Four year optometry programs can be rigorous. A combination of didactic studies and clinical work leaves little free time as students work towards their degree. However, some students make time to earn a Masters in Science while earning their OD degree. This dual OD/MS degree program at New England College of Optometry, NECO, allows students to take additional graduate-level courses and seminars, conduct a research project with a mentor, and complete a thesis with a thesis defense. While pursuing these dual degrees, recent NECO graduate Laura Goldberg, OD/MS ‘16, even submitted an original research paper. For this final accomplishment, she was chosen as the 2017 Julius F. Neumueller Award in Optics recipient. The award is presented to an individual who successfully submits an original, first-authored research paper while still a OD student by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation.
“Receiving the Julius F. Neumueller Award in Optics is truly a great honor,” notes Dr. Goldberg. “Publishing my thesis research has allowed me to understand how much hard work and dedication is involved in original clinical research and subsequent publication. Being part of the Master of Science program at NECO has proven to be one of my most valuable experiences and given me the opportunity to make a small contribution to new innovations in vision science.”
Dr. Goldberg’s manuscript was co-authored by Laura’s mentor, Dr. Frances Rucker, and accepted for publication by Vision Research in 2016. Dr. Goldberg worked on this research with Dr. Rucker during her studies at NECO pursuing joint OD/MS degrees. Dr. Goldberg explains that “Participating in the dual OD/MS degree program at NECO has enabled me to perform novel clinical research from the very beginning.” She began studying the control of myopia by participating in the T35 Summer Research program and continued throughout her time at the College.
“The manuscript was the first to demonstrate how visual stimulation can enhance the myopia protective effects of atropine, a commonly used treatment for the prevention of myopia,” notes Dr. Rucker. “This is an important finding, and an impressive achievement, since myopia prevalence is reaching epidemic proportions and treatments for this disease are limited.” Dr. Goldberg expressed her appreciation noting, “My deepest gratitude goes to my research advisor, Dr. Frances, Rucker, without whose steadfast guidance and support this amazing experience would not have been possible.”
Following a year long residency program following residency, Dr. Goldberg is poised to join two successful private practices in Syracuse, New York, splitting her time and contributing to both.
About New England College of Optometry
New England College of Optometry, NECO, is an independent graduate college of optometry that educates students for careers in eye care delivery, research and education. For over 120 years, the New England College of Optometry has been educating optometrists and leaders in the field. Originally founded in 1894 as the Klein School of Optics, NECO prepares the next generation of eye care providers, educators, leaders, and innovators through a rigorous curriculum and extensive clinical experiences. Through a vast network of clinical affiliations, our students put patient care first, providing vision care to children, older adults, the homeless, and individuals with disabilities through our mobile eye clinic, satellite clinics in schools, homeless shelters, community health centers, and VA medical centers.
Media Contact: Ingrid Hoogendoorn, Director of Communications