effect for myopia in children having a moderate near workload. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Diana P. Ludlam; Naveen K. Yadav; Kenneth J. Ciuffreda (2013) Effect of Simulated Octant Visual Field Defects on the Visual-Evoked Potential (VEP). . The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Sarah MacIver; Jerome Sherman; Natalie Hutchings. (2013) Clinical Utility of Thresholding Segmentation in Ultra-Widefield (Optos®) Fundus Autofluorescence Images. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Jennifer M. Martinez; Hong Zhan Wang; Pallavi V. Mhaske; Caterina Sellitto; Miduturu Srinivas; Richard Z. Lin; Thomas W. White. (2013). Gap junctional conductance produced by Cx50, but not Cx46, is regulated by the PI3K signaling pathway in the lens. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Shira Radner; Robert Ennis; Barry Lee; Mitchell W. Dul; Qasim Zaidi (2013). Adaptation abnormalities in Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Peter S. Reinach; Jacqueline F. Faustino; Monica Alves; Danilo Ribeiro; Jayter S. Paula; Eduardo M. Rocha. (2013) Clinical Correlations Among Dry Eye Tests, Physical And Metabolic Findings In Diabetes Mellitus Patients. . The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Jerome Sherman; Daniel Epshtein; Sanjeev Nath; Samantha Slotnick (2013). SD OCT Analysis of Retinal Zones Identified as Abnormal with Ultra-Widefield Autofluorescence. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Samantha Slotnick; Daniel Epshtein; Catherine Awad; Sanjeev Nath; Jerome Sherman (2013) iVue® iWellnessExam™ Retains Highs Sensitivity & Specificity Among Novice Reviewers. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA.
Preethi Thiagarajan; Kenneth J. Ciuffreda; Diana P. Ludlam; Neera Kapoor; Jose E. Capo-Aponte (2013) Effect of oculomotor rehabilitation on basic versional eye movements and reading in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA.
David Troilo; Li Qin Jiang; Alexandra Benavente-Perez; Xiangtian Zhou; Fan Lu; Jia Qu. (2013). Eye shape and peripheral refraction as predictors of myopia progression in a population of Chinese children. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Kevin T. Willeford; Naveen K. Yadav; Kenneth J. Ciuffreda (2013).Effect of Test Duration on the Visual-Evoked Potential (VEP) and Alpha Wave Responses. . The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Naveen K. Yadav; Kenneth J. Ciuffreda (2013) Optimization of Check Size and Contrast on the Visual-Evoked Potential (VEP) in Visually-Normal Individuals. . The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
Linxi Zhao; Mitchell W. Dul; Jose M. Alonso; Stanley J. Komban; Qasim Zaidi Darks are detected faster and more accurately than lights in normal subjects and patients with moderate glaucoma. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA, USA
UEC Partners with InfantSEE to Promote Pediatric Vision Care
For much of the last decade InfantSEE, a public health program managed by Optometry Cares, the philanthropic arm of the American Optometric Association (AOA), has determinedly worked to help make eye and vision care an essential part of infant wellness. Through the program, participating optometrists provide a no-cost, comprehensive assessment to any infant between 6 and 12 months. According to Dr. Ida Chung, chief of the pediatric unit at the University Eye Center (UEC) and one of the organizers of a series of events at SUNY on April 26 designed to promote the program, the UEC has been a strong partner in the InfantSEE program since its inception in 2005. More broadly, Dr. Richard Soden, executive director of the UEC, estimates that the clinic has examined up to one million children during its more-than-four-decades of service to the community. Pediatric services are indeed a major component of the care that is regularly provided at the UEC today.
These two unique events, conducted as part of a four-year, Allergan Foundation-supported campaign to promote InfantSEE at the nation’s schools and colleges of optometry, were organized by members of the SUNY community in conjunction with InfantSEE and the AOA and held at the College’s Schwarz Theatre. A morning panel discussion, which was open to the public and attended by various health care providers, parents and caregivers from throughout the New York City region, focused on the importance of vision and vision-related issues during an infant’s development. InfantSEE founder Dr. Glen Steele, a professor of pediatric optometry at the Southern College of Optometry, began the discussion by highlighting the results of the program to date.
“InfantSEE is about changing lives,” Dr. Steele said, noting that in recent years the program has helped to reveal the startling fact that about one in six infants—and one in four minority infants—show signs of having some sort of eye-related issue.
