F Y Eye - The Official Newsletter of the College
Issue 34April  2011
- P R E S I D E N T ' S   M E S S A G E -   
SUNY State College of OptometryOn April 14th, the College of Optometry began its 40th year of operation.  Anniversaries provide us with the dual opportunity to envision the future and celebrate the past.  In the current environment, with ever present challenges, it is too easy to overlook the past and those who contributed to the success of our College.  Over the next year, each issue of FY EYE will include a short story highlighting transformative events and/or influential people in the life of the institution.

It is only appropriate to begin this series by recalling the fifteen year effort by the Optometric Center of New York (OCNY) and the New York State Optometric Association to establish a college of optometry in New York.  During this period, the OCNY, now the College's affiliated Foundation, was led by the College's Founding President, Dr. Alden N. Haffner.

For those of you who have been a part of the College for many years, I hope this series will stir fond memories and, for others who are newer to the College community, illuminate our history.


David Heath, O.D., Ed.M.
 - M A I N   F E A T U R E -

College 37th Commencement - June 5, 2011

On June 5, 2011, the College will hold its 37th commencement at the Hudson Theatre on West 44th Street.  Dr. Randolph Brooks, President of the American Optometric Association will be the commencement speaker.  There are two recipients of honorary degrees.  Frederick Miles, Ph.D., will receive the Doctor of Science, honoris causa.  Dr. Miles is a highly acclaimed interlocutor in all matters of experimental vision research.  John Robson also will receive the Doctor of Science, honoris causa.  He is distinguished for his contributions to vision science and his research on the visual system and spatial-frequency selective mechanisms, or filters, operating parallel.  Dr. William Folsom, a member of the OCNY Board of Trustees, and a long-time supporter of the College, will receive the Benjamin Franklin Award.

D I D   Y O U   K N O W ?
  • Health care spending per capita in New York is 24% higher than the US average, ($6,535 v. $5,283).
  • Twenty-one percent of New Yorkers live in poverty (4,024,400).
  • Medicaid enrollment in New York is 26% v 19% nationally.
  • Fourteen percent, or 2,778,900 New Yorkers do not have health care coverage.
  • Eight percent, or 354,800 children in New York do not have coverage.

    (Source:  Kaiser Family Foundation, statehealthfacts.org)   


- H I G H L I G H T S -

College's Site Visit for MSCHE and ACOE Accreditation - April 10 - 13, 2011 - RECAP 


The College's collaborative Middle States Commission on Higher Education-Accreditation Council on Optometric Education accreditation site visit was held April 10 - 13, 2011.  The site visit evaluation team consisted of Co-chair Roger Boltz, O.D., Ph.D. from the College of Optometry at the University of Houston, Charles Haine, O.D., M.S., Mark Colip, O.D., Christopher Olson, O.D. representing the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education; Co-chair Laura Schweitzer, Ph.D., Janet Conner, M.B.A., Stephen Henske, M.S. representing Middle States Association. The College was evaluated in all areas of it operations including professional curriculum, graduate curriculum, administration, development, clinical affairs and research.  Dr. Heath wishes to thank everyone involved with the site visit for their support in making this a success.


The Vision and the Promise


The College's first Major Gifts Campaign of $10 million was launched in September 2009 after2011 Major Gifts Campaign formal approval by the OCNY Board of Trustees.  Since then, 100% of the Board has committed to the campaign providing $3.3 million of the current $5,104,060 raised.  Their gifts are in the form of cash, stocks or planned gifts such as bequests and Charitable Remainder Trusts.


Some donors have restricted their gifts to scholarships or patient care programs; while others have deferred making a designation until a later time.


President Heath and Ms. Warwick will begin visiting friends, alumni, corporations, foundations, etc. to ask for their participation in the campaign.


A variety of naming opportunities exist, i.e., an exam room(s), a laboratory, a room in the new Student Center for Life and Learning, scholarships and many others.  The campaign will close in 2014.  For additional information, please contact Ms. Ann Warwick.   




