Alexandra Benavente-Perez

Dr. Alexandra Benavente-Perez
SUNY College of Optometry
33 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

From experimental studies we know that eyes use visual information to adjust their growth and how they are focused. My main research interest is to understand the visual signals that trigger these eye growth changes that eventually lead to myopia. In particular, I am very interested in studying the role that the peripheral retina and eye shape might have as predictors of future changes in refraction. If the periphery proves to have a significant role in the regulation of eye growth, it may be possible to manipulate peripheral optics to control myopia development, and we might be soon measuring and correcting in our clinics not only the central but also the peripheral optics of the eye.

Another of my research interests is to understand the interaction between ocular size and vascular physiology. The structural characteristics of a myopic eye include an elongated vitreous chamber, which in high myopia is related to a stretched and progressively thinned choroid and sclera. This increases the risk of choroidal and retinal changes, and a variety of other ocular diseases including macular degeneration, choroiditis and glaucoma among others. Because of the known vascular features of many of these conditions associated with pathological myopia, my research also focuses on describing the vascular changes that a non-pathological myopic eye undergoes prior to the development of posterior pole pathologies. This is of significant clinical importance, as degenerative myopia is a leading cause of blindness. In this field, I am an external collaborator with the Vascular Imaging and Research Laboratory at Aston University, Birmingham, UK to study the vascular characteristics of the eyes in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

ABenavente_figure

  • Vision Sciences, Aston University (Birmingham, UK), PhD
  • Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, UMIST (Manchester, UK), MS
  • Optometry and Optics, College of Medicine and Sciences (Valladolid, Spain), BS Optom

  • 2017-present: Associate Clinical Professor, SUNY College of Optometry. New York, NY
  • 2012-2017: Assistant Clinical Professor, SUNY College of Optometry. New York, NY
  • 2010-present: Visiting Professor, Post-Graduate Master in Optometric Management of Ocular Pathology, University of Valencia, Spain
  • 2010-present: Visiting Professor, Post-Graduate Master in Specialty Contact Lenses, University of Valencia, Spain
  • 2009-2012: Post-Doctoral Research Associate, SUNY College of Optometry. New York, NY
  • 2007-2009: Teaching Clinician for UK College of Optometry National Board of Exams, Birmingham, UK
  • 2007-2009: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Aston University. Birmingham, UK (part-time)
  • 2007-2008: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, City University. London, UK (part-time)
  • 2005-2009: Optometrist in private practice, UK
  • 2003-2007: Lab Instructor, Aston University. Birmingham, UK
  • 2000-2002: Optometrist in private practice, Spain

  • 2017: Zeiss Young Scientist Award in Myopia Research/ Josh Wallman Memorial Award. Birmingham, UK
  • 2016: ARVO Leadership Development Program for Women. Seattle, WA, US
  • 2013: Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). Seattle, WA, US
  • 2013: ASCO Faculty Development Summer Program. St. Louis, MO, US
  • 2012: ARVO Sek-Jin Chew Myopia Travel Grant. Fort Lauderdale, FL, US
  • 2012: AAO/AOA Summer Invitational Research Institute. Columbus, OH, US
  • 2009: International Travel Grant, World Glaucoma Congress (WGC). Boston, MA, US
  • 2008: Best Communication and Presentation Award, International Optometric Conference. Madrid, Spain
  • 2007: Travel Grant, UK College of Optometrists. London, UK
  • 2005: Travel Grant, American Academy of Optometry. San Diego, CA, US


Ongoing support
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Incorporated (JJVCI) 12/2012-12/2017
Myopia Development and Novel Contact Lens Designs
To develop contact lenses for myopia control using experimental models of eye growth and development
Role: Principal Investigator

Paracelsus Medical University Rise Project (Austria) 01/2017-06/2018
Ultrastructural Analysis of the Choroid-Sclera Interface
To evaluate the ultrastructural anatomy and physiology of the choroidal-scleral interface
Role: Co-investigator. Falk Schroedl (PI)

Completed support
NEI-R21 EY02372 09/2013-08/2016
Modulating Ocular/Retinal Blood Flow and Visual Function in Retinitis Pigmentosa
To describe ocular blood flow and its relationship with visual function in patients with retinitis pigmentosa
Role: Consultant. Ava Bittner (PI)

