F Y EYE - The Official Newsletter of SUNY State College of Optometry
SUNY State College of Optometry
Issue 19 June 2009
FR O M   T H E   P R E S I D E N T

President's Letter 

SUNY College of OptometryWith the summer upon us, FY EYE will take its annual break from publication, resuming in early September.  The past year has been notable, to say the least, for its seismic shifts in our political and economic landscape.  We witnessed the election of our nation's first African-American President, experienced historic failures within the global banking and financial systems, felt the impact of unprecedented declines in State revenues, and are now in the midst of a national debate which is likely to transform the health care system as we've known it.  Within government, professional associations, institutions such as this College and, indeed, within the practices of our graduates, the need for action and innovation is essential to ensure a bright future.
Taking action within an environment of uncertainty is often difficult and fraught with risk.  It is essential to scan the landscape, identify evident trends and to be proactive in charting the future.  Here at the College of Optometry, we have done just that as evidenced in our strategic plan, and, in spite of significant challenges, the College moves forward.  During the past academic year, among other achievements, we have implemented a new strategic plan, renegotiated our MOU with SUNY administration, received a laudatory review of our 5-year periodic accreditation report, welcomed the most highly qualified students to our ranks, implemented new professional and graduate degree curricula, seen a large increase in extramural research funding, supported nearly 75,000 patient visits (a 5% increase), and developed a new referral service within our clinical care units.  And in the closing days of this fiscal year, we received approval from the New York State Department of Health for a name change for the University Optometric Center.  It will become the University Eye Center.
As Yogi Berra once said "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there."  We have been careful, and due to a great faculty, staff and administration, we know where we are going.  Have a wonderful summer!
David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
 M A I N   F E A T U R E
Patient Care Facility Now Known as the "UNIVERSITY EYE CENTER"
We are pleased to announce that our clinical facility has now received a new operating certificate from the New York State Department of Health under the name of the "University Eye Center".  Over the past year, the College reviewed the name "University Optometric Center" with concerns that in spite of nearly 40 years of operation and 75,000 patient visits per year, our name recognition and visibility with the New York community were less than hoped for.  After community discussion and analysis by our public relations firm, the name "University Eye Center" was selected to reflect our academic health center mission in a manner that is easily accessible to the general public.  Dr. Richard Soden, Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Director of the University Optometric Center, has worked closely with the Department of Health to effect this change.  Over the next six months, the University Eye Center's staff will be working closely with our public relations firm to assure a smooth transition in our identity.
H I G H L I G H T S 
FIT Graduate Students Donate Art to Pediatrics Unit
Christian CastroOn May 8, 32 students in the Fashion Institute of Technology's Master of Arts in Illustration program donated their spectacular illustrations to the University Optometric Center's (UOC) Pediatric Unit.
Howard Smith"These colorful pieces of art are full of whimsy and creativity and will be welcome additions to the various floors where we treat children," said Dr. Ida Chung, Chief of Pediatrics.
Presenting the art were Joanne Arbuckle, Dean of the School of Art and Design and Melanie Rein, Chair, MA in Illustration.
DI D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • Extramural funding for the College's research programs are projected to be well over $3.0 million for the 2008/09 fiscal year.  This represents the highest level of research funding in the history of the SUNY College of Optometry.

    Research Grant Activity

  • The annual economic costs of adult vision problems in the United States is approximately $51.4 billion. (Prevent Blindness America)

  • The economic burden resulting from the four leading causes of visual disabilities in adults, (AMD, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma) is approximately $35.4 billion.  (Prevent Blindness America)
2009 SUNY Commencement 
 Dr. John Clark  
On Sunday, June 7th, at the Hudson Theatre in Manhattan, 72 graduates received the degree of Doctor of Optometry and 10 students received the degree of Master of Science in Vision Science.  Dr. John Clark, former Interim Chancellor of SUNY and, former Interim President of the SUNY State College of Optometry, was the commencement speaker.  Dr. Clark was also the recipient of the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) Public Service Award.
President Heath, Dr. Clark, Dr. Howard, Dr. Troilo Dr. Ian Howard was awarded 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.

Dr. Douglas Weiss '89, Dr. Joan Portello '84, Dr. Victoria Molnar Weiss '89Dr. Douglas Weiss '89 and Dr. Victoria Molnar Weiss '89 received the Alumni of the Year Award for their commitment to public service through their volunteer work in the United States and internationally with VOSH.
2009 GraduatesPresident Heath presided over the ceremonies and congratulated the graduates on choosing a career path that will call upon their knowledge, skills and compassion and will bring them not only professional success, but great personal satisfaction. 

