F Y EYE - The Official Newsletter of SUNY State College of Optometry
SUNY State College of Optometry
Issue 17 April 2009
FR O M   T H E   P R E S I D E N T

President's Letter 

As we emerge from the chill of winter, we have the opportunity to recognize our successes and impact.  While the challenges of the recession and now, importantly, the spread of the H1N1 virus, (more familiarly known as the Swine Flu), remain upon us, this issue of FY EYE highlights reasons to celebrate.
The "Eyes on New York Gala" sold out and the OCNY Foundation grossed over $220,000 as we celebrated the professional and personal contributions of this year's honorees, Mr. Joseph Santinelli and Mr. Richard Feinbloom.  The College's annual "Eye Ball" set records for attendance and our faculty's research success is evident as over 30 faculty and students will present at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting in May.  Patient visits to the University Optometric Center are running 4% greater than last year resulting in a projection of more than 74,000 visits.  Research grants are also up, with annual extramural funding expected to exceed $3 million for the first time.
Perhaps most notable is the anticipation of commencement, when we will be able to celebrate the success of our students who begin lives dedicated to the enhancement of vision and the health of their patients.  Possibly, Spring has finally arrived !
David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
 M A I N   F E A T U R E
"EYES ON NEW YORK" GALA Grosses an Estimated $220,000
Mr. Santinelli, Dr. Heath, Mr. FeinbloomThe Optometric Center of New York's (OCNY) annual Eyes On New York Gala, held March 27th at the legendary Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center, grossed an estimated $220,000.  This year's honorees were Mr. Joseph Santinelli, Chairman of Santinelli International, and Mr. Richard Feinbloom, President of Designs for Vision.  More than 300 people attended the Foundation's event which supports such programs as vision care for the homebound elderly and indigent patients as well as scholarships and research.  OCNY is the College's affiliated Foundation.
Santinelli family                Ms. Martinez-Gonzalez, Dr. Troilo, Dr. Pace
F O C A L   P O I N T
The Crystal BallroomThe SUNY College of Optometry's annual, semi-formal, dinner dance, The Eye Ball, was held on March 26 at Tavern on the Green in New York City's Central Park.  This much anticipated event attracted a record attendance.  Nearly 300 students, residents, faculty, staff, administrators and sponsors experienced a celebratory evening of fine cuisine, fellowship and dancing in a setting of twinkling lights and sparkling chandeliers in the famed Crystal Ballroom.
Having a good time!Opening remarks were given by President David Heath and Dr. Edward Johnston, Vice President of Student Affairs.  The Theo Hill Jazz Trio provided suberb entertaining during the cocktail and dinner hours.  As the sumptuous desserts were served, the elegantly-clad attendees took to the dance floor for the rest of the evening.  The event, titled "An Enchanted Evening", proved to be just that.
Theo Hill Jazz Trio
Contributors to the advertising campaign of the event were Alcon, Abbott Medical Optics, Vistakon, NYSOA (New York State Optometric Association), VSP, Essilor, Tri-Supreme Optical, Review of Optometry, Ocular Instruments, Keeler, and Odyssey.  SUNY Optometry supporters included the Alumni Association and the Student Council.  Additional fundraising included a food fair, an auction and raffle.  Annually, the third year class is in charge of organizing the event.  This year's chairperson was Ms. Melanie Tolan, Vice President of the Class of 2010.
Congratulations to Ms. Melanie Tolan and her committee on organizing a first class event!
Time out for pictures             Dr. Rosenfield and students
*(Pictures provided by Yogesh Patel '11)
DI D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • That while only 12% of Americans had a general medical examination in 2006, over 44% had an eye examination.  Optometrists can be a key educational resource for their patients during a public health emergency.  (Data:  U.S. Dept. of Health)

  • The best protections against influenza transmission (including the H1N1-Swine Flu-virus) are frequent hand washing and staying home if sick.  (Centers for Disease Control)

  • Overuse of anti-viral drugs can lead to drug-resistant strains of the virus.  Anti-viral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick.  (NY State Department of Health)

  • The current WHO phase of pandemic alert is 5.   Pandemic Influenza Phase 5, as defined by the World Health Organization, is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short. (World Health Organization)

    WHO Pandemic Flu Categories
    *(World Health Organization)