Many of these issues, however, are able to be successfully treated while the child is still very young. Tim Angerame, a father of triplets from New Jersey who also participated on the panel, discussed how two of his three children had early eye issues that were diagnosed through InfantSEE assessments and ultimately treated by Dr. Andrea Thau, a fellow panelists and an associate professor at SUNY who also runs a successful midtown Manhattan practice. Dr. Thau is a passionate supporter of the program and of pediatric vision care in general.
Dr. Chung provided pediatric-related statistics from the UEC to help better illustrate the kinds of issues that the clinic has been diagnosing and treating in children in recent years. And Dr. Jennifer Cross, a pediatrician from New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, also participated on the panel and reinforced the notion that optometrists—along with pediatricians, dentists and other health care professionals—are integral members of the team of care givers that all children should have as they grow.
Rounding out the panelists was actor, singer, entertainer and author Tom Sullivan, a tireless supporter of the InfantSEE program who has been traveling with Dr. Steele to help promote the program, particularly to students at the schools and colleges of optometry across the United States. In the afternoon of April 26 Sullivan performed his unique program of songs and inspirational and often humorous recollections of his childhood growing up visually impaired.
SUNY Alum Receives International Optometrist of the Year Award
SUNY Optometry graduate, Dr. Jullia Bird (Class '89) of Antigua, W.I., is the recipient of the World Council of Optometry's (WCO) International Optometrist of the Year award. The ceremony to present the award was held April 21, 2013 in Malaga, Spain. Extremely active in the Caribbean's glaucoma awareness movement, Dr. Bird was also named president of the World Glaucoma Patient Association earlier this year. She is also a board member of The Glaucoma Foundation in New York and Caribbean Coordinator for the World Glaucoma Week Committee. Upon graduating from SUNY, Dr. Bird spent two years working with SUNY Stony Brook and later at Barbados Eye Studies in Bridgetown, Barbados before starting a private practice in Antigua.
“In 2007, Jillia founded the Antigua and Barbuda Glaucoma Support Group, a thriving patient support and advocacy group," said Nigel St. Rose in his nomination for Dr. Bird. "The group successfully lobbied Antigua’s government to recognize the public health threat that glaucoma poses to its predominantly African-origin population," he continued. "
“I am deeply humbled to be chosen by the WCO for this prestigious award," Dr. Bird said at the ceremony. "Sight is by far our most precious sense. Each of us holds the potential to raise the world's awareness of avoidable blindness, and in doing so, reduce the current unacceptable global blindness burden.”
In early April 2013, SUNY vision scientist Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda was the Behavioral Scholar-In-Residence at the New England College of Optometry's (NECO) annual program. Dr. Ciuffreda lectured to the first, second and third year professional classes and provided CE on optometric vision care in Mild Tramatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and oculomotor rehabilitation in mTBI. In addition, he participated in a panel discussion about concussions with fellow optometrists and neuropsychologists.
Dr. Ciuffreda received a plaque from NECO honoring his decades of work in vision therapy/neuro-vision rehabilitation in mTBI and related conditions. This coincided with the 40th anniversery of his graduation from the Massachusetts College of Optometry, now NECO.
In late April, Dr. Ciuffreda was the keynote speaker at the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association's annual meeting in San Diego. He spoke on his research in mTBI, including oculomotor aspects, visual-evoked responses and a model of optometric vision care in mTBI. He also received the"Advancement of Science Awarad" for his work in vision-related aspects of mTBI and lectured on how to write clinical research papers.
Later this month, Dr. Ciuffreda will have eight poster presentations on a range of topics, including amblyopia, myopia and mTBI. His collaborators are from the United States, China and South Korea.
SUNY Optometry Completes VisionWalk
SUNY Optometry participated in the Foundation Fighting Blindness' fundraiser VisionWalk on Saturday, April 20, 2013. It was the largest and most successful New York City VisionWalk in its seven year history. Foundation Fighting Blindness is dedicated to funding research that will lead to the prevention, treatment and cure of hereditary retinal degenerative diseases.
SUNY's team consisted of over 200 students, faculty, staff and family members--about one-third of the total number of participants at the event. The team raised nearly $9,000, one of the top fundraisers on the day, and took home the highly coveted award for "most team spirit."
The VisionWalk Student Committee worked very hard to make this year's VisionWalk such a great success and they wish to thank Chelsea Stewart, Maegan Sauer, Jenna Blechman, Lisa Lappan and Jen Gould.