Marc Lay '10 Receives SUNY's Highest Score on Part I NBEO
President Heath, Mr. Lay '10, Dr. Troilo, Dr. JohnstonMr. Marc K. Lay '10 received the highest score at SUNY on the targeted Part I -Applied Basic Science Examination of the National Board Examination in Optometry.  The exam was administered this past March 2009.  Marc received a Certificate of Commendation and a letter of congratulations from the NBEO Board of Directors.  President Heath, Dr. Troilo, Vice President & Dean for Academic Affairs and Dr. Johnston, Vice President for Student Affairs were on hand to present him the award. 
SUNY Optometry's Annual Scholars' Dinner held June 15
2009 Scholars' DinnerThe annual Scholars' Dinner was held on June 15 at Trattoria Dopo Teatro Restaurant in New York City.  With over 30 faculty attending, the occasion recognized the scholarly achievements of SUNY College of Optometry faculty during the 2008-2009 academic year through either publications, awards, etc.  Following cocktails and dinner, President Heath presented the Chancellor's Award for Excellence to Dr. Mort Soroka (for Faculty Service), Dr. Scott Richter (for Teaching) and Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda (for Scholarly Activity).  
2009 Scholars Dinner AttendeesThe 2008-2009 Dean Yager Award was then presented by Dr. Jerry Feldman to Dr. Chun-I Yeh for the best published research paper by a SUNY Optometry student.  The award, sponsored by the Schnurmacher Institute for Vision Research (SIVR), included a plaque and a check for $500.  Dr. Dean Yager and his wife, Martha, attended the dinner.  Dr. Yeh's Ph.D. advisor is Dr. Jose Alonso.
Foundation Board Holds Planning Retreat
Ms. Beth Pressen and OCNY TrusteesOn June 17, the Optometric Center of New York, the College's foundation, held a retreat for its Trustees to discuss and plan the future direction of the foundation.  Seventeen of the 22 Trustees attended.  Ms. Beth Pressen, President of Pressen Strategic Research, served as the facilitator for the six-hour session.  Among the topics explored were:  Developing a Compelling Brand Image and Raising the OCNY Profile; Expanding the Board Membership; Building Board Cohesiveness and Revising Board Structure; Identifying Major Gift Prospects and Developing a Grateful Patient Program.
OCNY Trustees at Retreat"This retreat was an exciting planning exercise with some creative and productive ideas that will, with hard work, lead us into the future," said Richard Feinbloom, OCNY President.
This retreat served as the launch of a major gifts effort by the foundation to seek private funds to support the mission of the College.  The new strategic plan developed for the College by members of the College's planning committee will be the basis for the campaign. 
Class Gift
The Class of 2008 made a class gift of $4,000 to the scholarship endowment within the Optometric Center of New York, the College's foundation.  The class also designated additional funds to be set aside for a class reunion in a few years. 
University Campus Police Conduct CPR Training Courses
CPR Training Class June 2009The campus University Police Department (UPD) conducted two CPR courses with the use of Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) for college staff on June 17 & 18, 2009.  Fifteen volunteer staff members were trained in the life saving skills of CPR and became newly minted members of the SUNY Optometry Lifesaver Program.  This program places the College in compliance with the Public Access Defibrillation regulations.  To date, UPD has successfully trained over 50 staff members since the inception of the program in 2007.
For additional information about the SUNY Lifesaver/Public Access Defibrillation program or the Good Samaritan Law, please visit the UPD website at:  http://www.sunyopt.edu/police/publicaccess.shtml 
UOC Holds 2nd Referral Lecture and Dinner
Spring 2009 UOC Referral Service LectureThe second UOC Referral dinner and lecture on Thursday, June 19, 2009.  Hosted by the Director of the Referral Service, Dr. Harriette Canellos, the event provided optometrists from the metropolitan area with updates on the services of the UOC as well as a lecture by Dr. Richard Soden, Vice President for Clinical Affairs, on "What's New in Medical Eye Coding 2009".  Dr. David Heath, President, extended a warm welcome to everyone and congratulated Dr. Canellos on the rapid growth of the service.  During the current fiscal year there has been well over 3,000 patient visits to the referral service. 
SUNY Optometry Faculty, Staff and Student Receive NYSOA Awards
Dr. Jeffrey S. Cooper, Clinical Professor, received the Distinguished Achievement Award.  This award is in recognition of contributions made to optometric literature and research in the field of binocular vision.
Mr. Paul Heeg '10 was the recipient of the Abram A. Hubal, OD, Student Service Award in recognition of his service as President of the Student Society of the NYSOA.
The Arthur M. Gottlieb, OD Leadership Award was presented to Mr. Matthew Platarote, Director of Continuing Education in recognition of his leadership in providing continuing education courses to doctors of optometry through creative media and a variety of venues.
Dr. Mordechai Soroka, Professor, was presented with the Communications Award for his use of e-newsletters as an effective way to communicate with members.  This award is presented to local society newsletter editors. 

