Participate in a Study

We invite you to make a meaningful impact by becoming a vital part of our non-profit organization. Are you interested in contributing to groundbreaking advancements in vision research? Join our community of volunteers and help shape the future of eye-related knowledge. By participating in our non-invasive research studies, you can play a crucial role in enhancing our understanding of vision and its complexities. Your involvement is invaluable, and together, we can pave the way for innovative discoveries and improved treatments. Discover the joy of scientific exploration and help us make a difference in the lives of millions.

If you reside in the San Francisco Bay Area and are interested in discovering more about a specific project or determining your eligibility to participate, please feel free to reach out to us. You can contact us at 415-345-2062 or send an email to


Research topics include:

Assistive Technologies for people who have visual impairments, age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Juvenile Macular Degeneration (JMD or Stargardt's Disease), Amblyopia (“Lazy Eye”), Strabismus (misaligned or crossed eyes), Anisometropia (unequal refractive power), Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), Blindness, Traumatic Brain Injuries (concussion or whiplash), Light Sensitivity, Hearing Loss, Visual Development in Infants, Visual Comparison of Twins, Type 2 Diabetes, Visual and Auditory Development in Children and Adolescents.

Below are some of the studies that are currently seeking participants:

Remote Studies

Patterns of Visual and Oculomotor (Visuomotor) Deficits in Pediatric Eye Disease; Higher Vision Function Questionnaire


The purpose of this research study is to understand how a brief, higher vision function questionnaire inventory (HVFQI) might identify observable behavior patterns common to children with Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) in order to facilitate more rapid identification, and suggest basic support strategies. For this study, you will be asked to answer some detailed, brief answer health history questions about your child, and then answer 52 multiple-choice questions. The study is done over the phone, or by Zoom and requires no travel or in-person contact. We are recruiting a large volume of participants, with a special emphasis on children with CVI. A similar experiment for adults will be starting soon.


Dr. Arvind Chandra

(Updated: June 1st, 2023)


In-Person Studies

Noise Exposure


Falls in older adults are common, have high societal and monetary costs, often lead to injury, and can even be fatal. It is known that noise can affect hearing, but it can also cause damage to the vestibular system (the system of balance) resulting in postural instability and compromised balance. This project investigates how natural aging is accelerated by lifetime noise exposure, and how that can contribute to imbalance and increased risk of falls. We are recruiting participants across the age span to participate in a short, non-invasive study that will include a noise exposure history, comprehensive hearing test, and several short behavioral tests that look at eye, head, and body movement and perception of vertical.


Natela Shanidze or Anca Velisar

(Updated June 28th, 2023)


Spatial Vision in Amblyopia


The purpose of this research study is to learn more about how amblyopia (sometimes called "lazy eye"), strabismus (misaligned eyes), and anisometropia (unequal refractive power) affect the visual system and to evaluate the visual deficits in both amblyopic eye and non-amblyopic eye. If you are an adult with a history of amblyopia or strabismus, you may qualify. In addition, some adults with normal vision are needed as control subjects.


Chuan Hou 
(415) 345-2073 

(Updated June 28th, 2023)


Computer Vision-Based Smartphone Apps and Other Assistive Technology

This research focuses on the use of computer vision and other sensor-based methods of extracting visual and other information from indoor or outdoor scenes, or from existing images, and of conveying this information using audio, visual, and/or tactile output to be useful to blind and low vision individuals. Examples of current studies include the development of camera-enabled smartphone apps to help persons who are visually impaired receive wayfinding guidance indoors and to make physical objects (such as documents, maps, devices, and 3D models) more accessible by providing real-time audio feedback in response to the location on an object that the user is touching.

If you are 14 years or older and are blind or visually impaired, you may be eligible to participate in this study. (If you are between 14-17 years of age, you will need permission from your parent or guardian to participate in the study.) Volunteers are compensated $30/hour in addition to travel costs.


James Coughlan 
(415) 345-2146


Advanced Spatiomotor Rehabilitation & Brain Mechanisms in Blindness & Visual Impairment


This study investigates novel rehabilitation methods and their effect on brain plasticity, spatiomotor, and spatial memory abilities in individuals who are blind or have low vision. It involves a unique (entirely non-visual) training method for drawing (2 hours/day for 5 days), pre and post-training tactile/haptic testing, as well as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). It is a lot of fun!

Subjects are compensated $20/hour for the behavioral testing and training and $30/hour for the MRI scans. Travel and parking will also be reimbursed.


Dr. Lora Likova 
(415) 345-2066                                                                                                                     

Michael Liang 
(415) 793-0823

(Updated: June 1st, 2023)


Concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury and Light Sensitivity


This study investigates the effects of concussions/traumatic brain injuries on light sensitivity/photalgia. If eligible to participate, you will undergo an optometric screening by an optometrist then behavioral testing by viewing flickering colored visual lights, and will be asked if you are able to withstand light. If so, you will be able to view the flickering colored light for 30 seconds. A skin sensor will be attached right below your eye and above your cheekbone prior to allowing for the recording of the electrical activity from your retina’s response to the lights.

If you have experienced a concussion or traumatic brain injury more than 3 months ago, you may be eligible to participate in the study. People who have not had a head injury may be eligible to participate as a control participant. Participants are compensated at $40/hour and will be reimbursed for transportation and parking up to $20.


Michael Liang 
(415) 345-2109 

Dr. Christopher Tyler 
(415) 345-2020

(Updated: June 14th, 2023)

If you have questions regarding a research study, the researcher or their assistant will be glad to answer them.

You may seek information from the Institutional Review Board, established for the protection of volunteers in research projects, by emailing the Smith-Kettlewell Institutional Review Board (IRB) at