SUNY Optometry looks forward to next year where it expects to field yet another record-breaking team!
We Share the Same Vision
Today, we ask you to share that spirit and help us care for people in our community who need your support...the homebound elderly, the working poor, glaucoma patients or students in financial need.
Your gift to the Optometric Center of New York, the philanthropic arm of the College, will touch someone's life in a meaningful way. You can make your tax deductible gift online.
Thank you in advance for your generosity and support of The Vision & The Promise: The Campaign for SUNY College of Optometry.
CPE Holds Oral Pharmaceuticals Day at the College
On January 27, the Office of Continuing Professional Education (OCPE) held Oral Pharmaceuticals Day at the College. Over 150 attendees were at the program which focused on oral pharmaceuticals in eye care. A Glaucoma Symposium was held at the LaGuardia Marriott Hotel on February 10. New topics in the diagnosis, therapy and management of glaucoma were emphasized and there were over 100 attendees. March 7 & 8, the OCPE, in conjunction with the Office of Residency Education, sponsored the annual Residents' Day Program. 14 hours of continuing education credits were provided to over 300 attendees.
Upcoming CE programs include: Breakfast & Learn on Sunday, May 5 at the College. Dr. Leon Nehmad and Dr. Andre Stanberry will give a presentation on "Utilization of Imaging and fields in Glaucoma." Four hours of CPE credit will be offered. On Sunday, May 18 through Monday, May 20th,the OCPE, in conjunction with Optometry Board Certified, will hold "Essentials in Eye Care: Comprehensive Board Certification Preparation Program." Twenty hours of COPE-approved CE credit will be offered over a period of two and a half days at the College. This program includes online and video access to all course materials, in addition to the on-site education. For further information, please visit the OPCE website (http://www.sunyopt.edu/education/academics/continuing_professional_education) for further information and registration details.
April FY Eye - Recent Scholarly Publications
Chang, A, Cohen, A.H., Kapoor, N "Top-down visual framework for Optometric Vision Therapy for those with Tramatic Brain Injury, Optometry and Visual Performance: Vol. 1, Issue 2
DeVivo, A.J, Scheid, T "Anti-inflammatories in Ocular Allergy Treatment," Review of Optometry: February 15, 2013
SUNY Set to Host Event to Promote Pediatric Vision Health
College Announces Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient for 2013 Commencement
SUNY College of Optometry has announced that Dr. Melvin Shipp (pictured at left) will be the speaker for the 2013 commencement this June. Dr. Shipp has been the dean of The Ohio State University College of Optometry since 2004. In 2011, he was named president of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the first optometrist to lead the world’s oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals. Prior to his arrival to OSU, Dr. Shipp was a member of the faculty and the assistant dean for clinical services and director of clinics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UABSO). Dr. Shipp has served as a consultant, panelist and reviewer for several federal institutions notably: the Food and Drug Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, and National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Shipp served on the NEI National Advisory Eye Council and was a member of the NEI Planning Committee for the National Eye Health Education Project (NEHEP). Dr. Shipp is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and a Diplomate and former Chair of the Public Health and Environmental Optometry Section. Dr. Shipp’s research interests include: the evaluation of the impact of vision related public policy and traffic safety, the reduction of racial and ethnic eye and vision health disparities, and relationships between blood homocysteine levels and premature presbyopia. Dr. Shipp received the Doctor of Optometry (OD) from Indiana University, the Master of Public Health (MPH) from Harvard University, and the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) from the University of Michigan. Dr. Shipp is only the second optometrist to receive the DrPH degree; he is the first to do so through the highly competitive Pew Health Policy Doctoral Fellowship Program at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Jia Qu (pictured at left), Professor and President of the Wenzhou Medical College (WMC) in Wenzhou, China, will received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science at June's commencement. Dr. Qu has been an intellectual leader in vision research and a visionary in the development of eye care services in China. Dr. Qu’s work, while wide ranging, has focused on myopia development and the genetic basis of ocular diseases including Leber’s Optic Neuropathy and Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Dr. Qu was recognized in 2005 by Zhejiang Province receiving its most “Outstanding Scientist Award”.
Under Dr. Qu's leadership over the past twenty-five years, WMC has emerged as an intellectual leader nationally and internationally in optometry and ophthalmology. The WMC program has multiple international partners in both the research and education realms and it has been recognized broadly in China not only for its scientific contributions, but also for its innovative efforts to enhance the quality of eye care in China. Dr. Qu currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Chinese Society of Ophthalmology.
