F Y Eye - The Official Newsletter of the College
Issue 28June  2010
- A  M E S S A G E  F R O M   T H E   P R E S I D E N T -
President's Letter

As I write this letterPresident David A. Heath for our final FY EYE of the 2009-2010 academic year, the budget process continues in Albany within a politically charged atmosphere.  The future of the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act is highly uncertain, and SUNY campuses are looking forward to another year of reduced State support and continuing restrictions on their ability to develop alternative revenue streams.


In spite of these challenges, we continue to have much to celebrate here at SUNY Optometry, including the graduation of the highly talented class of 2010, the continued growth of research and implementation of our new professional degree curriculum.  The positive impact of SUNY Optometry is perhaps most evident in this month's FY EYE with its coverage of the opening ceremony for the Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation at the Wenzhou Medical College in Wenzhou, China.  A quintessential example of the intent of the University's strategic plan's global initiative, "SUNY and the World", this Center of Excellence shares resources, enhances international exchange and serves as a model for vision rehabilitation services in China, a country with an estimated low vision population exceeding 17 million.  For the SUNY College of Optometry, the opening of the Center of Excellence in China is a landmark event of lasting importance, and a statement of its growing global influence.


FY EYE will take the summer off, returning in September to continue to share with you, our extended College community, the successes and the challenges of the SUNY College of Optometry.
David A. Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
 - M A I N   F E A T U R E -
SUNY Optometry Opens Low Vision Center With Chinese Hospital
Opening of Center of Excellence in Wenzhou, ChinaOn Monday, May 31st, the Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation at the Eye Hospital of Wenzhou Medical College in Wenzhou, China, officially opened.  In attendance were Dr. David A. Heath, President of SUNY Optometry and Dr. Michael Heiberger, Director of Institutional Planning and Research.  The Center, a unique, cooperative project between Wenzhou Medical College and SUNY Optometry is made possible with generous support from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind in New York City.  The Eye Hospital is affiliated with Wenzhou Medical College's School of Optometry and Ophthalmology.
By the third year of the project, a total of 10,000 visually impaired patients per year, rangingDr. Heath presents gift to Dr. Qu Jia from children to the elderly, will be served at the Wenzhou facility, according to Dr. Heath.  During the course of the project, eye care professionals and paraprofessionals from numerous locations throughout China, will be trained to provide a wide range of services to the visually impaired.  It is expected that 200 optometrists and ophthalmologists and 1,000 paraprofessionals (including nurses, rehabilitation therapists, etc.) will be trained.
The new Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation at Wenzhou is slated toDr. Euclid Hsu and Dr. David Heath viewing low vision devices become a model for the establishment of similar centers in other cities in China.  It will also provide educational programs for doctors and ancillary personnel in the proper referral for vision rehabilitation services, procedures for caring for the visually impaired and for working with patients and their families to enhance function and quality of life.  Supportive services are to be offered in areas such as the use of low vision devices, activities of daily living and psychological adjustment to visual disability.
An estimated 17 million individuals in China have low vision.  With a dearth of eye and vision care professionals in the region providing quality care for the visually impaired, the Center of Excellence will have a significant impact on the quality of life for thousands of Chinese.
Dr. Heath and Dr. Heiberger, who directs the project for SUNY, were joined by Mr. AndrewDr. Heath speaks at opening ceremony Fisher, Executive Director of the Lavelle Fund, and the hospital's senior administrative staff, including President Qu Jia, Vice President Chen Xiaoming, Vice President and Dean of the School of Optometry and Ophthalmology Dr. Lu Fan and Eye Hospital Executive Director Dr. Wang Qinmei.  In addition, representatives of the City of Wenzhou and of the Chinese Central Government in Beijing were present as well as prominent individuals from the ophthalmic supplier community.
Yang Jinhui of the Beijing Government's China Disabilities Board, spoke at a symposium following the opening ceremony.  He indicated a renewed interest on the part of China in making available low vision and rehabilitative services to the visually impaired in China.  Mr. Yang acknowledged that, in too many cases, low vision devices given to patients were not used and eventually discarded because there was no appropriate training in when or how to use the devices.  He also announced that China's newest five-year plan (its 12th since the founding of the Peoples' Republic) includes language concerning the provision of low vision and vision rehabilitation services.
D I D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • The Class of 2011 completed the Applied Basic Science Exam (Part 1) of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry in March of 2010.  Ninety-seven percent (97%) of our students taking the exam for the first-time passed.  This compares favorably with first-time takers nationally who passed at a 92% rate.

