Children’s Vision Lab

Dr. Vera-Diaz has developed a successful research program at NECO, funded by the NIH. She investigates mechanisms contributing to the development of myopia, specifically, optical, retinal and visual processing structures and functions of the human visual system.

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People

CVL Group Photo 2

Faculty

Fuensanta Vera-Diaz
Fuensanta A. Vera-Diaz, OD, PhD
Principal Investigator
Associate Professor of Optometry
Dr. Vera-Diaz is a clinical scientist primarily interested in investigating the effect of image perception on visual functioning in the progression of refractive errors, particularly myopia. She has a strong publication record and serves as a reviewer for multiple journals and is a reviewer in NIH study panel sections. Dr. Vera-Diaz also leads our Myopia Control Clinic at our Commonwealth NECO Center for Eye Care clinic.

Kristen Kerber
Kristen L. Kerber, OD, MS, FAAO
Associate Professor of Optometry
Projects: PICNIC (Investigating Contributing factors to Nearsightedness In Children). CHAMP: study of NVK-002 in children with myopia.

Thanasis Panorgias
Thanasis Panorgias, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Vision Sciences
Projects: PICNIC (Investigating Contributing factors to Nearsightedness In Children). Recording gaze-corrected electroretinograms using eye-tracking.

Peter Bex
Peter J. Bex, PhD
Chair and Professor of Psychology
Projects: PICNIC (Investigating Contributing factors to Nearsightedness In Children). 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. Eye Movements and Refractive Error.

Ashutosh Jnawali
Ashutosh Jnawali, BScOptom, PhD, FAAO
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Projects: PICNIC (Investigating Contributing factors to Nearsightedness In Children).

Current Students

Courtney Liang, NECO OD/MS ’23 candidate
Project: Effect of Low Dose Atropine Eye Drops on the Ocular Structure and Function and Reliability of intraocular pressure measurements through the conjunctiva using an iCare tonometer.

Morgan Zbikowski, NECO OD/MS ’24 candidate
Project: PICNIC study: Time Spent Outdoors by Children with High or Low Risk of Myopia.

Rachel Harmon, NECO OD/MS ’25 candidate
Project: TBD.

Becky Sue, NECO OD ’22 candidate
Project: Choroidal and Retinal Thickness Profiles in Children Receiving Myopia Control Treatment.

Jade Liu, NECO OD ’22 candidate
Project: CHAMP clinical trial coordinator and Evaluation of the Foraging INteractive D-prime (FIND) Contrast Sensitivity Function (CSF) Test.

Ashley Nhan, NECO OD ’23 candidate
Project: Labs’ social media coordinator.

Twinkle Seghal, NECO OD ’24 candidate
Project: CHAMP study clinical trial coordinator.

Joanna Liu, NECO OD ’25 candidate
Project: CHAMP study clinical trial coordinator.

Alumni

Emily Jeon, NECO OD/MS ’21
Project: Blur Perception and Retinal Responses in Myopia.

Gabriella Velonias, NECO OD/MS ’20
Project: Peripheral Signals in Human Myopia.

Enian Kallamata, NECO OD/MS ’20
Project: Ocular Shape and Visual Function in Anisometropia.

Lenna Walker, NECO OD/MS ’18
Project: Blur Perception and Eye Movements: Relationship to Refractive Error.

Maria Coward, NECO OD/MS ’18
Project: The Effect of Aging on Peripheral Chromatic Sensitivity.

Anne Bertolet, NECO OD/MS ’17
Project: Effects of Myopic Defocus on Choroidal Thickness and Axial Length.

Kristen L. Kerber, NECO OD/MS ’16
Projects: Myopes Ability to See Blur and Accommodate to Virtual 3D Images; Peripheral Awareness and the Development of Refractive Error.

Steven Weifenbach, NECO OD ’17
Project: Development of Feasible Methods to Clinically Evaluate Suppression and Stereopsis Thresholds in Studies of Amblyopia.

Amy Zhang, NECO OD ’16, MS ’17
Project: Indoor and Outdoor Eye Movements and Refractive Error.

Research Projects

Collaborators at Work

Our myopia research seek to find causative factors of myopization. We hypothesize that deficits in retinal image quality, retinal function and visual processing lead to a cycle of abnormal representation of blur, which may interfere with normal emmetropization and cause excessive ocular elongation and myopia.

Dr. Vera-Diaz and her team aim to identify specific factors that affect image quality and the processing of such images, as well as their interactions. Factors that affect the perception of blur and image quality, and may therefore be catalysts of the failure to control ocular elongation and myopia development in children. They measure peripheral vision and binocular vision behavioral factors and correlate them with individual 3D eye models to understand how these signals affect retinal image quality. They also measure fixational eye movements in outdoor and indoor environments, the interaction between central and peripheral vision, and various cues for accommodation on real 3D targets.

