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Fuensanta Vera-Diaz, PhD, OD

Research Profile

BSc in Optics and Optometry, Facultad de Óptica y Optometría, Universidad de Murcia, Spain; OD, NECO; PhD in Optometry, Optometry and Vision Science Division, University of Bradford, United Kingdom

email: vera_diazf@neco.edu
phone: 617-587-5685

Research Interests

Dr. Vera-Diaz is primarily interested in investigating the effect of image perception on visual functioning in (1) diseases and disorders (eg, amblyopia) affecting central and peripheral vision and (2) the progression of refractive errors.

Visit Dr. Vera-Diaz’s lab.

Myopia, Peripheral Vision, Eye Movements

Her myopia research seeks to find causative factors of myopization. Dr. Vera-Diaz’s PhD work addressed optical and neural influences on the visual performance of myopic individuals. She continued to investigate the effect of various oculomotor factors that may predict phenotypes at risk for myopia during a post-doctoral position at the Children’s Vision Lab at NECO.

Dr. Vera-Diaz currently investigates the effect of various aspects of visual functioning on myopia development and progression, including fixational eye movements in outdoor and indoor environments, the interaction between central and peripheral vision, and various cues for accommodation on real 3D targets.

Blur Perception

Dr. Vera-Diaz completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School working with Dr. Eli Peli on the investigation of tolerance of blur and adaptation to blur in people with normal sight and patients with low vision. Their collaborative studies have significant clinical implications, for example, on the prescription of optical devices (e.g. multifocal lenses, IOLs) and vision enhancement aids for patients with visual impairment.

Dr. Vera-Diaz is currently investigating the effect of central and peripheral blur as cues to accommodation and the effect of peripheral blur on myopia development.

Refraction Methods

As a clinician, optometry educator, and researcher, Dr. Vera-Diaz understands the importance of accurate refraction on patients’ quality of life, as well as the effect of inaccurate refraction (defocus) on the progression of refractive errors. She stives to find the most adequate methods to prescribe correction for refractive errors in children and patients with low vision.

Amblyopia. Stereopsis. Depth perception

The standard of care for amblyopia involves optimal refractive correction followed by penalization. Compliance is a significant challenge, particularly in older children, due to reduced vision during therapy, impaired ability to function and play, cosmetic concerns, and discomfort, which often causes family conflict. New treatment methods are being developed to treat amblyopia, that promote binocularity and at the same time require little time commitment, are appealing (“cool”) to children, and minimally disrupt quality of life.

There is a need for more effective techniques to evaluate suppression and stereopsis, particularly when fine and accurate measures are required in clinical research. The importance of stereopsis and binocular vision is increasing with the widespread use of 3D technology. Dr. Vera-Diaz ise currently conducting an initial evaluation of methods to evaluate suppression and stereoacuity thresholds as effective clinical tools with the ultimate goal of developing effective clinical tools to measure stereopsis and suppression.

Current Collaborators

Peter Bex, PhD, Schepens Eye Research Institute, MEEI, Harvard Medical School
Projects: Myopes Ability to See Blur and Accommodate to Virtual 3D Images; Peripheral Awareness and the Development of Refractive Error; Development of Feasible Methods to Clinically Evaluate Suppression and Stereopsis Thresholds in Studies of Amblyopia; Indoor and Outdoor Eye Movements and Refractive Error

James L. Fanelli, OD, FAAO, Cape Fear Eye Institute ODPA, Wilmington NC and the SENSA study group Project: The Study of Eye Movements and Number Naming Speed in Adults (SENSA)

Jane Gwiazda, PhD, NECO
Project: Effects of Myopic Defocus on Choroidal Thickness and Axial Length

Catherine Johnson, OD, FAAO, NECO
Projects: Initial Evaluation of the Eyetronix Flicker Glass, a Novel Amblyopia Therapy; Enhanced Clinical Readiness for Optometry Students Entering Second Year

MiYoung Kwon, PhD, Schepens Eye Research Institute, MEEI, Harvard Medical School
Project: Development of Feasible Methods to Clinically Evaluate Suppression and Stereopsis Thresholds in Studies of Amblyopia

Guido Maiello, MS; PhD Candidate, University College London; Visiting Research Scholar at Schepens Eye Research Institute, MEEI, Harvard Medical School Project: Myopes’ Ability to See Blur and Accommodate to Virtual 3D Images