Dr. Ian P. Howard to Receive Honorary Degree from SUNY 
On Sunday, June 7th, the College will hold its 35th Commencement at the Hudson Theater on West 44th Street.  At the ceremony, Dr. Ian P. Howard will receive the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.  Dr. Howard is Distinguished Research Professor, Emeritus, at York University in Toronto, Canada and is the founder and former Director of York University's Centre for Vision Research.  A career that spans over 50 years, Dr. Howard's research covered the perception of depth from binocular disparity and other visual cues; adaptation to distorted inputs; sensory-motor function and interaction between vision and other senses.  He is responsible for bringing to light many of the historical developments out of which grew our modern understanding of vision.  He described this rich history in his famous work, Vision in Depth, a volume noted for comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the topic.  Dr. Howard's publications expands no less than 27 journals and he continues to publish important findings on visual perception, as well as, training students and postdoctoral fellows at York.
Interim Chancellor John Clark is this Year's Commencement Speaker
Former Chancellor John ClarkIn recognition of his leadership of the SUNY College of Optometry during a period of transition, former Interim Chancellor John Clark has been selected to receive the New York State Optometric Association "Public Service Award".  In addition, Dr. Clark will be the commencement speaker on June 7th.  This is especially a momentous occasion, as the Class of 2009 was in their first year during Dr. Clark's tenure as Interim President of the SUNY College of Optometry.
Vision Care Institute LLC Continues Cornea and Contact Lens Fellowship Support 
Dr. Ralph Gundel received a grant from The Vision Care Institute LLC, (a Johnson & Johnson company) in the amount of $12,075 as partial support for the Cornea and Contact Lens Fellowship for the 2009-2010 academic year.  This grant will be used to offset the cost of the program related to research.  The Cornea and Contact Lens Fellowship was established at the College in 1990 and since its inception has involved clinical research projects completed by each fellow resulting in over 15 peer-reviewed publications to date.
The Vision Care Institute, LLC ("TVCI"), a company of Johnson & Johnson, provides fellowship grants to qualified academic institutions and professional organizations.  The grant recipients are selected at the discretion of the institution and are restricted to the activities specified in the request for the fellowship grant.
New Scholarship Endowment from NJ Chapter of the Academy
The New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry has made a commitment to the College toPresentation of NJ Chapter of AAO Check to President Heath by Dr. Maria Richman and Dr. Harvey Richman fund an endowed scholarship for students from New Jersey who are in good academic standing.  The Chapter presented its first installment of $5000 on Friday, March 27th to President Heath at Vision Expo.  Dr. Maria Richman and Dr. Harvey Richman, each of whom serve as members of the Chapter's Board of Directors, presented the check.  Dr. Maria Richman is also the Immediate Past President of the New Jersey Academy, and Dr. Harvey Richman currently serves as President of the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians. The first scholarship will be awarded in 2010.
Lavelle Grant for Pre-School Project
The second half of a $60,000 grant from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind will support eye exams for Head Start children in underserved areas of the city.  The project is being conducted in partnership with Helen Keller International.  Coordinated by Dr. Ida Chung, hundreds of children have been given exams by SUNY's optometrists.  The Lavelle Fund has given a total of $189,000 to this project.
2008 State Employees Federated Appeal (SEFA) College Campaign Raises Over $13,000
SEFA New York CityThe College's 2008 SEFA Campaign raised $13,252.  43 staff and faculty participated in the campaign.
Great thanks to Ms. Karen DeGazon, SUNY Optometry's Campaign Manager who led the campaign and Mr. Kevin Kentish, NYC SEFA Manager assisted the donors with making their pledges.
Organized by employees of the State of New York, SEFA was established as an annual venue for State employees to donate to the charity(ies) of their choice as New York State does not allow solicitation by external agencies in State facilities.
Hyde and Watson Foundation Awards Grant for Special Needs Equipment
The Optometric Center of New York has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Hyde and Watson Foundation to purchase equipment for the Children with Special Needs Service.  This is a first-time grant from the Foundation.  The UOC's Children with Special Needs Service is one of the few programs in the New York City area dedicated exclusively to providing comprehensive vision care for special needs children with conditions like cerebral palsy, autism and albininsm, among others.  The service currently supports approximately 500 patient visits each year as part of an active pediatric service.
