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NECO Professor Awarded Scientific Research Career Development Award

November 21, 2016 Dr. Fuensanta Vera-Diaz, Assistant Professor at New England College of Optometry (NECO) has received the prestigious Scientific Research Career Development Award from the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). Up to two of Career Development Awards are given annually to optometric educators and scientists involved in research at schools and colleges of optometry who have high potential to acquire future extramural funding. The Academy created this award to help optometric researchers obtain large scale federal support and to increase the number of optometrists who receive such support. She was presented with the award at the Read more about this award from the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. Vera-Diaz received the award at the American Academy of Optometry's annual meeting, Academy 2016, in Anaheim this November. In presenting the award, Susan A. Cotter, OD, MS, FAAO, Professor at Southern California College of Optometry noted, “It is wonderful that the Academy of Optometry, together with the New England College of Optometry, are able to support Dr. Vera-Diaz in her research endeavors.  It is gratifying that this award went to such a deserving and promising young vision scientist. I think that we can look forward to great things from Dr. Vera-Diaz.”

Dr. Vera-Diaz’s award includes funding of $50K per year for two years from the AAO, plus matching funds from NECO. The funds will be used for her project, “Peripheral and Binocular Retinal Signals in Human Myopia.”  The goal of the project is to identify the specific aspects of retinal image quality that are associated with the development of myopia (nearsightedness) in each individual. This is a key question in understanding the mechanism of myopia and possibly in creating successful interventions to treat it. 

Dr. Vera-Diaz will measure various peripheral vision and binocular vision behavioral factors and correlate them with individual 3D eye models to understand how these signals affect retinal image quality. The results from this study ultimately may be used in clinical trials aimed at developing individual optical correction and 3D digital therapies to slow the progression of existing myopia and attempt to prevent myopia in at-risk children.  Learn more about Dr. Vera-Diaz and her research.

About New England College of Optometry

New England College of Optometry is an independent graduate college of optometry that educates students for careers in eye care delivery, research and education. NECO was founded in 1894 as the Klein School of Optics, and is the oldest continuously operating school of optometry in the United States. 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.

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