Buslon, R., Ciuffreda, KJ and Ludlam DP.  (2009) "Effect of Monocular Versus Binocular Viewing on Golf Putting Accuracy."  J. Behav. Opt. 20, 31-34.   
Bulson, R., Ciuffreda, KJ and Ludlam, DP.  (2009) "The Role of Visual and Verbal Feedback in Golf Putting Accuracy."  J. Behav. Opt. 20, 43-46.
Each of the College's three full-time graduate students in the Department of Vision Science received a $2500 award from the Minnie Flauer Turner Fund for Impaired Vision Research for 2009.  The award assists them in pursuing their goal in the field of impaired vision research.  Below is the title and description of their research.
Jing Yuan (Cathy) [Dr. Peter Reinach] - Probing for Chemokines Inducing Corneal Infiltration After Alkali Injury.  The purpose of the project is to identify whether TRPV 1 activation leads to increases in chemokines levels that induce the inflammatory cell infiltration after corneal alkali injury.  Furthermore, we would like to identify strategies for surpressing chemokine expression by wildtype cells.
Preethi Thiagarajan [Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda] - Evaluating Static and Dynamic Characteristics of Accommodation and Vergence in Traumatic Brain Injured Patients Following Oculomotor Training.  Retrospective analysis of past clinical studies has demonstrated a high frequency of accommodative (~40%) and vergence (~60%) dysfunctions in brain injured patients.  The purpose of the study is to determine the static and dynamic parameters of accommodation and vergence in the traumatic brain injured patients.  In addition, the effect of oculomotor vision rehabilitation on the abnormal oculomotor parameters and its effect on ameliorating vision symptoms and improving overall quality of life in these patients will be evaluated.
Yuanquan Yang (Aaron) [Dr. Peter Reinach] - Role of Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 Channel in Keratocytes in the Repairing Cornea.  TRPV1 is transmembrane non-selective cation channel that is present in various human tissue including corneal epithelia and fibroblasts and are sensitive to a variety of stimuli.  TRPV1 activation can induce inflammation.  Lately, our lab found that corneal clarity could be greatly maintained in Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 Channel (TRPV1) knockout mice after alkali burning, compared to their wild type.  Aaron is trying to find out the mechanism behind it.  Especially the role of TRPV1 in keratocyte activation after corneal injury.
Graduate Student Receives Fight for Sight Post-Doctoral Award
Fan ZhangDr. Fan Zhang received a $20,000, 2009 post-doctoral award from Fight for Sight for one year.  Her research, titled "Resolvin Mediated Control of Corneal Epithelial Function", looks at the therapeutic options that are limited and inadequate for treating the millions of individuals suffering from dry eye disease.  Accordingly, there is an urgent need to identify novel drugs for treating the ocular surface pathophysiology resulting from exposure to hypertonic tears.  She has found that resolvin E1 is an excellent drug candidate since in hypertonic-stressed human corneal epithelial cells it induces responses that are required to improve ocular surface health.  "Our goal is to determine the cell signaling pathways that this lipid mediator activates to induce these responses."  Such insight may markedly improve the management of this painful and sight threatening disease.  Dr. Peter Reinach is her sponsor.  
Officer Lorraine SpeightsMs. Lorraine Speights has joined the University Police Department, Office of Public Safety.  She began her tour of duty on June 4th and brings a sunny disposition along with valuable experience in the security field.  For the past 10 years, Lorraine worked with various security firms, department stores, office buildings and, finally with Securitas Security Services at a Verizon location in the Bronx.   
*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 2009, SUNY State College of Optometry, All rights reserved.
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