Grants Will Help SUNY Provide Care to New York City’s Homeless Through Unique Partnership
The SUNY College of Optometry is looking to establish a unique partnership with the Bowery Mission in New York City to provide regular vision care for members of the city’s homeless population and two new grants will assist in helping to get the project off the ground.
The Lydia Collins deForest Charitable Trust and The Chatlos Foundation have both provided valuable funding recently to the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY)--the philanthropic arm of the College--which is hoping to gain more support to help build on an existing, volunteer collaboration between faculty and students at the College and the Bowery Mission. Currently student volunteers from the College, coordinated through the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists and supported by an organization called Hope for New York, make regular trips to the Bowery Mission in lower Manhattan on a volunteer basis to provide eye exams and other services, including dispensing eyeglasses free of charge to people who are served by the Mission. These vital services often help many people fulfill their personal goals, often enabling them—thanks to improved eyesight—to peruse job training or computer classes that will put them onto a path toward recovery and steady, gainful employment. In addition, some patients at the Mission are found to suffer from a variety of sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. Once the team detects these diseases, the patient is usually able to obtain appropriate treatment for their condition.
The OCNY has been actively seeking support to help the volunteer project grow into a regular, College-sanctioned program, as well as to provide equipment and other assistance.
The Lydia Collins deForest Charitable Trust was established in 2002 and generally supports projects in New Jersey although, because of the merits of the Bowery Mission project, they made an exception and decided to offer their support.
The Chatlos Foundation was established by builder and philanthropist William F. Chatlos and since its founding in 1953, has awarded over $100 million in grants to nearly 7,000 non-profit organizations around the world.
Since its founding in 1956, the OCNY has had an ongoing commitment to the New York community and to the community-at-large. The foundation has stood as a shining example of what cooperation among visionary community leaders in education, business and philanthropy can accomplish. The OCNY’s enduring mission is to sponsor and support professional scholarships and fellowships, vision science research and vision care for those who cannot afford it.
Doing Our Part to Care for Our Community
On March 21 the University Eye Center (UEC) held a glaucoma screening and a patient educational session, free of charge, for anyone in the community. A large group of New Yorkers took advantage of the opportunity to be examined by UEC doctors and interns and to learn more about this damaging, yet often undiagnosed, disease through a presentation by Dr. Andre Stanberry.
This was just one of the dozens of screenings and educational programs, both within the clinic and throughout the community, that the UEC hosts each year as part of its ongoing commitment to providing care and education to as many people as possible.
"The University Eye Center has had a long-standing dedication to serving the people in our community,” said the UEC’s chief operating officer Liduvina Martinez-Gonzalez. “Our vision screenings and other educational programs demonstrate our strong desire to increase public health awareness about the importance of proper eye care and how the UEC can serve as a resource for their eye and vision care needs.”
In addition to vision screenings, the UEC provides a variety of support groups, including those for people with low vision or individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. There are also support groups that are designed to serve family members of people with low vision or who have sustained brain injuries as well. Educational talks and discussions are also offered on subjects as wide-ranging as learning disabilities, sports vision and pediatric vision health, all done in an effort to educate the community about vision and vision-related health issues--part of the core mission of the institution.
“In addition to being a vital health care facility for the community, we’re also a teaching facility,” said Dr. Richard Soden, the UEC’s executive director. “And we take that commitment to education very seriously. Not only do we want to educate our students and residents but we also want to educate our patients and our community.”
SUNY Optometry In the News: Setting the Stage for Optical Industry Honors
VisionMonday covers OCNY's 2013 "Eyes on New York Gala"
The College Celebrates Opening of the Center for Student Life and Learning
A large crowd was on hand as the SUNY College of Optometry celebrated an historic milestone in its 42-year history on March 14. After more than five years of planning and design—and two years of construction—the three-floor, 20,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Center for Student Life and Learning officially opened its doors ushering in a new era for students, faculty and staff at the College and the community that it serves.
With SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees H. Carl McCall in attendance, SUNY Optometry’s President David A. Heath welcomed the assembled crowd on the third floor, with its vistas of a sun-drenched Bryant Park and Empire State Building, to what he called “a symbol of the SUNY College of Optometry’s commitment to professional excellence and the long-term success of our students."