 - H I S T O R Y   O F  T H E  C O L L E G E :  T h e  F i r s t  4 0  Y e a r s  -


In the Beginning....

On March 30, 1954, Columbia University announced the closing of its Department of Optometry which existed for 46 years.  Two years later, June 1956, the Department of Optometry was closed.  In the meantime, in April 16, 1956, the Optometric Center of New York OCNY) was founded with the purpose of continuing the clinical care services that Columbia's optometry program provided and, as stated in its first constitution, to also "act as a repository of professional and scientific resources that will be transferred to a new college of optometry when one is established, properly accredited and recognized".
During ensuing years, the OCNY's leadership, with the assistance of the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA), was influential in convincing the State of New York and the State Department of Education to take the leadership in establishing a college of optometry in the State of New York.  Upon the suggestion of the NYSOA, a committee was formed in 1956 by the State Department of Education to work on this project.  This committee met with the Chancellor of Syracuse University on the optometry school proposal and was unsuccessful.  In 1958, the NYSOA organized a special two-man committee to work on the proposed college of optometry.  The appointees were Dr. William L. Roberts of Binghamton, New York and Dr. Alden N. Haffner, Executive Director of the Optometric Center of New York. 
The following decade resulted in a number of proposals, yet none took root.  In December 1967, the New York Board of Regents issued a report that was explicit in its directive that the two public university systems in the State, having already studied the need for a college of optometry, "should now meet to develop plans for action".
Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, aware of the deficiency in the number of eye careGovernor Nelson A. Rockefeller sign bill establishing SUNY Optometry practitioners within the State, promptly referred the matter to the State University of New York.  A sub-committee was formed by the University and later issued a report recommending the development of a technician and technologist program as an alternative to a college.  The recommendation was rejected by SUNY's Health Affairs Planning Board and left to die.  In addition, after years of negotiations between the City University of New York (CUNY) (which had just been formed through the reorganization of the municipal colleges in the City of New York) and the OCNY, CUNY also rejected the proposal.
In 1969, the OCNY made the decision to present their proposal directly to the State Legislature and a bill was introduced in the Senate to establish a university-affiliated college of optometry.  Two subsequent bills followed with the last bill proposing the SUNY Board of Trustees be directed to establish the college.  All of these bills were tabled and rejected.  A fourth and final bill was formed by Senator Warren M. Anderson, then Chair of the Finance Committee, advocating a State College of Optometry.  This bill was sent directly to the Rules Committee as the Legislature intended to be in a short session due to its being an election year.  In April 1970, ten minutes before the State Legislature's adjournment, the bill establishing a State College of Optometry in the State University of New York was passed.

  SUNY State College of Optometry - 24th Street
On May 19, 1970, Governor Rockefeller signed Senate Bill 9438.  However, the bill had to be amended to include proper legal wording for the operations of a newly established educational institution.  Hence, on April 14, 1971, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller signed Bills S.2923-A and A.3473 -- amending Bill 9438 -- establishing the State University of New York, State College of Optometry.  Dr. Alden N. Haffner, then Executive Director of the OCNY, was appointed President of the College.   And...the rest...is...HISTORY!

*(Reference:  "The Optometric Center of New York", vol. 1, 1973, by Harvey A. Jolt.)


Student Center for Life and Learning Project Demolition Underway! 


Demolition of Southern Wall - 3rd floorDemolition for the Student Center for Life and Learning has started on the floors 2, 3 & 3M!  Rubbish is expected to be cleared out by the first week in May.  The new "Center for Student Life and Learning" will support the academic culture of the College with state-of-the-art teaching facilities and meaningful gathering spaces for students, staff and faculty.  A modern methods laboratory, seminar rooms and a large lecture hall will emerge from this project along with a fitness room, multi-purpose lounge and a student organization office to help emphasize the importance of student life in academia.  The design animateWall Demolition Reveals View of Bryant Parks the view into the building from Bryant Park, bringing greater presence of the College to this prominent public space and emphasizing the institution's importance in the community.  Modern amenities will address issues such as maintenance, color, reflectance and warmth.  Energy efficient lighting will be integrated into the architecture while natural light will travel deeper into the building through translucent walls.  New mechanical and electrical systems will make the institution more energy efficient while new plumbing will reduce water consumption.