2010 NBEO Scores Chart

- H I G H L I G H T S -
Charles Henry Leach II Foundation Awards Grant for Children with Special Needs Equipment
The Charles Henry Leach II Foundation has awarded a $3,000 grant to the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) to provide new equipment for the University Eye Center's (UEC) Children with Special Needs Service, one of the few programs in the New York City area dedicated exclusively to providing comprehensive vision care for special needs children.  This is a first-time grant from the Leach Foundation.
The UEC's unique service offers multiple-handicapped children a level of patient care unavailable in most other clinical settings.  At the UEC, a team of dedicated optometrists are specially trained in alternative visual exam techniques to maximize results for children witih special needs.  On average, vision exams for special needs children last one to two hours - - significantly longer than a standard exam.  The Children with Special Needs Service currently sees 500 children from birth to age 18 each year.  Children with Special Needs services are part of an active Pediatric Service providing high quality patient care and support for thousands of children annually.
"Because the path for meeting their full potential is different from their peers, children with special needs are especially in need of regular vision care as part of their overall health care", said Dr. Robert Duckman, Director of the Children with Special Needs Service and Chair of the Department of Vision Sciences.  "We are most grateful to the Charles Henry Leach II Foundation for this generous grant."

36TH Commencement Held at Hudson Theater


Graduates Recite Optometric OathOn Sunday, June 6th, at the Hudson Theater in Manhattan, 72 graduates received Doctor of Optometry degrees, 3 received their Master of Science degrees and 1 graduate received the Doctor of Philosophy degree.  In addition, 29 residents received Certificate of Residency.  Dr. Edward Johnston, Vice President for Student Affairs of the SUNY College of Optometry, was the Commencement Speaker.  Dr. Johnston, who also served as President of the College from 1978-1987, received the New York Optometrist of the Year Award given by the New York State Optometric Association. 




Dr. Richard Held received the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.  Dr. Held isDr. Heath, Dr. Held & Dr. Troilo Professor Emeritus of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Director of Research and Professor of Vision Science at the New England College of Optometry.  Dr. Held has been a leading scholar in the areas of visual development and myopia.



Dr. Joan K. Portello Receives 2010 Alumna of the Year Award



Dr. Joan Portello received the Alumna of the Year Award given at commencement.  Dr. Portello, a 1986 graduate of SUNY College of Optometry, became a member of the faculty that year and has served the Alumni Association since 1993.  Her many accomplishments include two Master's Degrees, one in Public Health and the other in Vision Science.  She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, has lectured internationally, received numerous grants for service and research, and is the author of many writings that are central to the profession of Optometry.  Her commitment to the profession is clear, but her dedication to serving the community sets her apart, delivering quality eye care health with compassion. Congratulations to Dr. Joan K. Portello.


9th Annual Special Olympics Lions Club International Opening Eyes METRO Games Held 

For the 9th year in a row, the Special Olympics Lions Club International Opening Eyes (SOLCIOE)  METRO Games held its annual event on May 23, 2010.  The location was at Queens College in Flushing, New York.  SOLCIOE is a program designed to provide quality eye care for all people with developmental disabilities and particularly for those who compete as Special Olympic athletes.  The SOLCIOE program helps to promote an athletes access to vision care by providing vision screenings, refractions, assessing the health of the eyes, fabricating eyewear on site and dispensing eyeglasses during the Special Olympics event.  Other health care groups who also participated were dentistry, audiology, podiatry and chiropractic.

SUNY, State College of Optometry has been extremely instrumental in helping deliver vision care to the Special Olympics athletes each year.  Dr. Joan K, Portello is Director of the SOLCIOE.  Over 70 athletes received vision examinations this year, with volunteer work by members of the SUNY College of Optometry Classes of 2013, 2012 and 2011.  Participating in this event has given the students a wonderful experience to gain insight to the visual needs of people with developmental disabilities.  The following also generously volunteered at this year's event: Dr. Julie Appel '91 and Cameron Appel; Drs. Amanda Fronhofer '08, Irina Shiyan '08, Irina Stoica '09 (pediatric resident), Reena Patel (pediatric resident), Mamie Chen (primary care resident), Stephen Pereira; as well as Boris Levin and Mark Kaplan (Santenelli).