The Center, which has a sleek, contemporary design, includes a large pre-clinical procedures lab (pictured at left) on the second floor that is designed to prepare students for the latest technological advances in optometry. Each station in the lab contains a fully automated refracting lane as well as instruments that produce digital images of both the front and back of the eye that can be viewed either in real-time at the exam station or stored for later use. In addition to the lab, the Center contains classroom and study space, as well as a large seminar room and lounges (pictured at right) on the second floor. The Center also includes a major new event and recreation space on the third floor as well as a fitness center on the mezzanine above the third floor.
Chancellor Zimpher noted that the Center creates a “vibrant community” that will not only serve the College well but that also aligns itself perfectly with the “Power of SUNY,” the university system’s strategic plan. Chairman McCall also recognized that the Center will help the College’s doctors and students continue to serve the people of New York as they have for more than four decades.
As part of the event, entrepreneur, philanthropist and artist Gordon Gund unveiled “Dance,” a bronze sculpture that he created and donated for permanent display at the Center. Gund, who is visually impaired, told the gathering that he was proud to have one of his creations housed at the Center, calling it “a great environment for learning and sharing” that will continue to nurture the development of important and vital work related to eye and vision health for generations to come.
Optometric Center of New York Has its Most Successful ‘Eyes on New York’ Gala
That is how Dr. David A. Heath, president of the SUNY College of Optometry, described the 10th Annual ‘Eyes on New York’ gala on March 15 at Cipriani 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan. It was the largest gathering that the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY), the philanthropic arm of the College, has ever had in its decade-long history of doing the marquee fundraiser.
This year’s honorees, John Carrier, president and CEO of Essilor of America, and Jim Murphy, vice president and general manager of US Vision Care at Alcon Laboratories, elicited a particularly strong presence from the ophthalmic community which had descended on New York for the annual Vision Expo East, an international meeting and exposition.
The camaraderie was particularly evident during the gracious, yet humorous, introductions of each honoree by each event co-chair. When Marc Ferrara, CEO of the Information Services Division of Jobson introduced John Carrier, Ferrara noted Carrier’s love of the outdoors and an active lifestyle, he then joked that he must have a body-double who actually spends time at the Dallas headquarters of Essilor given his ability to accomplish so much in both his career and with his family. Meanwhile, co-chair David Plogmann, senior vice president at Luxottica Retail, offered teasing remarks about what a revelation it was for honoree Jim Murphy to get his first contact lens in high school. The playful banter had the gathered crowd chuckling but there was clearly a deep respect for both of these distinguished professionals.
Both honorees focused their remarks on the ophthalmic industry’s ultimately altruistic purpose. “We have so much more opportunity to help people,” Carrier said during his acceptance speech, noting that everyone in the room that evening plays some unique role to help achieve that goal.
Referring to a six-minute video—produced by OCNY and shown at the gala—highlighting some of the ways in which OCNY, SUNY College of Optometry and its University Eye Center (UEC) help the community, Jim Murphy said that “the video really speaks to why we are all here.”
Richard Feinbloom, the president of OCNY, offered his gratitude to his fellow trustees as well as members of the greater ophthalmic community. In addition, he thanked the faculty, staff and doctors at the College and the UEC for their work in educating vision health professionals and caring for the community.
Check out some of the photos from the night below:
SUNY Optometry To Participate in VisionWalk
Vision Walk 2013 will be held Saturday, April 20, in Central Park at 9 AM. The organizers of the SUNY Optometry team are looking to set a record for the largest team ever in VisionWalk's history. More than 288 people are needed to achieve this feat. Anyone interested in participating can click here to sign up and purchase a student-designed T-shirt to walk with the team.
If you have any questions, contact Dr. Susan P. Schuettenberg, Associate Clinical Professor at 212-938-4161.
FY Eye Newsletter
Check out FY Eye, the official newsletter of the SUNY College of Optometry:
A Visitor to New York City Finds Relief at the UEC
Dawn K. was visiting New York City for the weekend from the Midwest last January when she started to feel as if she’d gotten something in her eye. The sensation and irritation continued to get worse as the night wore on.
“I cannot tell you how many times I got up during the night trying to flush my eye out,” she said. “I woke up the next morning with my eye swollen, red and in pain.”
Dawn and the concierge at her Times Square hotel went to work that Saturday morning trying to find an eye doctor with an available appointment. At the height of flu season, Dawn was hesitant to go to the hospital emergency room and wait for hours. She was hoping to see a specialist.
