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Courses

Completion of the program requires a total of 60 credit hours of which 20 credit hours are from course work and 40 credit hours are from the research thesis. A total of 14 credit hours are required from core curriculum described below and an additional 6 credit hours are required from elective courses. 

BVS 900: Special Topics. (1-4 credit hours)

Individual study and advanced topics in the vision sciences. 

BVS 901: Teaching in the Vision Sciences (2 credit hours)

Clinicians with additional scientific/research training (clinician-scientists) are invaluable to the growth of the vision field. In particular, such individuals can contribute greatly to higher education programs in optometry and vision science. A foundation in teaching and, those aspects specific to vision science, is critical to acquire for future success in academia. Teaching methodology can be broadly applied to both didactic and clinical courses. This course will be presented in seminar format with assigned readings and several practical assignments to assess whether the learning objectives have been met. 

BVS 902: Biostatistics. (2 credit hours)

Statistics is an essential discipline in the field of research, important first in understanding the scientific literature relative to validity and appropriateness, and later to the conduct of the student’s thesis project. A researcher needs to have a solid working knowledge of the various types of research data and how these were obtained, the distribution of those data, and formal hypothesis testing using those data to draw conclusions regarding the import of the findings. This course will examine the numerical and graphical representation of data, the concepts of sample size, data distributions and appropriate hypothesis testing, inferences regarding dependent and independent data, and parametric and non-parametric evaluation. A free statistical shareware, “R” software, will be used by the student to undertake sample problem analysis to further cement the understanding of the lecture concepts. 

BVS 910: Ocular Anatomy and Physiology. (2 credit hours)

Knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of ocular structures is one of the requirements for not only the practice of optometry but also research in this field. This course will supplement the ocular anatomy and ocular physiology courses taught to all Optometry students and concentrate on areas which are most likely to be studied in optometric research. The course will require independent study and group discussion. Each student will prepare and conduct a literature review on an anatomic area and present it in a seminar format. 

BVS 910A: Ocular Anatomy and Physiology (4 credit hours)

Knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of ocular structures is one of the requirements for not only the practice of optometry but also research in this field. This course will review the basic ocular anatomy and ocular physiology material taught to all Optometry students and concentrate on areas which are most likely to be studied in optometric research. The course will require independent study and group discussion. Each student will prepare and conduct a literature review on an anatomic area and present it in a seminar format. 

BVS 913: Current Topics in Tear Film and Dry Eye (3 credit hours)

In recent years the tear film and ocular surface has been the subject of intense interest and research, due in part to the recognition that ocular surface disease is a common condition with major implications for sufferers’ quality of life. This course will provide an overview of current knowledge relative to ocular surface and tear film structure and dynamics, including what is currently known and unknown concerning tear composition and behavior. Clinical topics such as the factors that influence tear film stability and the mechanisms of corneal staining will be examined from current evidence to provide a translational understanding of basic mechanisms that influence the human ocular surface in health and disease. The course will be taught in a lecture format with hands-on sessions for demonstration and experience with instruments and techniques aimed at generating ocular surface and tear film information. 

BVS 914: Vegetative Physiology of the Cornea (3 credit hours)

This course will describe the anatomy and physiology of the normal cornea in depth. It will provide an understanding of the various diseases and dystrophies of the cornea from an etiological basis. The course will allow the student to understand the interplay between contact lens complications and normal/abnormal corneal physiology. This will be accomplished by reviewing the literature in this area.

BVS 920: Sensory Neuroscience (2 credit hours)

Sensory neuroscience is a subfield of neuroscience which explores the anatomy and physiology of neurons that are part of sensory systems such as vision, hearing, and olfaction. This course will focus on vision. Visual neuroscience is the study of the visual system including the visual cortex. Its goals are to understand the neurophysiology of the visual system, and to understand how neural activity results in visual perception and behaviors that depend on vision. 

BVS 920A: Sensory Neuroscience (4 credit hours)

Sensory neuroscience is a subfield of neuroscience which explores the anatomy and physiology of neurons that are part of sensory systems such as vision, hearing, and olfaction. This course will focus on vision. Visual neuroscience is the study of the visual system including the visual cortex. Its goals are to understand the neurophysiology of the visual system, and to understand how neural activity results in visual perception and behaviors that depend on vision. 

BVS 921: Color Vision (3 credit hours)

Color vision is an active area of both clinical and basic science research. Clinical color vision research requires an understanding of more rigorous testing and research methods used in color vision studies. The course will be presented through a roughly equal division between lecture and laboratory, and will require presentation of a well developed experimental design proposal for a research study. 

BVS 924: Neurophysiology of Amblyopia (3 credit hours)

Our knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the visual pathway has expanded greatly over the last few decades. This increase in knowledge has to a large extent been driven by investigations into the neural abnormalities resulting from amblyopia. Without a clear understanding of the neurophysiological basis of amblyopia, treatments for this condition cannot be developed. This course will supplement the Neurophysiology course taught to all SCCO students and concentrate on areas dealing with amblyopia. The course will require independent study and group discussion. Each student will prepare and conduct a literature review on an area of interest and present it in a seminar format.

BVS 940: Visual Optics. (2 credit hours)

The eye is studied as the physiological optical element of the visual system. The optical components of the eye are discussed in terms of their geometrical, physical, physiological, psychophysical and optical properties. The eye is considered as an image forming mechanism, where each component contributes to the nature and quality of the retinal image. The relationship between optics and visual performance is discussed, including the effects of ametropias and oculomotor systems on vision. Students will demonstrate their ability to search and evaluate the visual optics literature and to communicate effectively through writing and in small group discussions. 

