Smith-Kettlewell's research depends on the participation of patients and healthy volunteers of all ages.
Financial compensation is sometimes available.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and would like to learn more about a project or find out if you are eligible to participate, please contact us at
415-345-2062 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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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/Online Studies
- Patterns of Visual and Oculomotor (Visuomotor) Deficits in Pediatric Eye Disease
- Mobility in Macular Degeneration
- In-Person 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.
Email Charity Pitcher-Cooper, BSN, RN, PHN
Mobility in Macular Degeneration
The purpose of this research study is to understand the interaction of visual deficits due to macular degeneration with changes in mobility and balance. For the study, you will be asked to fill out (with the help of an experimenter) several short questionnaires. If you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, you may qualify. Additional experiments looking at the link between macular degeneration and stability/balance are also ongoing.
Natela Shanidze, Ph.D. or Anca Velisar, M.S.
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.
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.
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
Concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury and Light Sensitivity
This study investigates the effects of concussion or blows to the head on light sensitivity/photophobia. If eligible to participate, you will view colored visual displays while brain responses are measured non-invasively using electroencephalography (EEG) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).
If you have had a recent concussion or loss of consciousness due to a head injury, particularly if you still have light sensitivity as a result, you may be eligible to participate in this study. Subjects are compensated up to $30/hour and will be reimbursed for transportation and parking.
Dr. Lora Likova
If you have questions regarding a research study, the researcher or his/her 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.