Research at NECO
Education is critical to improved vision care and The New England College of Optometry has a long-standing commitment to excellence in this endeavor. However, the College is equally committed to nurturing a research environment that will contribute to a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of vision, the most effective approaches to treatments for vision problems and, when possible, an understanding that leads to prevention or cure.
The Myopia Research Center
Although the College is small compared to many other educational institutions, its research program emulates larger universities in ambition and scope. The establishment of the Myopia Research Center in 1995 is a case in point. In a bold move conceived jointly by an enterprising administration and faculty, the College has built a small but world-class research center dedicated to advancing the knowledge and treatment of myopia. In so doing, the College is responding to a worldwide need to deal with the pandemic spread of this source of visual pathology. While not generally life endangering, myopia exacts a price in visual efficiency, convenience and treatment.
The development of such a research center would bring credit to any major university. Its growth at a private, free-standing school of optometry is most unusual. Moreover, while doing it, the College has remained faithful to, and even enhanced its educational programs for optometrists, those first-line practitioners of primary care in vision and ocular pathology.
This ground-breaking center has raised teaching and research standards throughout the College and has brought prestige in a number of areas. It has led to both an expansion and an upgrading in terms of influence and federal funding. In the early years when the center was being established, leading researchers from major universities who shared this vision for a new research center joined the faculty, which quickly established the College as a leader in myopia research. Their quest for research support has been responsible for impressive growth in federal funding over the past 10 years.
The College’s researchers, with the support of the administration, have also developed joint research programs with colleagues at major universities in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, several faculty members and administrators act as reviewers for foreign government granting agencies and have visited other countries as consultants for planning national research strategies. Much of this influence came into focus when The New England College of Optometry co-hosted the Eighth International Conference on Myopia in July 2000, which was attended by 200 researchers from 17 countries.
An eye that focuses perfectly on a distant object when accommodation is relaxed is said to be emmetropic. If the eye cannot relax enough to see clearly in the distance, it is nearsighted or myopic. Learn More...
Human Vision Research
Human vision research uses non-invasive techniques to study visual performance under conditions created by the researcher. Scientists in this field study subjective and behavioral responses to visual stimuli in people with normal and abnormal vision. Learn More...
Biomedical research uses the latest concepts and techniques in biological science. Most of the researchers in the Bioscience Department study the molecular, chemical and anatomical changes associated with myopia. Learn More...
Clinical studies feature research that pertains to the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Most often, it involves testing the effects of specific therapies. Learn More...
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