Bruce Moore, OD, NECO
Projects: Development of Feasible Methods to Clinically Evaluate Suppression and Stereopsis Thresholds in Studies of Amblyopia; Initial Evaluation of the Eyetronix Flicker Glass, a Novel Amblyopia Therapy

Debora Nickla, PhD, NECO
Project: Effects of Myopic Defocus on Choroidal Thickness and Axial Length

Frances Rucker, MCOptom, PhD, NECO
Project: Effects of Myopic Defocus on Choroidal Thickness and Axial Length

Frank Thorn, OD, PhD, NECO
Projects: Peripheral Awareness and the Development of Refractive Error; Development of Feasible Methods to Clinically Evaluate Suppression and Stereopsis Thresholds in Studies of Amblyopia; Portable Wavefront Sensor for Measuring Refractive Errors and Optical Aberrations

Initial Evaluation of the Eyetronix Flicker Glass, a Novel Amblyopia Therapy, NECO

William J. Gleason, OD, ForeSight Regulatory Inc, Wilmington, MA
Eric Hussey, OD, Private Practice, Spokane, WA
David Spivey, OD, Private practice, Ft. Worth, TX
Gayathri Srinivasan, OD, MS, NECO
Paulette Tattersall, DipPharm, MSc, NECO

Portable Wavefront Sensor for Measuring Refractive Errors and Optical Aberrations, Team Eye Madrid-MIT M+Vision Consortium

Shivang R. Dave, PhD
Nicholas Durr, PhD
Daryl Lim, PhD
Eduardo Lage Negro, PhD

Research Students

Kristen L. Kerber, 2016 OD/MS Candidate, NECO
Projects: Myopes Ability to See Blur and Accommodate to Virtual 3D Images; Peripheral Awareness and the Development of Refractive Error

Amy Zhang, 2016 OD/MS Candidate, NECO
Project: Indoor and Outdoor Eye Movements and Refractive Error

Anne Bertolet, 2017 OD/MS Candidate, NECO
Project: Effects of Myopic Defocus on Choroidal Thickness and Axial Length

Steven Weifenbach, 2017 OD Candidate, NECO
Project: Development of Feasible Methods to Clinically Evaluate Suppression and Stereopsis Thresholds in Studies of Amblyopia

Professional Memberships

Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO), USA
Massachusetts Society of Optometrists, USA
American Optometric Association, USA
Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology, USA

Featured Peer-Reviewed Publications

Original Articles:

  1. Durr NJ, Dave SR, Vera-Diaz FA, Lim D, Dorronsoro C, Marcos S, Thorn F, Lage E. Clinical evaluation of a low-cost wavefront aberrometer for measuring refractive errors. Optometry and Vision Science, 2015 (accepted for publication). 
  2. Dougherty BE, Kehler KB, Jamara R, Patterson N, Valenti D, Vera-Diaz FA. Abandonment of low-vision devices in an outpatient population. Optometry and Vision Science 2011;88(11):1283-7. 
  3. Vera-Diaz FA, Woods, RL, Peli E. Shape and Individual Variability of the Blur Adaptation Curve. Vision Research 2010; 50:1452-61. 
  4. Woods RL, C Randall C, Vera-Diaz FA, Peli E. A Relationship between Tolerance of Blur and Personality. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2010; 51(11):6077-82. 
  5. Vera-Diaz FA, Peli E. Monocular Fixation with the Optic Nerve Head: a case report. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 2008;28:283-90. 
  6. Fullerton M, Woods RL, Vera-Diaz FA, Peli E. Measuring perceived video quality of MPEG enhancement by people with impaired vision. Journal of the Optical Society of America A 2007;24(12): B174-87. 
  7. Vera-Diaz FA, McGraw PV, Strang NC, Whitaker D. A psychophysical investigation of axial expansion in myopic eyes. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2005;46:758-63. 
  8. He JC, Gwiazda J, Thorn F, Held R, Vera-Diaz FA. The association of wavefront aberrations and accommodative lag in myopes. Vision Research 2005;45:285-90.
  9. Vera-Diaz FA, Gwiazda J, Held R, Thorn F. Increased accommodation following adaptation to image blur in myopes. Journal of Vision 2004;4:1111-9. 
  10. Hazel CA, Strang NA, Vera-Diaz FA. Open- and closed-loop regressions compared in myopic and emmetropic subjects. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 2003;23:265–70. 
  11. Vera-Diaz FA, Strang NC, Winn B. Nearwork induced transient myopia during myopia progression. Current Eye Research 2002;24(4):289-95. 