The Center for Student Learning will be housed on the 2nd floor and house various types ofStudent Center for Life and Learning teaching spaces.  Video conferencing capabilities, multiple presentation screens, a smart podium and a multiple-scene dimming will support the College's need for additional technologically sophisticated large teaching spaces to hold classes, lectures and professional events.  A new methods teaching lab has been designed in conjunction with a committee at the College.  The design intent is to allow flexibility for future changes; but maintain a sense of organization to assure the space is well kept.  The lab accommodates up to ten lanes with ample storage space for equipment and will include audio/visual connectivity to neighboring seminar rooms.


Renovation plans for floors 3 and 3M, take advantage of the generous 25 feet ceiling height.Two-Story Ceilings Revealed  Demolition of walls reveal windows with views of Bryant Park and the southern exposure that brighten up the 3rd floor area.  Space will be organized by a series of ceiling planes to screen the bulky overhead structure and new mechanical duct work.  Lighting and finishes will enhance the grand height of the space and the glowing ceiling planes will create visual cues from the street.  Flanking the student center, the TV lounge and the game room will be glazed to provide a connection to the Student Center while remaining acoustically separated.  Both can be opened up and serve as additional space for large events.


Accessible by stair and elevator, the fitness center on 3M will act as an extension of the Student Center.  A new elevator mezzanine and addition floor space will be built to support this function.


The State College of Optometry, a leading institution in the field of optometry, continuously strives to improve student life on its "campus".  Currently, its existing facility does not adequately support the activities sought by its student body.




Two SUNY Optometry Students Receive Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence

Ms. Sandip RandhawaMs. Sandip Randhawa '11 and Ms. Nikki Yee '11 were among several SUNY students awarded the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence on April 6, 2011.  The highest award bestowed upon SUNY students, both students were selected for their academic standing, leadership abilities, recognition of aca
Ms. Nikki Yeedemic and/or community achievements, and, involvement in student and community activities.  Ms. Randhawa, from Toronto, Ontario, will complete her studies with a M.S. in Vision Science and an O.D. degree at commencement on June 5, 2011.  She is currently Secretary of the Class of 2011 and Secretary of the Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society.  Ms. Yee is from Miami, Florida and is a past-president of the Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society; a past-president of the student chapter of the American Public Health Association, and a founding vice president of the Golden Key International Optometric Honor Society.  Both students will be presented with their awards at a pre-commencement awards ceremony in June.


News from the Alumni Association


The Alumni Association has developed a SUNY Optometry merchandise line available to all alumni and friends.  Every purchase supports the mission of the Alumni Association.  You may visit the site at www.cafepress.com/sunyoptometry to find out more details and see the merchandise.


The Association will host a Lunch and Learn program on Friday, May 13th at noon in Alumni Commons.  The purpose of the luncheon program is to provide current students with career information after graduating from SUNY.  Successful alumni donate 2 hours of their time to return to the College and talk to students about their professional experiences. 


Follow the Alumni Association on Facebook.  Become a fan of the page and keep up with the latest Association news.  Search:  SUNY Optometry Alumni Association, and click on like. 



SUNY Professionals Inducted Into National Academies of Practice 


Dr. Andrea ThauAt the Annual meeting of the National Academies of Practice (NAP) held March 25-26, 2011, in Arlington, Virginia, the NAP held a gala membership banquet at which new members from ten healthcare professions were inducted.  Dr. David A. Heath and Dr. Andrea Thau were elected as a distinguished scholar-member and member of the NAP and the National Academy of Practice of Optometry (NAPO).  Founded in 1981 in recognition of the need for interdisciplinary collaboration in President Heathhealthcare, the NAP is "comprised of distinguished practitioners and scholars from all of the primary health professions, including:  Dentistry, Nursing, Optometry, Osteopathic Medicine, Psychology, Podiatric Medicine, Social Work, Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy."  Election into NAP is an honor as only 150 distinguished members can be elected to membership.  We congratulate both President Heath and Dr. Thau on their induction to this distinguished organization.      


