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Frances Rucker, MSc, PhD, MCOptom

Research Profile

MSc, PhD in Vision Science, State University of New York, New York
MCOptom., Aston University, England

phone: 617-587-5680

Dr. Rucker is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Science and Disease and a member of the graduate studies faculty at NECO. Dr. Rucker is currently teaching Human Anatomy and Ocular Physiology. Dr. Rucker teaches these courses to students pursuing the four year doctor of optometry degree and to students in the Accelerated Optometric Degree Program. Dr. Rucker supervises masters students as part of the graduate research program. Dr. Rucker joined the faculty in 2009 and brought with her several years of clinical experience as a British optometrist, as well as research experience as a vision scientist.

Dr. Rucker earned a BSc in ophthalmic optics from Aston University, England, in 1980, and became a member of the College of Optometry in 1981. She earned a PhD in vision science from the State University of New York, New York, in 2004. Dr. Rucker held a postdoctoral position in Josh Wallman’s myopia laboratory at City College of the City University of New York for five years from 2004 to 2009.

Visit Dr. Rucker's lab.

Research Interests

Dr. Rucker studies the signals that provide cues for focusing the eye during ocular accommodation and during post-natal development. She has also looked at how near-sighted people and far-sighted people differ in their use of these signals. This research is important because once the mechanisms for controlling eye growth are understood, the environmental triggers for excessive growth can be regulated and treatments developed for controlling eye growth.

Dr. Rucker is collaborating with Dr. Rhea Eskew at Northeastern University in a study which examines the role of color vision in the development of myopia.

She is also collaborating with Dr. Falk Schroedl in the Department of Ophthalmology at Paracelsus University Salzburg, Austria. This study examines the neural pathways for the color and luminance emmetropization mechanisms.

Other recent projects, involving master’s students at the college, include collaborations with Dr. Debora Nickla. These studies have examined the molecular pathways involved in the color and luminance emmetropization mechanisms.


In 1996, Dr. Rucker received a five-year K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Training Award from the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute for a study on “Short-wavelength sensitive cones and the neural pathways for accommodation.” This was the basis of future work on cone signals in emmetropization and for her work on the environmental triggers for myopia.

More recently Laura Goldberg and Dr. Rucker have received funding from the Beta Sigma Kappa Foundation to study the molecular signals for luminance and color emmetropization mechanisms.


Dr. Falk Schroedl
Dr. Debora Nickla
Dr. Rhea Eskew
Dr. Thanasis Panorgias
Dr. Kevin Houston
Dr. Fuensanta Vera-Diaz
Dr. Jane Gwiazda

Professional Memberships

Dr. Rucker maintains a professional membership with the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and with the British College of Optometry and the Association for Optical Practitioners.

Featured Publications and Presentations

Rucker, F. J. (2013) The role of luminance and chromatic cues in emmetropization (Invited review). Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics,33, 3, 193-389.

Rucker, F.J. and Wallman, J. (2012) Chicks Use Changes In Luminance and Chromatic Contrast as Indicators of the Sign of Defocus. Journal of Vision. 12 (6).

Rucker, F.J., & Wallman, J. (2009). Chick eyes compensate for chromatic simulations of hyperopic and myopic defocus: Evidence that the eye uses longitudinal chromatic aberration to guide eye-growth. Vision Res, 49, 1775-1783.

Stark, L. R., Kruger, P. B., Rucker, F. J., Swanson, W. H., Schmidt, N., Hu, C., Rutman, H. Borgovan, T., Burke, S., Badar, M., and Shah, R. (2009). Potential signal to accommodation from the Stiles–Crawford effect and ocular monochromatic aberrations. Journal of Modern Optics, 56, 20, 2203 - 2216.

Rucker, F.J., & Wallman, J. (2008). Cone signals for spectacle-lens compensation: Differential responses to short and long wavelengths. Vision Res, 48 (19), 1980-1991.

Rucker, F.J., & Osorio, D. (2008). The effects of longitudinal chromatic aberration and a shift in the peak of the middle-wavelength sensitive cone fundamental on cone contrast. Vision Res, 48 (19), 1929-1939.

Lopez-Gil, N., Rucker, F.J., Stark, L.R., Badar, M., Borgovan, T., Burke, S., & Kruger, P.B. (2007). Effect of third-order aberrations on dynamic accommodation. Vision Res, 47 (6), 755-765.

Rucker, F.J., & Kruger, P.B. (2006). Cone contributions to signals for accommodation and the relationship to refractive error. Vision Res, 46 (19), 3079-3089.

Kruger, P.B., Rucker, F.J., Hu, C., Rutman, H., Schmidt, N.W., & Roditis, V. (2005). Accommodation with and without short-wavelength-sensitive cones and chromatic aberration. Vision Res, 45 (10), 1265-1274.

Rucker, F.J., & Kruger, P.B. (2004a). Accommodation responses to stimuli in cone contrast space. Vision Res, 44 (25), 2931-2944.

Rucker, F.J., & Kruger, P.B. (2004b). The role of short-wavelength sensitive cones and chromatic aberration in the response to stationary and step accommodation stimuli. Vision Res, 44 (2), 197-208.

Stark, L.R., Lee, R.S., Kruger, P.B., Rucker, F.J., & Ying Fan, H. (2002). Accommodation to simulations of defocus and chromatic aberration in the presence of chromatic misalignment. Vision Res, 42 (12), 1485-1498.

Rucker, F.J., & Kruger, P.B. (2001). Isolated short-wavelength sensitive cones can mediate a reflex accommodation response. Vision Res, 41 (7), 911-922.

Frances Rucker, photo