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EYE Research Group

University of Washington Bothell

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Alan P Pearson OD PhD FCOVD

August 15, 2021


The EYE Research Group is a university based Organized Research Unit (ORU).   As such, the EYE Research Group brings together multiple investigators and disciplines to address an issue of complexity, urgency, shared need, and interest.  This issue revolves around  functional vision related to learning abilities, work, and achievement.  

Since the EYE Research Group emerged from activism that led to changes in school based vision screening requirements in Washington State, we start our focus on the issue of vision screening in schools.  A paper titled Systemic Challenges for School Vision Screenings, provides the background and context for the complex issues, urgency, and shared need that become research agenda for the EYE Research Group.  

From this context we then look at the EYE Research Group and consider how such an ORU can function in the production of public knowledge and technologies that inform and solve the issues.   We discuss how a cycle of iterative research activity can be commenced as an example of a Research Activity System (RAS).   This RAS model is a methodological discussion of how the EYE Research Group in collaboration with Near Vision Institute will operate towards its mission goals. 

While the Systemic Challenges is School Vision Screening paper presents many possible topics of focused research, we have chosen the topic of Binocular Instability as the first area of urgency and need specific to school age children (in the future we will address other topics).   Understanding, identifying, and addressing the issue of binocular instability in school age children then becomes the central aim of the real world implementation of technology and human activity.   This leads to developmental efforts of the following:

  • The QuickCheck Vision Screening software app that goes beyond visual acuity screening to also help identify children with binocular instabilities. 
  • The EYE See Clinic, involving a Bothell base and a Mobile Vision Clinic that can provide eye exams and functional vision evaluations in order to diagnose binocular instabilities when screenings hint at their presence. 
  • The Binocular Stability MAP which is a best-practice treatment approach that facilitates collaborative remote intervention to address binocular instabilities. 

These three areas - screening, evaluation, treatment - need to be tied together in a systematic manner, and this is accomplished through the EYE Toolbox software system which provides a user interface between real world experiences, recorded data, and interpretations for the purpose of helping in human decision making to maximize outcomes and impacts. 

At the core of the EYE Toolbox is a back-end informatics database.   The planned and directed experiences in real world operations are captured in various forms of data.   This data can then be analyzed to result in meaningful interpretations as proposals of public knowledge and understanding.   Informatics Paper

The EYE Research Group website,  EYE Toolbox system, Near Vision Institute, and other media and journals become a mechanism of presentation and publication of the experiences and interpretations of the EYE Research Group research activity and invite feedback from the larger community back to the EYE Research Group, which then influences the design, development, and plans for the next iterative cycle.   In this way the research activity moves forward and knowledge and impact increase year after year. 

Within the broad RAS cyclic approach to children’s vision, learning, and technology, the EYE Research Group will involve research activity at many different levels and disciplines such as:

  • Basic Vision Science:   Vision in action in activities of daily living and learning
  • Clinical Vision Science:  Testing, and treatment 
  • Public Health and Social Science:  Etiology and cultural context 
  • Technology:  Applied Science 
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