- U N I V E R S I T Y   E Y E   C E N T E R -
Overexposure To UV Rays Can Lead to Eye Diseases

With Summer right around the corner, more people will be spending time outdoors and UV protection should be on our minds.  Unfortunately, most people think about the protection of their skin when they should also be considering the safety of their eyes.  In fact, according to the American Optometric Association's (AOA) American Eye-Q survey, only one-third of Americans said UV protection is the most improtant factor they consider when purchasing sunglasses.  Whether it's cloudy or sunny, Summer or Winter, optometrists urge Americans to take measures to protect their eyes from  the sun's UV rays in order to decrease the risk of eye diseases and disorders.
Overexposure to UV rays is quite serious and can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, or, in some cases, skin cancer around the eyelids.  Other disorders that can occur are abnormal growths on the eye's surface and even sunburn of the eyes.  These conditions can cause blurred vision, irritation, redness, tearing and temporary vision loss and, in some instances even more severe damage to the eyes.
Eveny more concerning is the lack of awareness surrounding the potential effects of overexposure to UV radiation.  According to the American Eye-Q survey, 35 percent of adults are unaware of the eye health risks associated with spending too much time in the sun without the proper protection.
The following top five tips from the American Optometric Association may help prevent eye and vision damage from overexposure to UV radiation:  
  1. Wear protective eye wear any time the eyes are exposed to UV rays, even on cloudy days and during the winter.
  2. Look for quality sunglasses or contact lenses that offer good protection.  Sunglasses or protective contact lenses should block 99-100 % of UV-A and UV-B radiation and screen out 75-90% of visible light.
  3. Check to make sure sunglass lenses are perfectly matched in color and free of distortions or imperfections.
  4. Purchase gray-colored lenses because they reduce light intensity without altering the color of object to provide the most natural color vision.  Brown or amber-colored lenses may be better for those who are visually impaired because they increase contrast as well as reduce light intensity.
  5. Don't forget protection for young children and teenagers who typically spend more time in the sun than adults and are at a greater risk for damage. 

A good way to monitor eye health, maintain good vision and keep up-to-date on the latest in UV protection is by scheduling periodic coomprehensive eye exams with an eye doctor.  The doctors at the UEC recommend that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam.  Your doctor would then recommend how frequently your eye shoudl be examined from then on.  To schedule an appointment for an eye examination at the UEC call 212-938-4001.

- R E S E A R C H -
Graduate Students Successfully Compete for National Awards to attend Vision Science Research Meetings and NEI Summer Research Training Program  

Mr. Robert Ennis has been awarded $500 to attend the Vision Science Society 9VSS) meeting in Sarasota, Florida in May.  His project title is "Physiological signature of time-varying color after-images" and his advisor is Dr. Qasim Zaidi.


Mr. Naveen Yadav has been awarded $750 to attend ARVO in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, also in May.  His project title is "Effect of Different Stimulus Configuration on the Visually Evoked Potential (VEP)".  His advisor is Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda.


The following students successfully competed for one of eight spots in a National Eye Institute (NEI) sponsored summer research training program hosted by SUNY College of Optometry.


Jennifer Gould, Joanne Malek, Stefanie Naumovitz, Irene Tran, Kevin Willeford 


Each student will receive approximately $4,400 while in the program.  The program directors are Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda and Dr. Jerome Feldman.  This ten week program is intended to encourage optometry students to enter careers involving vision science and optometric research along with clinical patient care. 



Dr. Qasim Zaidi was quoted in an article that appeared in The New York Times entitled "Crossing the Line" on April 14, 2011.  The article discussed the return of stripes in the fashion world and how society is drawn to stripes.





Dr. Terry Scheid gave a lecture titled "Logical Contact Prescribing for the Irregular Cornea" at the Nassau County Optometric Association meeting, April 12 in Westbury, New York.  

- P E R S O N N E L -


*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 2011, SUNY College of Optometry, All rights reserved.
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