University of Rochester

Center for Visual Science Receives $1.5 Million

June 18, 1998

The University of Rochester's Center for Visual Science (CVS) has received a five-year, $1.5-million grant to continue its basic research into vision. With this grant the National Eye Institute has supported the center continuously for nearly three decades.

The center is known internationally for its breadth of research, from the basic structure of the eye that gathers light to how our brain puts together electrical signals to give us the experience of vision, and how that vision guides the actions we take. CVS includes 27 faculty members from six departments, giving the University one of the greatest concentrations of vision researchers in the world.

Scientists believe that up to half the nerve cells in our brains are devoted to vision, and CVS has an array of resources dedicated to learning how these cells work together to give us sight. Scientists use complex eye-trackers, a virtual reality system, a motion sled, and a laser-based high-resolution camera that scientists use to take high-quality photographs of the rods and cones inside the human eye.

Much of the center's work focuses on how the brain makes color vision possible, how infants first see and recognize their care-givers, how the brain perceives movement, why Alzheimer's patients lose their way, and why we perceive vision as a smooth and continuous melody even though our eyes move hundreds of thousands of times a day in short, jerky movements.