Understanding the signals that activate myopia development and progression will help us and other researchers to design future clinical studies and design more effective optical treatments for the prevention and control of myopia, such as special-design contact lenses, or virtual reality therapies. Our ultimate research goal is to develop individualized interventions for myopia prevention in children at risk for myopia.

A major study towards this goal is the National Eye Institute-sponsored project (NIH R01 EY030518-01) titled longitudinal evaluation of optical and neural factors leading to juvenile myopia. The study has been named PICNIC (Investigating Contributing factors to Nearsightedness In Children).

PICNIC

Dr. Vera-Diaz brings her clinical experience on myopia control to clinical trials. She is currently NECO’s site PI of two a multicenter FDA phase III study on myopia control: the CHAMP (NCT03350620) study using NVK-002 eye drops in children and the FIN study using a novel eye glasses design.

At NECO’s Myopia Control Clinic, we obtain data on the effectiveness of the various treatments used. We are particularly interested in the effect on choroidal and retinal thickness in myopia control and how to more effectively apply the available treatments to ensure success in controlling myopia.

In the lab, we investigate the effect of low dose atropine eye drops on the ocular structure and function and the effect of optical treatments (glasses and contact lenses) in the wearer’s visual performance.

Faculty with Patient

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. We currently investigate the effect of central and peripheral blur as cues to accommodation and the effect of peripheral blur on myopia development.

Dr. Kerber

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 and higher order aberrations) on the progression of refractive errors. She strives to find the most adequate methods to prescribe correction for refractive errors in children and patients with low vision.

We currently investigate the effect of binocularity and eye preference in binocular refraction and are developing a novel interacting contrast sensitivity test.

Student Collaborator

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 has conducted 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. We currently investigate the effect of binocularity and accommodation in refractive error development.

Research Test

Publications

Dr. Vera-Diaz has a strong publication record, with many peer-reviewed publications in high-quality peer-reviewed journals related to myopia and several book chapters.

NCBI Publications

  1. Panorgias A, Aigbe S, Jeong E, Otero C, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA. Retinal Responses to Simulated Optical Blur Using a Novel Dead Leaves ERG Stimulus. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2021;62(10):1.
  2. Logan NS, Radhakrishnan H, Cruickshank FE, Allen PM, Bandela PK, Davies LN, Hasebe S, Khanal S, Schmid KL, Vera-Diaz FA, Wolffsohn JS. IMI – Accommodation and Binocular Vision in Myopia Development and Progression. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2021;62(5):4.
  3. Kosovicheva A, Ferreira A, Vera-Diaz FA, Bex PJ. Effects of Temporal Frequency on Binocular Deficits in Amblyopia. Vision Research. 2019;163:52-62.
  4. Otero C, Aldaba M, Díaz-Doutón F, Vera-Diaz FA, Pujol J. Stimulus Unpredictability in Time, Magnitude, and Direction on Accommodation. Optometry & Vision Science. 2019;96(6):424-33.
  5. Jones L, Drobe B, González-Méijome JM, Gray L, Kratzer T, Newman S, Nichols JJ, Ohlendorf A, Ramdass S, Santodomingo-Rubido J, Schmid KL, Tan D, Tan KO, Vera-Diaz FA, Wong YL, Gifford KL, Resnikoff S. IMI – Industry Guidelines and Ethical Considerations for Myopia Control Report. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2019;60(3):M161-M183
  6. Vera-Diaz FA, Bex PJ, Ferreira A, Kosovicheva A. Binocular temporal visual processing in myopia. Journal of Vision. 2018;18(11):17.
  7. Otero C, Aldaba M, Díaz-Doutón F, Vera-Diaz FA, Pujol J. Random Changes of Accommodation Stimuli: An Automated Extension of the Flippers Accommodative Facility Test. Current eye research. 2018;1-8.
  8. Maiello G, Kerber KL, Thorn F, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA. Vergence driven accommodation with simulated disparity in myopia and emmetropia. Experimental eye research. 2018; 166:96-105.
  9. Vera-Diaz FA, Woods, RL, Peli E. Blur Adaptation to Central Retinal Disease. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2017; 58(9):3646-55.
  10.   Maiello G, Walker L, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA. Blur perception throughout the visual field in myopia and emmetropia. Journal of vision. 2017; 17(5):3
  11.   Otero C, Aldaba M, Vera-Diaz FA, Pujol J. Effect of Experimental Conditions in the Accommodation Response in Myopia. Optometry and vision science. 2017; 94(12):1120-1128.
  12.   Kerber KL, Thorn F, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA. Peripheral Contrast Sensitivity and Attention in Myopia. Vision Research. 2016; 125:49-54.
  13.   Vera-Diaz FA, Moore B, Hussey E, Srinivasan G, Johnson C. A Flicker Therapy for the Treatment of Amblyopia. Vision Development and Rehabilitation. 2016; 2(2):105-14.
  14.   Vera-Diaz FA and Johnson C. Enhanced Perceived Clinical Readiness for Second Year Optometry Interns. Optometric Education. 2016; 41(3).
  15.   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; 92(12):1140-7.
  16.   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.
  17.   Vera-Diaz FA, Woods, RL, Peli E. Shape and Individual Variability of the Blur Adaptation Curve. Vision Research 2010; 50:1452-61.
  18.   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.
  19.   Vera-Diaz FA, Peli E. Monocular Fixation with the Optic Nerve Head: a case report. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 2008; 28:283-90.
  20.   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.
  21.   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.
  22.   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.
  23.   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.
  24.   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.
  25.   Vera-Diaz FA, Strang NC, Winn B. Nearwork induced transient myopia during myopia progression. Current Eye Research 2002; 24(4):289-95.
  1. Vera-Diaz FA, Doble N. The Human Eye and Adaptive Optics. In: “Topics in Adaptive Optics”. Editor Robert K. Tyson. Intech Open Access Publishing. 2012. DOI: 10.5772/31073. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/books/topics-in-adaptive-optics/the-need-for-adaptive-optics-in-the-human-eye
  2. Vera-Diaz FA. Myopia. In: Ocular Periphery and Disorders. Editors: Darlene A. Dartt, Peter Bex, Patricia D’Amore, Reza Dana, Linda McLoon, and Jerry Niederkorn. 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 F, Vera-Diaz, FA. 2008. Guía Docente y Didáctica de prácticas de Optometría/Educational and Didactic Practices of Optometry. Editum. Murcia, Spain.

