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Research Overview

The NYU Department of Ophthalmology is an international center for study of vision, visual neuroscience, and the eye. From John E. Weeks, discoverer of Koch-Weeks bacillus in the first decade of this century, to cutting-edge molecular biology for the next century, the NYU Department of Ophthalmology is at the lead of medical research.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness Research Center

In the past year, the investigators at the Foundation Fighting Blindness Research Center for the Study of Retinal Degenerations and Allied Diseases at New York University School of Medicine have made great progress towards our research goals. We have long been interested in the development and refinement of measures that can provide information about sites of retinal diseases as well as measures that may be used for eventual therapies. These include measuring local electrophysiological responses from the eye (multifocal ERG recordings) as well as measuring local behavioral responses.

 

Our recent work has focused on determining the amount of variability in these tests, so that these measures may be utilized for assessment of therapeutic interventions. In the previous grant years, we have examined the test-retest repeatability of visual acuity, threshold visual fields and multifocal ERG measures in control subjects and in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative retinal disease. More recently, we have begun to examine the test-retest repeatability of other, more ‘higher-order’ measures of visual function. These measures include spot detection (as measured on a threshold visual field test), pattern detection and letter identification. The last measure, letter identification, will be useful for assessing performance in reading rehabilitation studies.

 

In collaboration with the University of Illinois, we compared various retinal locations for reading rehabilitation in patients with decreased central vision due to macular degeneration. All of these studies were directed toward improving visual function and the quality of life in patients with visual impairment.