Books & book chapters:

  1. Vera-Díaz FA and Doble N. The Human Eye and Adaptive Optics. In: “Topics in Adaptive Optics”. Editor Robert K. Tyson. Intech Open Access Publishing. 2012. 
  2. Vera-Diaz FA. Myopia. In: “Ocular Periphery and Disorders”. Editor Darlene A. Dartt. Oxford: Academic Press. 2011. 
  3. Vera-Diaz FA. Myopia. In: Darlene A. Dartt, editor. “Encyclopedia of the Eye”, Vol 3. Oxford: Academic Press; 2010. p. 98-105. 
  4. Sobrado Calvo P, Lara Lacárcel P, Vera-Diaz, FA. 2008. Guía Docente y Didáctica de prácticas de Optometría/Educational and Didactic Practices of Optometry. Editum. Murcia, Spain. 

Featured Peer-Reviewed Presentations

  1. Kerber K, Maiello, G, Thorn F, Bex JP, Vera-Diaz FA. “Myopes’ Ability to Accurately Accommodate to Blur Cues in Virtual 3D Images”. ARVO 2015 Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado. Poster #538. 
  2. Vera-Diaz FA, Maiello, G, Kerber K, Thorn F, Bex JP. “Myopes’ Ability to Discriminate and Detect Blur”. ARVO 2015 Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado. Poster #537. 
  3. Kerber K, Bex JP, Vera-Diaz FA. “Peripheral Awareness and the Effect of Central Attentional Load in Myopia”. AAO 2014 Annual Meeting, Denver, CO. Poster #175. 
  4. Vera-Diaz FA, Srinivasan G, Johnson CA, Hussey E, Spivey D, Gleason W, Tattersall P and Moore BD. Initial Evaluation of the Novel EFG Therapy for the Treatment of Amblyopia. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2014;55: ARVO E-Abstract 815. 
  5. Moore BD, Vera-Diaz FA, Srinivasan G, Johnson CA, Hussey E, Spivey D, Gleason W and Tattersall P. Improved Compliance with a Novel EFG Therapy for the Treatment of Amblyopia. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2014;55: ARVO E-Abstract 802. 
  6. Vera-Diaz FA, Hussey E, Srinivasan G, Johnson C, Spivey D, Gleason W, Tattersall P, Moore B. “A Novel Amblyopia Treatment that Promotes Binocularity, Increases Compliance and Does Not Constrain Daily Activities”. AAO 2014 Annual Meeting, Denver, CO. Poster #11. 
  7. Vera-Diaz FA, Kerber KL, Thorn F, Bex PJ. “Peripheral Awareness and Attention in Myopia”. 14th International Myopia Conference, Asilomar, CA. August 20th 2013. 
  8. Vera-Diaz FA, Kark S, Woods, RL and Peli E. “Blur Adaptation and Contrast Sensitivity”. American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting, Boston, MA. October 14th 2011. 
  9. Vera-Diaz FA, Woods, RL and Peli E. “Adaptation to Blur: Individual Variability and Clinical Applications”. Fifth Annual Berkeley Conference on Translational Research: Innovative Solutions to Common Optical Problems. June 25th 2011. 
  10. Vera-Diaz FA, Peli E. Adaptation to Image Blur in the Peripheral Field of Normally-Sighted Observers and Patients with Central Field Loss. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2009;50: ARVO E-Abstract 3047. 
  11. Woods RL, Vera-Diaz FA, To L, Peli E. Microperimetry: Was that spot really presented there? Vision 2008, 9th International Conference in Low Vision, Montreal, Canada, July 2008. ARVO E-Abstract 134.12. 
  12. Vera-Diaz FA, Peli E. The blind spot as principal monocular visual direction: a rare case of motor adaptation. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2007;48: ARVO E-Abstract 937. 
  13. Woods RL, Vera-Diaz FA, Lichtenstein L, Peli E. Spatial Alignment of Microperimeters Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2007;48: ARVO E-Abstract 144.
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