President Heath Elected to ASCO Executive Committee

President David Heath was elected to the Executive Committee of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) as the organization's Secretary/Treasurer.  Founded in 1941, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is a non-profit education association representing the interests of optometric education. ASCO's membership encompasses the schools and colleges of optometry in the United States and Puerto Rico.  ASCO is committed to achieving excellence in optometric education and to helping its member schools prepare well-qualified graduates for entrance into the profession of optometry.  Dr. Heath's election occured during the annual meeting of ASCO, held in Orlando, FL on June 15 and 16, 2010.  
- U N I V E R S I T Y   E Y E   C E N T E R -
Focus on Ocular Health - What are Flashers, Floaters and Symptoms of a Retinal Detachment?
Many people see spots (often called floaters) in front of their eyes.  Spots are snmall, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the part of the eye called the vitreous.  The vitreous consists of a clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of our eyes.  Spots or floaters appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs.  Because they are within your eyes, they move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.  Floaters appear when the clear, jelly-like fluid slowly shrinks with aging.  As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes stringy and can cast tiny shadows, known as floaters.  These floaters often occur in adults over the age of 60 and are common in people who are extremely near-sighted but can occur with infection, inflammation, retinal tears or ophthalmic injury.  Floaters can also occur when small flecks of protein or other matter is trapped during the formation of your eyes before birth.  They can be extremely distracting, but within time they tend to settle to the bottom of the eye and become less bothersome.  Most people who have floaters eventually learn to ignore them.
Flashes appear as "sparkles" or flashes of lighting in front of one's eyes when there is no light there.  These typically occur when the vitreous pulls on or tears the retina  (the layer of tissues that lines the inside of the eye).  Flashes typically last for a second or two and can occur repeatedly.
A gradual or sudden increase in the number of floaters and/or flashes can be a sign or symptom of retinal detachment.  A retinal detachment occurs when part of the rtina is pulled away from its normal position.  The appearance of a curtain or veil over a person's field of vision may be another sign of a retinal detachment.  A retinal detachment needs to be treated as quickly as possible or it may result in permanent visual loss.
The UEC recommends that you see your eye doctor immediately if you experience a sudden or gradual increase in the number of flashes and floaters, or a veil or curtain in front of your eyes.  Although spots are typically not harmful and rarely limit vision, they can be an indication of more serious problems and you should see your eye doctor for a comprehensive examination.  By looking in your eyes with special instruments, your eye doctor can examine the health of your eyes and determine if what you are seeing is harmless or the symptom of a more serious problem that requires treatment.
- R E S E A R C H -
Dr. Dean Yager Award


Congratulations to Dr. Shephali Patel '10, who is the recipient of the 2009-2010 Dr. Dean Yager Award for the best published research paper by a student.


Dr. Patel's research explored loss of vision from glaucoma. In glaucoma, a common disease that can lead to blindness if not treated, loss of vision for objects located above where the patient is looking tends to occur at a different rate than for objects located below where the patient is looking. This research tested a procedure that compares the visual response speed to targets located in these two locations with the goal of being able to diagnose glaucoma at an early stage.


Dr. Yager was a well-known research scientist in areas ranging from color vision in fish to human psychophysics of reading, peripheral vision, low vision and electronic displays.  He joined the College in 1974 as Dean and founding Chairman of the Graduate Program in Vision Science and trained many graduate students who hold academic and clinical positions today.  Dr. Patel was presented with the Yager Award at the Scholars Dinner, June 21.

SUNY ARVO 2010 and VSS 2010 Presentations, Papers & Posters

Vision science and optometric researchers continue to present their findings as talks and/or posters at major annual research conferences such as the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and the Vision Science Society (VSS), etc.  In May, 31 presentations were made by SUNY Optometry faculty and students at ARVO.  The breakdown is 19 faculty, 13 students and 4 post-doctoral fellows.  VSS had 13 presentations from SUNY Optometry of which 7 were faculty, 4 were post-doctoral fellows and 3 students.  Below is a sampling of the presentations at both conferences by SUNY faculty and students. 



Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology


J. Sherman1,2, S. Nath2, R. Madonna1, S. Zweifel3, L. Yannuzzi3, J. Whitney1. 1Clinical Sciences, SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY; 2Eye Institute and Laser Center, New York, NY; 3Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York, New York, NY.   "Is There a Pathognomonic SD OCT Sign for Achromatopsia?"


S.J. Bass1, J. Sherman1,2, S. Nath2. 1Clinical Sciences, SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY; 2Eye Institute and Laser Center, New York, NY.  "Spectral Domain (SD)-OCT in "Amblyopia" Associated With Unilateral High Myopia and Myelinated Retinal Nerve Fibers"


R.A. Sack1, P. Iserovich1, S. Sathe1, A. Beaton1, A. Leonardi2, K.H. Gotlinger3, L. Bellner3, M. Dunn3, M. laniado Schwartzman3. 1Biological Sciences, SUNY-Opt, New York, NY; 2Dept. of Neuroscience, Ophthalmology Uni, University of Padova, Padova, Italy; 3Pharmacology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY.  "Proteomics, Lipidomic & Angiogenesis- Normal & Allergic Tears"


P.S. Reinach1, Z. Wang1, H. Yang1, J.E. Capó-Aponte2, J.M. Wolosin3. 1Biological Sciences, SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY; 2U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Fort Rucker, AL; 3Ophthalmology, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.  "ERK-DUSP5 Interactions Specifically Control the EGF Proliferative Effect in Primary and SV40-Immortalized Corneal Epithelial Cells"