BVS 940A: Visual Optics (4 credit hours)

Students in this course will learn about the optics of the human eye. They will rely on their present knowledge of geometrical and physical optics, and apply this knowledge to a study of the eye. They will understand how the optical characteristics of the eye relate to the performance of the visual system as a whole. Importantly, they will learn how the optics of the eye affects performance in everyday activities. They will learn about normal variation in the optical characteristics of the eye, and the optical consequences of various ocular conditions and clinical treatments and procedures. Students will be able to integrate what they know to find solutions to practical problems in vision. They will demonstrate their ability to search and evaluate the scientific literature, and to communicate effectively through writing and in small group discussions. 

BVS 950: Sensory Processes and Perception. (2 credit hours)

The purpose of the course is the study of sensory processes which encompass three areas of vision function important to scientists: the perception of light, form and color. Students will examine spatial vision and temporal vision, the field of vision, the range of color vision and many other areas of current vision research. The course will be presented through a roughly equal division between lecture and laboratory, and will require presentation of a proposal for a research study related to the material in the course. 

BVS 950A: Sensory Processes and Perception (4 credit hours)

A foundation in vision science is rooted in the underpinnings of basic sensory processes. The study of sensory processes encompasses three areas of vision function important to scientists: the perception of light, form, and color. This knowledge is routinely used by vision scientists when conducting research studies examining spatial vision and temporal vision, the field of vision, the range of color vision, and many other areas of current vision research. The course will be presented through a roughly equal division between lecture and laboratory, and will require presentation of a proposal for a research study related to the material in the course.

BVS 951: Psychophysical Methods and Experimental Design. (4 credit hours)

The purpose of this course is to provide a framework into which study methodologies are executed. Content of the course includes photometry and luminance calibration, signal detection theory, ROC analysis and systematic experimental design. The course will be presented through a roughly equal division between lecture and laboratory, and will require presentation of a well-developed experimental design proposal for a research study. 

BVS 951A: Psychophysical Methods & Experimental Design (4 credit hours)

A foundation in vision science is rooted in the underpinnings of the various methods and experimental designs used to answer the scientific questions that are asked. The psychophysical methodology/approach is the historical root of vision science. It often precedes, and often drives, the neurophysiological studies that seek to resolve and/or explain the psychophysical findings. Knowledge of the general methods/ designs used in psychophysical based research serves to provide a framework into which study methodologies are executed within. The course will be presented through a roughly equal division between lecture and laboratory, and will require presentation of a well-developed experimental design proposal for a research study. 

BVS 952: Ethics in Research. (2 credit hours)

Through reading, discussion and writing, students will gain sensitivity for and knowledge of social ethics and the social context of scientific research. They will have knowledge of those elements of ethics, good scientific practice and law that are essential to perform research in the biomedical disciplines, with or without human subjects. They will have knowledge and skills to develop and implement effective, ethical research projects. The course content is organized in three strands: an introduction to ethics, the human subject and research integrity. 

BVS 957: Accommodation. (3 credit hours)

Human ocular accommodation is studied from a functional viewpoint, with an aim of understanding its role in daily life. Accommodation is introduced by way of J. J. Gibson’s question of how depth is extracted from retinal images. Empirical data on the nature of the steady state and dynamic characteristics of accommodation are reviewed. Then, the stimuli to accommodation are studied within Heath’s system of operational classification. Various external and internal factors in the accommodation response are investigated. The development of accommodation in infancy and childhood, and its normal decline with age (presbyopia), are studied. Theories of the ocular mechanism of accommodation are studied, including geometrical-optical and physical models of the crystalline lens in accommodation. Control system approaches to accommodation are introduced. The synkinesis between accommodation and vergence is discussed. The nature and causes of presbyopia and other accommodative anomalies are studied. Procedures and apparatus for measuring accommodation are studied, with opportunity to design and implement simple accommodation experiments with two common instruments. 

BVS 959: Vision and Reading (3 hours)

This course will provide an integrative approach to investigating associations between vision and reading. The first part of the course will review the basic processes that are involved in reading and learning to read. The next part of the course will investigate how specific vision processes are involved in reading. This includes contrast sensitivity, temporal processing, fixation disparity, and span of recognition. Finally, clinical approaches to analyze the relationship between vision and reading will be discussed. 

BVS960: Research Thesis. (variable credits)

The Master of Science in Vision Science at the SCCO emphasizes the development and execution of an original vision research project. Each student must write a paper based on the student’s research activities. The paper must be of publication quality. A Master’s thesis describing this project is required for completion of the program and will be reviewed by a Thesis Committee. Time spent planning, carrying out the research project, data analysis and writing the thesis will be assigned BVS 960. This can be from 1-12 credit hours per quarter. Total minimum credit hours required for thesis is 40 credit hours. This also requires a defense of the thesis.

 

Elective courses available:

Number Course Title Credit Hours per Qtr
BVS 911 Vegetative Physiology of the Eye 3
BVS 912 Visual Physiology of the Eye 3
BVS 913 Current Topics in Tear Film & Dry Eye 3
BVS 914 Vegetative Physiology of the Cornea 3
BVS 920 Sensory Neuroscience 4
BVS 921  Color Vision 3
BVS 922 Lateral Geniculate Nucleus & Cortex 3
BVS 923 Receptors & Cell Signaling Pathways 3
BVS 924 Neurophysiology of Amblyopia 3
BVS 930 Ocular Biochemistry 3
BVS 931 Ocular Pharmacology 3
BVS 932 Ocular Pathology 3
BVS 941 Optics of the Eye 3
BVS 953 Spatial-Temporal Processes 3
BVS 954 Ocular Motility 3
BVS 955 Binocular Vision 3
BVS 956 Visual Perception 3
BVS 957 Accommodation 3
BVS 958 Visual Development 3
BVS 959 Vision & Reading 3