November 22, 2019

National Institutes of Health-Funded Research Program to Detect & Cure Vision Defects Has Already Helped Enhance Care for Previously Debilitating Eye Conditions.

NEW YORK, NY (November 22, 2019) – SUNY College of Optometry researchers have advanced a landmark project – funded in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health – to develop more effective treatment methods for vision defects. Researchers concluded the data collection portion of the project in July, following the original project timeline established by the grant, and now will look to build on the Nobel Prize-winning effort that inspired the original work.

SUNY Optometry’s research project started in 2002, and has repeatedly delivered advancements in the understanding of eye care that are already being used to inform the treatment of patients. As a direct result of the work conducted under this grant program and the original work from Drs. Torsten N. Wiesel and David H. Hubel, eye doctors today know that when using eye patches to correct vision defects in children, use of the patches must be done on a rigorous schedule in order to avoid impairing the development of the covered eye. This has led to better outcomes for children suffering from eye problems, including reducing incidences of blindness.

“This project is yet another reminder of our institution’s decades-long commitment to breaking new ground in vision care and treatment, and the work performed under this National Institutes of Health grant has led to significant advancements in the treatment of vision defects, especially in children,” said SUNY Optometry President Dr. David Heath. “This kind of work is foundational to our mission, and we are proud to have helped this incredibly talented team carry out their work and continue breaking new ground in treating and preventing eye disease.”

The project, in its current phase, will focus on analyzing the data collected for approximately one more year before moving to the next stage of investigation, which will have direct clinical applications. The work will continue to help professionals throughout the entire optometric field deliver the highest-quality care to patients and help enhance the education of optometric students and researchers around the world.

The contributing NIH grant has existed for 30 years, generating results that have dramatically improved the abilities of clinicians and medical researchers to develop novel treatments for conditions that used to be severely debilitating. The principal investigator of this grant from 1985 to 1999 was Dr. Wiesel, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for similar work. SUNY Optometry’s research is an extension of that original effort.

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About SUNY Optometry
Founded in 1971 and located in New York City, the State University of New York College of Optometry is a leader in education, research, and patient care, offering the Doctor of Optometry degree as well as MS and PhD degrees in vision science. The College conducts a robust program of basic, translational and clinical research and has 65 affiliated clinical training sites. SUNY Optometry is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; its four-year professional degree program and residency programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association. All classrooms, research facilities and the University Eye Center, which is one of the largest optometric outpatient facilities in the nation, are located on 42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in midtown Manhattan. To learn more about SUNY Optometry, visit