Accomplishments

The research that the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute is doing has expanded its understanding of how the visual system (including both eye and brain) work and are affected by disease and vision impairment.  In fact, millions of people around the world benefit from the Institute's work diagnosing and treating eye diseases. The studies conducted by its staff have also led to the development of innovative devices, and enhanced services for partially sighted, blind, and hearing-impaired people. A few examples of the Institute's accomplishments are highlighted below.

  • Innumerable innovations in diagnosis and surgery for childhood vision diseases, notably crossed eyes (strabismus)
  • New EEG and EMG tests to improve diagnosis and surgery for strabismus
  • Force-duction tests for improving quantification and better surgical outcomes in eye muscle surgery
  • Improved adjustable suture techniques in strabismus management, avoiding the need for repeat hospitalization
  • Botulinum toxin (“Botox”), originally for correction of crossed eyes, leading to many wider uses
  • Improvements in management of ROP, another debilitating childhood vision disease
  • Sweep VEP (visual evoked potential) technique allowing objective infant vision assessment
  • The first objective assessment, documentation and understanding of normal versus abnormal childhood visual development
  • Multi-focal ERG (electroretinogram) for functional assessment of many points on the retina simultaneously
  • Early computer access systems for blind including first touch-tablet based system
  • Smith-Kettlewell active/passive light probe, earliest and most popular multi-purpose aid for blind
  • Publication of the “Smith-Kettlewell Technical File,” an electronics journal for visually impaired persons
  • Remote Infrared Audible Signage (RIAS), i.e., Talking Signs
  • Flicker test for diagnosis of visual deficits in glaucoma, optic neuropathies, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetic retinopathy
  • Macular Mapping Test: psychophysical assessment of early signs of macular disease
  • SKILL (Smith-Kettlewell Institute Low Luminance) Card: assessment of vision at low contrast
  • Color random-dot autostereogram
  • CACS (Cooperative Amblyopia Classification Study): the largest study of the visual and oculomotor attributes of amblyopia
  • Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ETROP) Study, which alters guidelines for best management of this disease
  • “What makes Mona Lisa smile?” – a study of the ability of humans to read subtle changes in facial expression
  • Smith-Kettlewell longitudinal aging vision study – leading to many discoveries about vision, its impairment and best management in the elderly
  • Cortical source imaging techniques using EEG (electroencephalography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Smartpen: Talking Tactile Pen system for blind people to enhance education and use of graphics
  • Pioneering work in smartphone-based computer vision sensing for blind and visually impaired persons
  • YouDescribe and Descriptive Video Exchange (DVX) technology for making videos more accessible to those without vision