Faculty  Recognized At The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) announced its inaugural class of distinguished fellows.  The newly established title of ARVO Fellow recognizes members for their accomplishments, leadership and contributions to the association.  The two levels of Fellows -- Gold and Silver -- are determined by a rigorous point system approved by ARVO's Board of Trustees.  By accepting this honor, the Fellows are expected to continue to serve as role models and mentors for individuals pursuing careers in vision and ophthalmology research, and, to further ARVO's vision "...to facilitate the advancement of vision research and the prevention and cure of disorders of the visual system worldwide".
This year, two members of the College faculty will receive this honor.
Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda
Dr. Peter Reinach 
They will officially be inducted at the Association's annual meeting in May.  Congratulations to Drs. Ciuffreda and Reinach and to all the inductees in this year's class.
Faculty Participate in Annual Research Meetings
The vision science research community from around the world go to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida each year for the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).  The meeting, held in early May, presents an opportunity for vision science researchers to see, hear and talk about the latest and most exciting vision science and ophthalmology and optometric research.  This year, 30 faculty and students will attend and present papers or deliver poster talks which may appear in peer-reviewed publications.  Below is a sample listing of faculty and student presentations at this year's ARVO:
  • M. Arunthavaraja, K.J. Ciuffreda, B. Vasudevan.  "Nitm Following Marked Sustained Accommodation at Near", State College of Optometry, SUNY, New York.
  • J. Bass, J. Sherman.  "Preserved Visual Acuity in the Absence of the Foveal Pit as Confirmed by Spectral Domain (SD) OCT S.J."  Clinical Sciences, SUNY, New York.
  • A. Benavente-Perez, S.L. Hosking, N.S., Logan.  "Exacerbated Systemic Response to Hypercapnia in Young Smokers Triggers Ocular Haemodynamic Response".
  • H. Yang, Z. Wang, P.S. Reinach.  "Cannabinoid Receptor Induces EGFR Transactivation through Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 Channel Stimulation in Human Corneal Epithelial Cells".  SUNY, New York.
  • S.K. Randhawa, and S.H. Schwartz. "Simultaneous Intraocular Brightness Discrimination is Vertically Symmetric".  SUNY, New York.
  • R. Sack.  "Profile of Lipid and Protein Autocoids in Diabetic Vitreous Correlates with the Progression of diabetic Retinopathy".  SUNY, New York.
  • G.K. Hung (1), A.J. Fiedler (1), J. Liu (1), K.J. Ciuffreda (2).  "Homeomorphic Biomechanical Model of Myopia an Hyperopia".  (1) Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ; (2) SUNY College of Optometry.
  • E. Lin, M.W. Dul, H.J. Wyatt, A. Hot.  "Diffuse Loss of Sensitivity in the Central 10 Degrees of Patients With Glaucoma".  SUNY, New York.
  • R.J. Madonna, D. Rutner, L. Nehmad.  "Investigating the Association Between Visual Field Index Scores and NEI VFQ-25 Scores in Glaucoma Patients".  SUNY, New York.
  • M. Srinivas (1), C. Rubinos (1), L. Li (2), C. Sellitto (2), X. Gong (3), T.W. White.  "MAPK Signaling Regulates Cx50 During Lens Development". (1) SUNY College of Optometry, (2) Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, (3) UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA. 
  • J.K. Portello, C. Chu, M. Rosenfield, J. Benzoni, J. Collier.  "Computer Vision Syndrome:  Hard Copy Versus Computer Viewing".  SUNY, New York.
  • E. Ivanova (1), G.S. Hwang (1), Z.H. Pan (1), D. Troilo.   "Evaluation of AAV-Mediated Expression of Channelrhodopsin-2 in the Marmoset Retina".  (1) Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, (2) SUNY College of Optometry, New York.

* If you would like to see an entire list of the presenters, please click here.

The week after ARVO is the Vision Science Society (VSS) annual meeting which focuses more on visual psychophysics, visual perception, and cognitive aspects of visual neuroscience.  This small and more intimate conference is also attended by the top scientists for around the world.  This year, Dr. Ben Backus' research lab is making a number of presentations.

New Research Grants Awarded
Dr. Ralph Gundel
Cornea and Contact Lens Fellowship Program, Vision Care Institute
DC - $10,500
IC  - $12,075
Total Award:   $22,574
Dr. Robert Sack
Proteome Array Technology and the Human Tear Film:  Exploring Cytokind, Cytokine Receptor, MMP and TIMP Expression in Dry-eyed and Control Populations, Alcon
DC  - $122,000
IC   - $ 18,000
Total Award:   $140,000
Dr. Jerome Sherman
Aged Stratified Data Collection, Topcon
DC  -  $124,200
IC   -  $ 37,260
Total Award:   $161,460 
The College would like to remind everyone that all job openings are posted on the College website --http://www.sunyopt.edu/HR/jobs.shtml.
Copyright 2008, SUNY State College of Optometry, All rights reserved.
33 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036   | (212) 938-4000  | Join Our Mailing List