Maiello G, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA, inventors; The Schepens Eye Research Institute, Inc., assignee. Prevention and treatment of myopia. World patent application WO2015027218A1. 2015. USA.

  1. Vera-Diaz FA, Jnawali A, Bex PJ. Peripheral Blur Perception and Optical Quality in Young Children. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2021;62(8):3539111.
  2. Jnawali A, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA. Evaluation of Retinal Shape and Thickness with Wide Field OCT in Young Children. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2021;62(8):3547073.
  3. Panorgias T, Jnawali A, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA. Retinal and Perceptual Responses to Peripheral Optical Blur in Children. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2021;62(8):3540486.
  4. Liu J, Bex PJ, Jnawali A, Vera-Diaz FA. Evaluation of the Novel Foraging Interactive D-prime (FInD) CSF Test. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2021;62(8):3542564.
  5. Vera-Diaz FA, Baldovino R, Bex PJ. Target Depth and Field of View Effect in Dynamic Accommodation and Vergence Responses of Myopes and Emmetropes. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2020;61(7):543.
  6. Jeong E, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA. Perceptual Responses to Peripheral Optical Blur in Myopia and Emmetropia. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2020;61(7):546.
  7. Gaiser H, Pangilinan D, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA. Evaluation of Ocular Dominance Tests in Normal Vision. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2020;61(7):5077.
  8. Velonias G, Otero C, Kallamata E, Vera-Diaz FA. Peripheral Retinal Contours in Emmetropia and Myopia using Biometric and Optical Quality Parameters. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2019;60(9):4836.
  9. Aigbe S, Panorgias T, Jeong E, Otero C, Bex PJ, Vera-Diaz FA. Cross-Retinal ERG Responses to Simulated Optical Blur in Myopia. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2019;60(9):4369.
  10.   Kallamata E, Coletta N, Velonias G, Vera-Diaz, FA. Peripheral Retinal Profiles and Thickness in Anisomyopia. ARVO, The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2019;60(9):4364.
  11.   Vera-Diaz FA, Otero C, Bex PJ. Effect of Aberrations on Suprathreshold and Threshold Discrimination Tasks. The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2018;59:0315.
  12.   Otero C, Kallamata E, Velonias G, Tabernero J, Vera-Diaz, FA (presenter). Retinal Contour and Peripheral Optical Quality Interactions in Isomyopia and Anisomyopia. The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2018;59:4937.
  13.   Coletta N, Kallamata E, Vera-Diaz FA. Refractive Error and Fixation Stability. The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2018; 59:0104.
  14.   Coward M, Vera-Diaz FA, Panorgias T. The Effect of Age on Parafoveal Chromatic Sensitivity The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2018;59:0254.
  15.   Pujol J, Otero C, Aldaba M, Lopez-Bausili S, Díaz-Doutón F, Vera-Diaz FA. An automated accommodative facility test with unpredictable stimuli. The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology. 2018;59:0263.

Participate

Child getting an eye screening

Does your child wear eyeglasses for nearsightedness (myopia)? If so, we need your help.

This research seeks children aged 6 to 12 who are nearsightedness and need correction of their sight using eye glasses. Volunteers will be compensated for participating in this research study. The Children’s Vision Lab is at the New England College of Optometry located in Boston. For further details or to book an appointment, contact Lilly Cheam at 857-357-4742.

Email [email protected]
Phone Number 857-357-4742
Location New England College of Optometry, Boston, MA