F Y EYE - The Official Newsletter of SUNY State College of Optometry
SUNY State College of Optometry
Issue 14 January 2009
 M A I N   F E A T U R E
College Council Takes Bold Advocacy Steps
SUNY College of OptometryThe College of Optometry's College Council took action at its January 21st meeting to advocate on behalf of the University in light of the current State budget crisis.  In a letter addressed to Governor Paterson, the College Council said:  "We write to you today, as members of the College Council of the State University of New York (SUNY), College of Optometry to express our grave concern over the cumulative impact of budget cuts on the State University of New York and to add our voice to those calling for the strategic investment in our University as we confront the economic challenges before us."
In its communication, the College Council supports the SUNY Board of Trustees' "four pillars" of 1) A Rational Tuition Policy, 2) Building Public-private Partnership, 3) Management and Operational Reforms and Effectiveness, and 4) Essential State Funding.  The Council's letter laid out specific requests in response to the December 16th Proposed Executive Budget:
  •  "University campuses be allowed to retain 100% of all tuition and fees to be used as intended - for the educational benefit of our students;
  • Elimination of the 10% tithe on the Research Foundation.  These funds were secured by our researchers and are critical to the advancement of our research efforts;
  • Not redirecting more that $40 million in general campus revenues to compensate for State budget shortfalls, as these revenues are already obligated to support of those programs from which they were generated.  Further, if swept, this action would undermine the intent and promise of SUNY flexibility."

In conclusion, the Council wrote:  "To navigate the economic crisis and provide the people of New York State with educational programs in support of their growth and aspirations, we must support the State University of New York with adequate funding, while providing our presidents with the flexibility needed to insure excellence in education and the future of our citizens."

The letter was sent to the Governor after a unanimous vote of support was passed as a motion by the College Council.
President Heath stated, "The College Council has demonstrated leadership and commitment to the College of Optometry and to the entire SUNY system through its action.  I would urge all members of our college community, including students, staff, faculty and alumni, to let their voices be heard during this critical juncture in the history of our University".
How you can advocate on behalf of the State University of New York:
SUNY Advocates is a network of students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends and supporters of the State University of New York (SUNY) committed to building public support for a smart investment in SUNY's 64 campuses.  The SUNY Advocates website, (http://www.sunyadvocates.org/), provides background information and a mechanism for directly contacting your state legislators and urging action in support of SUNY.  
DI D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • As of 31 December 2008, applications to optometry programs are up 9.4% nationally from the prior year.  (ASCO)

  • The University Optometric Center (UOC) had 35,622 patient visits during the first six months of the 2008-09 Fiscal Year.  This reflects an increase of 1,596 (4.7%) patient visits over the same period last year.  The month of December, alone, showed a 13.9% increase.

  • The annual cost of adult vision problems in the United States is estimated at $51.4 billion.  (Prevent Blindness America, 2007)

  • For every state dollar it receives, SUNY generates $8 in economic impact - returning more that $27 billion into New York's economy.
Hugoton Foundation Awards Grant for Vision Therapy Equipment
The Hugoton Foundation awarded the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) a $10,000 grant to provide a Bernell Vision Trainer and a B& H Photo Video Binocular Projector for each of 10 examination rooms in the University Optometric Center's (UOC) Vision Therapy Service which supports an average of 13,000 patient visits annually.  This is a first-time grant from the Foundation.
Vision therapy is a type of customized physical therapy for the eyes and brain, addressing how well a person's two eyes work together as a team.  Supervised by an optometric vision care professional, it is a highly effective treatment for many common visual problems, such as:
  • When used in conjunction with surgery or as an alternative, vision therapy can help patients with strabismus (deviated eyes) and amblyopia (functional "lazy eye");
  • Severe visual stress with binocular (eye-teaming) focusing, or eye movement control can affect concentration and performance at near distances.  Many school-age children avoid reading because of these types of physical problems - which can be treated.
  • As part of a diagnosis of learning disabilities, children may have severe visual perceptual processing lags which can be alleviated with a program of vision therapy that is coordinated with other services (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.).
  • Adults with acquired head trauma, resulting from a head injury or stroke, can have visual symptoms of double vision and visual motor stress which affect their total rehabilitation efforts.  A coordinated vision therapy plan can help speed the progress of these patients.

Following a comprehensive assessment, the optometrist prepares a customized course of eye exercises to address the problems discovered.  Vision therapy helps patients to live independent and productive lives by enabling them to thrive in school and in the community.

The Optometric Center of New York is the allied and endowing foundation of the State University of New York, State College of Optometry and is the primary source of private support for its patient care facility, the University Optometric Center, providing grants for projects such as the Homebound Initiative, indigent Care Project and Scholarship Fund, among others. 


Dr. David Heath is being recognized by the City of Wenzhou, China as the recipient of the "Yandan Award".  Given by the Wenzhou municipal government, this award recognizes professionals from overseas who make significant contributions to the City of Wenzhou.  The award is named for the Yandan Mountain which is the symbol of Wenzhou City.  Congratulations to Dr. Heath on receiving this prestigious award!
Dr. Brian ChoDr. Brian Cho is a part-time member of the faculty of SUNY State College of Optometry.  An alum of SUNY, Dr. Cho graduated with an OD and a MS degree and holds the position of Assistant Clinical Professor in the University Optometric Center, the College's clinic where he provides primary care examinations to the patients.  In addition, he supervises and teaches 3rd and 4th year students.  Dr. Cho has authored and co-authored several papers on vision loss.  After graduating from SUNY, Dr. Cho did a residency in ocular disease at Bascom Palmer in Miami, Florida.  Since completion of his residency in 2004, Dr. Cho has been an attending optometrist, part-time, in the College's Primary Care Service.  When Dr. Cho is not at the College, he works part-time in New Jersey.


Backus, Benjamin T. (January 2009).  "The Mixture of Bernoulli Experts:  A Theory to Quantify Reliance on Cues in Dichotomous Perceptual Decisions".  Journal of Vision, 9(1):6, 1-19.  (http://journalofvision.org/9/1/6).
Hall, Brian R., Oliver, Gary E. & Wilkinson, M. (2009).  "A Presentation of Longstanding toxoplasmosis Chorioretinitis".  Optometry, 80, 23-28.
Troilo, David, Totonelly, K. & Harb, E. (2009).  "Imposed Anisometropia, Accommodation, and Regulation of Refractive State".  Optom. Vision Sci., 86(1), 31-39.
Pres. Heath Swearing in Officer WilsonOfficer Akeema Wilson has joined the staff of University Police.  Officer Wilson began his tour with the College on January 8, 2009 and is assigned to the afternoon shift.  Prior to his appointment here, he was a University Police Officer at SUNY Purchase College for 4 years.  He is also an alum of SUNY Purchase.  Officer Wilson completed his Basic Course for Police Officer recruits at the Westchester County Police Academy.  Let us extend a warm welcome to Officer Akeema Wilson to the SUNY Optometry family! 
Ms. Liza Leon was hired as a Patients Accounts Supervisor for the University Optometric Center.  In addition to previously working for the UOC for four years in the Ocular Disease Service, Ms. Leon worked as an Assistant Retirement Benefits Examiner for NYCERS and, prior to that, at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center as a Calculations Clerk 2.  Join us in congratulating Liza on her new position.
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