Color image of Optical Coherence Tomography


NECO’s areas of research are broad and have the potential to impact a global community. As we further our collective understanding of the eye, we’re changing the way clinicians around the world examine, diagnose, and treat patients.

Research at NECO is multidisciplinary. Ongoing studies employ a variety of technical approaches, ranging from behavioral and psychophysical to physiological, anatomical and biochemical. This research is broadly collaborative, both inside and outside of NECO.

The expertise of the research faculty has led to significant external funding of research that has contributed to new knowledge. Our multidisciplinary approach to research has focused on issues of clinical importance in research.

Areas of Focus

The expertise at NECO spans a wide range of interests in vision science, biomedical science and disease, clinical research, and optometry education.

Dr Debora Nikla effect of blue light
The 10 days old chicks used in Dr Debora L. Nickla's research

Myopia Prevention & Treatment

Dr. Nickla’s research aims to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the development of myopia, with emphasis on how altered ocular circadian rhythms play a role. She does this work with the chicken animal model, the most studied model for work on emmetropization.

Recent evidence indicates that moderate levels of blue light are sufficient to suppress the nighttime rise in serum melatonin in humans, suggesting that luminous screens may be deleterious to sleep cycles and to other functions. Little is known however, about the effects of exposures to blue light on ocular physiology. In this paper it is testing about the effects of transient blue light exposures of various illuminances on ocular growth rates and ocular rhythms in chicks.

Published research by Dr. Ross shows how text presentation affects low vision patients.

Low Vision Rehabilitation

NECO researchers helped develop novel approaches to managing low vision, including mobile apps and telehealth. Our low vision researchers also test emerging rehabilitative technology.

Dr panorgias research
Dr. Panorgias's research using contrast reversal for the dead leaves stimulus (DLS)


The NECO researchers evaluated retinal responses to different types and magnitudes of simulated optical blur presented at specific retinal eccentricities using naturalistic images.

Digitally computed blur was applied to the entire image, or on an area outside the central 6 degrees or 12 degrees of retinal eccentricity.

Other areas of significant research efforts include:

  • Electrophysiology and color vision
  • Visual optics
  • Topical drug delivery for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy
  • The relationship between distance perception and oculomotor control



Q&As with Research Faculty

  • Headshot of Ji Chang He

    Dr. Ji-Chang He

    Gradient refractive index of the crystalline lens, and the optical and biometrical mechanisms underlying myopia development.

  • Headshot of Debora Nickla

    Dr. Debora Nickla

    Visual regulation of eye growth with the chicken model, pharmacological questions, as well as influences of visual parameters on ocular rhythms.

  • Dr. Thanasis Panorgias

    Combining recording the eye movements and the electrical signals that are being generated by the retina.

Research Faculty List

Research Highlights

  • 8,500

    Square feet

    Devoted to labs and other research-specific activities.

  • 1994

    Myopia Research Center established

    NECO researchers received the first NIH sponsored grant studying myopia.

  • 13

    Research Labs

    Our research labs produce groundbreaking findings through collaboration with students and researchers from around the world.

A Closer Look

Faculty Research Labs

Take a closer look at the faculty labs that produce and explore key areas of research in the field.

Children’s Vision Lab The Low Vision Lab

Summer Research Program

The program is designed for first year students from NECO to gain fellowship support from a research training grant (T35) from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Visit the Summer Research Program page.

College Research Statement

Get in Touch

To learn more about our research faculty, facilities, and initiatives, contact our internal research and/or graduate program offices.