“Then I remembered that when I was walking around the area I had seen the SUNY College of Optometry,” she said. “I called and they said that the clinic was open but fully booked.”
But when Dawn explained to the University Eye Center (UEC) employee on the other end of the phone that she was from out of town and was at a loss as to where to go or what to do about her worsening condition, the UEC was able to be accommodated with an appointment an hour later.
Dawn, like all patients at the UEC, was given the highest level of care. After receiving a thorough exam by one of the doctors she was diagnosed and received a prescription for her condition. She was even directed to the nearest pharmacy only a couple of blocks away. The UEC doctor also took the time to write a letter to Dawn’s own optometrists back home to explain her diagnosis and the treatment plan that was prescribed.
“The help, patience and consideration I was shown [at the UEC] must be commended,” Dawn said after she returned home from her trip to New York grateful for the prompt and professional care she received at the UEC.
SUNY Professor Receives Support for Major Research Project
Alexandra Benavente-Perez, MCOptom, PhD is conducting a $1.6 million five-year research project, supported by funding from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. (JJVCI) to do experimental research on contact lens designs for myopia control. Dr. Benavente is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the College and an investigator in the Clinical Vision Research Center.
“We are very excited to be collaborating with SUNY on this project” said Dr Noel Brennan, Emerging Technologies Platform Lead for Myopia Control at JJVCI. “This research group is held in the highest esteem and we look forward to seeing this research contribute to our history of groundbreaking new products”.
SUNY's Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, David Troilo, who will oversee and consult on the project, adds, “SUNY Optometry is pleased to be partnering with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care on this important project. We are happy to be a part of JJVCI's concerted efforts to reduce myopia and control its progression around the world.”
SUNY Alum Named Dean of the Michigan College of Optometry
Dr. David Damari, (SUNY class of 1988), was recently been appointed dean of the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University (MCO), effective on March 28. Damari had previously served as chair of the Department of Assessment and professor at Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in Memphis, TN. Since 1995, he has been a national consultant on visual disabilities. He is the former chair of the Department of Optometry at SCO where he received the President’s Special Recognition Award.
Prior to joining SCO, Damari worked in private practice in New York and served as an Assistant Clinical Professor at SUNY. He also completed a residency at SUNY in 1989.
“Dr.Damari has passion for the profession of optometry and a keen awareness of the changes that will occur in heathcare and healthcare education over the next few decades,” said Fritz Erickson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at MCO.
To see the latest issue of FocalPoint, the SUNY Optometry Alumni Association newsletter, click here
March FY EYE - Recent Scholarly Publications
Bevacizumab “Loaded Polyurethane Subconjunctival Implants: Effects on Experimental Glaucoma Filtration Surgery,” J Ocul Pharmacol Ther: 2013 Feb 7.
Richdale K, Bailey MD, Sinnott LT, Kao CY, Zadnik K, Bullimore MA. “The Effect of Phenylephrine on the Ciliary Muscle and Accommodation,” Optometry and Vision Science: 89(10)1507-1511.
Richdale K, Sinnott, LT, Bullimore MA, Wassenaar PA, Schmalbrock P, Kao CY, Patz S, Mutti D, Glasser A, Zadnik K. “Quantification of Age-Related and per Diopter Accommodative Changes of the Lens and Ciliary Muscle in the Emmetropic Human Eye,” Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science: 54(2)1095-1105.
Rocha EM, Paula JS, Reinach PS. “Punctal occlusion in Sjögren's syndrome needs clarification,” Nature Reviews Rheumatology: 2012 Dec, 8(12):752.
Yang Y, Yang H, Wang Z, Okada Y, Saika S, Reinach PS. “Dependence of corneal epithelial homeostasis on transient receptor potential function,” The Ocular Surface: 2013 Jan: 11(1):8-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2012.09.001. Epub 2012 Sep 10.
Yang Y, Yang H, Wang Z, Mergler S, Wolosin JM, Reinach PS."Functional TRPV1 expression in human corneal fibroblasts," Exp Eye Res. 2013Feb, 107:121-9.
Yang Y, Yang H, Wang Z, Varadaraj K, Kumari SS, Mergler S, Okada Y, Saika S, Kingsley PJ, Marnett LJ, Reinach PS, "Cannabinoid receptor 1 suppresses transient receptor potential vanilloid 1-induced inflammatory responses to corneal injury.” Cellular Signalling: 2013 Feb;25(2):501-11. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2012.10.015. Epub 2012 Nov 8.