J.K. Portello1A, M. Rosenfield1B. AClinical Sciences, BDepartment of Vision Sciences, 1SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY.   "Effect of Blink Rate on Computer Vision Syndrome"


A. Nour, A. Benavente-Perez, D. Troilo. Biological Sciences, SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY  "The Effect of Simultaneous ±5 D Defocus Imposed by Multizone Soft Contact Lenses on Eye Growth and Development"


D.J. Ha1, S.H. Schwartz1, L. Nehmad1, R. DiGiuseppe2. 1SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY; 2St. Johns University, New York, NY.  "Cognitive Distortions Associated with Poor Adherence to Glaucoma Medical Therapy"


K.J. Ciuffreda1A, W. Green1A, P. Thiagarajan1A, D. Szymanowicz1A, D. Ludlam1A, N. Kapoor1B. AVision Sciences, BClinical Sciences, 1SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY.  "Static and Dynamic Accommodation in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury"


M.W. Dul1A, W.H. Swanson2, E. Lin1B, T. Lau1A. AClinical Sciences, BClincal Science, 1SUNY College of Optometry, New York, NY; 2School of Optometry, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.  "Diffuse Loss of Sensitivity in the Central 10 Degrees of Patients With Glaucoma: An Early Functional Finding or an Artifact of Starting Point Bias?"



Vision Science Society 2010


Harrison, S.J., Backus, B.T.    Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry  "Uninformative trials are more effective than informative trials in learning a long term perceptual bias."


Benjamin T. Backus, Stuart Fuller     Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry

"Attention mediates learned perceptual bias for bistable stimuli"


Loes van Dam, Marc Ernst, Benjamin Backus     Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry

"Pre-exposure interferes with perceptual learning for ambiguous stimuli"


Anshul Jain, Qasim Zaidi  Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry  "Veridical Perception of Non-rigid 3-D Shapes from Motion Cues"


Jose Stanley Komban, Jose-Manual Alonso and Qasim Zaidi.  Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry  "ON/OFF channel asymmetry or consequences of a Luminance nonlinearity"


Robert Ennis, Qasim Zaidi   Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry  "Cortical Aftereffects Of Time-Varying Chromatic Stimuli"


Ali Yoonessi, Qasim Zaidi    Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry  "Roles of Color & 3-D Information in Recognizing Material Changes"


Xin Meng, Qasim Zaidi      Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry  "Haptic learning disambiguates but does not override texture cues to 3-D shape"


Pola J    Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry  "A model of perisaccadic flash mislocalization in the presence of a simple background stimulus"


Joo-Hyun Song1, Robert D. Rafal2, Robert M. McPeek1 Smith-Kettlewell; 2 Bangor University; 3 Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry  "Neural substrates of target selection for reaching movements in superior colliculus"


Aarlenne Z. Khan1, Joo-Hyun Song2, Robert M. McPeek3  1 Queens University; 2 Smith-Kettlewell; 3 Graduate Center for Vision Research, SUNY College of Optometry  "Attention is predominantly guided by the eye during concurrent eye-hand movements"


Sedgwick, H. A. & Nolan, A.  "Depth perception and the horizontal-vertical illusion depend on figural proportions. 


Gillam, B., Sedgwick, H. A., & Marlow, P.  Local and non-local effects on surface mediated stereoscopic depth. 

To see the entire listing of SUNY Optometry presentations at these conferences, please click on the link.  http://www.sunyopt.edu/news/list.shtml


Bass, SJ.  "What's Your Diagnosis".  Primary Care Optometry News (2010); Vol. 15(6), 26.  The case is of a patient for whom molecular genetics helped to finallize the diagnosis of herediatry eye disease which, in turn, helped to define the favorable prognosis, as well.  
- P E R S O N N E L -

The College  is pleased to announce that Mr. Jim Yates has joined the staff of the Media Center as Audio Visual Technician/Instructional Support Associate.  Mr. Yates has served as a freelance technical engineer and has worked as a senior technical engineer at Sony Music Studios.  He has an extensive background in devising technical diagrams and charts, designing and completing wiring projects and maintaining and upgrading equipment.  He also has experience in academic institutions, having taught and performed equipment installation and maintenance at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Indiana University School of Music.


He will be working closely with Mr. Bret Boudi and Mr. Ruben Cuevas in the Media Center to maintain the high technical quality of the classrooms and plan for the future audiovisual needs of the College.  We are indeed happy to have him as part of the team. 
In last month's issue of FY EYE, it was reported that Ms. Stacy Weiss received her B.A. & M.A. degrees from University of Florida.  She received her degrees from the University of South Florida.
*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 2010, SUNY College of Optometry, All rights reserved.
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