Schnurmacher Institute for Vision Research (SIVR) 05/2013-05/2015
Use of a Modified CISS to Assess Symptoms in Patients with Accommodative Dysfunction (multi-centered study)
To evaluate the validity and reliability of a modified CISS (CISS-A+) to detect expressly symptomatic patients with accommodative dysfunction.
Role: Principal Investigator

NIH R01 EY11228 4/1/07-3/31/12
Accommodation and the Development of Refractive Error
To describe the spatial and temporal integration of visual stimuli for the control of eye growth in marmosets
Role: Post-Doctoral Associate. David Troilo (PI)

  • Bittner AK, Seger K, Salveson R, Kayser S, Morrison N, Vargas P, Mendelsohn D, Han J, Bi H, Dagnelie G, Benavente A, Ramella-Roman J (2017) Randomized Controlled Trial of Electro-stimulation Therapies to Modulate Retinal Blood Flow and Visual Function in Retinitis Pigmentosa. Acta Ophthalmologica. In Press, accepted for publication July 2017.
  • Kayser S, Vargas P, Mendelsohn D, Han J, Bi H, Benavente A, Bittner AK (2017) Reduced Central Retinal Artery Blood Flow is Related to Impaired Central Visual Function in Retinitis Pigmentosa Patients. Curr Eye Res. 42(11):1503-1510.
  • Ansel T, Nour A, Benavente-Perez A. The Effect of Anesthesia on Non-Invasive Blood Pressure Measurements in Marmosets and its Validity using the Tail-Cuff Method. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 55(5):594-600.
  • Benavente-Perez A, Nour A, Troilo D. Axial Eye Growth and Refractive Error Development Can Be Modified by Exposing the Peripheral Retina to Relative Myopic or Hyperopic Defocus (2014) Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 55(10):6765-73.
  • Mroczkowska S, Benavente-Perez A, Patel S, Qin L, Bentham P, Gherghel D (2014) Retinal vascular dysfunction relates to cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders 8(4):366-7.
  • Mroczkowska S, Benavente-Perez A, Negi A, Sung V, Patel S, Gherghel D (2013) Primary Open Angle Glaucoma vs Normal Tension Glaucoma: The vascular perspective. JAMA Ophthalmol 131(1):36-43
  • Benavente-Perez A, Nour A, Troilo D (2012) The Effect of Simultaneous Negative and Positive Defocus Imposed by Multizone Soft Contact Lenses on Eye Growth and Development of Refractive State in Marmosets. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 53(10):6479-87.
  • Mroczkowska S, Ekart A, Sung V, Negi A, Qin L, Patel S, Jacobs S, Atkins C, Benavente-Perez A, Gherghel A Coexistence of Macro- and Micro-vascular Abnormalities in Newly Diagnosed Normal Tension Glaucoma Patients. Arch Ophthalmol.
  • Benavente-Perez A, Hosking SL, Logan NS, Bansal D (2010) Reproducibility-Repeatability of Choroidal Thickness Calculation Using OCT. Optom Vis Sci. 87(11):867-72.
  • Benavente-Perez A, Hosking SL, Logan NS, Broadway DC (2010) Ocular Blood Flow Measurements in Healthy Human Myopic Eyes. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 248(11):1587-94.
  • Conway M, Wevil M, Benavente-Perez A, Hosking SL (2010) Ocular Blood Flow Heamodynamics Before and After Application of Laser in Situ Keratomileusis Ring. J Cataract Refract Surg. 36(2):268-272.
  • Benavente-Perez A (2009) El regalo de la vista en Uganda. Gaceta Óptica (órgano oficial del Colegio de Ópticos-Optometristas de España). no 435. pp 62.
  • Bansal D, Benavente-Perez A (2006) Optical Coherence Tomography: Future Possibilities. Optometry Today 1st Dec
  • Benavente-Perez A, Bansal D (2006) Optical Coherence Tomography: Diagnoses of Vitreoretinal Pathologies. Optometry Today 17th Nov
  • Bansal D, Benavente-Perez A (2006) Optical Coherence Tomography: Terminology and Interpretations. Optometry Today 20th Oct
  • Bansal D, Benavente-Perez A (2006) Optical Coherence Tomography: Principles and Possibilities. Optometry Today 6th Oct
  • Benavente-Perez A (2006) Understanding Myopia. Optician 231 (6058) pp: 16-20.
  • Benavente-Perez A, Dixon JA, Tullo A, Hillarby C (2005) La influencia genética en el transplante de córnea. Gaceta Óptica (órgano oficial del Colegio de Ópticos-Optometristas de España). March 2005.pp: 18-21.