About Us


The mission of the Center for Innovation in Vision and Optics (CIVO) is to promote the development, use, and dissemination of innovative optical, graphics, and display technology for the healthy and diseased eye. We partner with industry to foster this effort.

The following describes some of the areas in which we are engaged. Further down is a list of the benefits and cost of membership.

Stereo Vision / 3D Perception

Stereo vision in particular and 3D perception in general refer to the ability to perceive the 3-dimensional layout of the environment, or simulations of that environment, from the retinal images. These topics have become particularly important recently with the introduction of head-mounted displays for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). We have custom apparatus that enables research on the visual system’s capability to interpret 3-dimensionality, to make adaptive eye movements and focusing responses, and to create a comfortable, realistic viewing experience. We have generated a database of eye movements and disparity statistics obtained from people engaged in everyday tasks. The database has nearly 1 million video frames.

Adaptive Optics

Adaptive optics (AO) is a technology that enables real-time measurement and correction of the eye’s optical imperfections. Our AO systems work in both directions: we can record cellular-resolution images of the retina and we can also track and deliver light to the retina, targeting features as small as a single photoreceptor. We use our instruments to study the structural and functional properties of the retina that subserve spatial and color vision, specifically at and near the fovea. We examine normal visual function and functioning in diseased retina.


The prevalence of myopia is accelerating rapidly and myopic eyes are at risk for developing sight-threatening diseases later in life. So it is very important to understand what causes myopia and how to manage eye growth before it progresses to significant myopia. Our group uses a variety of technologies to measure the environment of children who progress to myopia and to monitor eye growth. And to assess the efficacy of various treatments. A valuable resource is the Myopia Control Clinic, directed by Dr. Maria Liu. It is the first such clinic at a US university.

Binocular Dysfunction

We use immersive VR and AR devices to help treat binocular dysfunction. In particular, we diagnose and treat amblyopia, a condition of reduced vision in one eye that causes a loss in binocular function. VR and AR technology, coupled with custom software, has shown great promise in the recovery of binocular function in these people. We continue to investigate how these technologies can be used effectively in children and adults with visual dysfunction.

Eye Optics

We have an extensive set of tools to measure optical properties of the eye. These tools include wavefront sensors (aberrometers), refractometers, corneal topographers, and axial-length measurements. We have years of experience with analysis and interpretation of data from these devices. We have constructed a database that contains the wavefront measurements from 500 eyes. We are constructing a rigorous model eye that includes those measurements for emmetropic and myopic eyes.

Eye Tracking

We are engaged in two types of eye tracking. 1) Our scanning laser retinal imagers can be used track the motions of both eyes with greater speed and accuracy than any other available technology. We are building a system that tracks horizontal, vertical, and torsional movement of both eyes over a 30x30deg field of view.  Accuracy is better than 1 minute of arc. This provides "ground truth" data on eye position. The system can simultaneously incorporate a commercial tracker so that we can rigorously determine the accuracy of those trackers; this will facilitate improvements in their accuracy. 2) We use a conventional video-based eye tracker that can be worn by a subject engaged in everyday tasks. This allows us to determine the statistics of eye movements in the natural environment.

Advanced Optical Techniques for Vision

Computational imaging involves the joint design of imaging system hardware and software, optimizing across the entire pipeline from acquisition to reconstruction. Such end-to-end design has enabled scalable gigapixel microscopy, super-resolution imaging, and 3D phase microscopy. We are developing new modalities of computational imaging targeted at applications for human vision. For example, measuring the 3D phase in various layers of the eye gives refractive index distributions that can be used for morphology and structural detection, and for studies of visual function.

Simulation of Contact Lenses and Spectacles

Contact lenses and spectacles are increasingly complex, particularly the ones intended for presbyopes. Progressive lenses have different powers in different segments of the lens. Contact lenses may have also different powers in different parts. The corrections may even differ between the two eyes. Each new lens design is costly to manufacture and test. We are developing an optical correction simulator in which we produce the binocular retinal images the patients would experience, but we do so (in a closed-loop optical system) via graphics rendering. The simulator has eye and accommodation tracking so the patient can experience what the 3D world would look like if he/she used different optical corrections. Different lens designs can be tested with minimal cost and time.

Display Evaluation

We have years of experience in the evaluation of displays. We can quantitatively assess effective resolution in space and time. We can measure visual discomfort due to the vergence-accommodation conflict, time lags between head motion and display update, and offsets of the two eyes' images. We can also evaluate color breakup, motion judder and blur,  binocular luning, passive vs active stereo, pixel shifting, fill factor, anti-aliasing, and more.


Benefits & Cost of Membership

Benefits to Members (described fully in Partnership Agreement)

  • Exclusive access to pre-publication CIVO data, including abstracts, manuscripts, and theses.
  • Exclusive access to data repository containing CIVO Researcher datasets.
  • Exclusive access to Master Lectures. These are lectures by the CIVO Faculty on topics of interest to the CIVO companies on things such as image formation, visual optics, adaptive optics, stereopsis, and more.
  • Exclusive access to online CIVO resume bank.
  • Exclusive right to commercial non-exclusive royalty free (NERF) licensing of Intellectual Property resulting from CIVO-funded research (except for diagnostic and therapeutic applications).
  • Exclusive opportunity to provide additional funding for more directed ‘Collaborative Projects’ with a much reduced overhead rate of 8.5%.
  • Opportunity to attend CIVO Members-only annual general research review meeting and to engage with CIVO directors, faculty, postdocs, and graduate students.
  • Opportunity to influence the research topics of CIVO through representation on the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) and attendance at IAB annual meetings.
  • Opportunity to send Visiting Industrial Fellow (VIF) to CIVO, with prior approval, for nominal fee.
  • Opportunity to attend specific researcher internal lab and/or project meetings.
  • Assistance in facilitating applications to and administration of joint research programs, with CIVO directors, funded by agencies of the U.S. and State Government.
  • Optimized tailored advertising of CIVO-related lectures, events and workshops.
  • Recognition as a Sponsor at CIVO events. Members who join within one year of CIVO’s establishment will be credited as Founding Partners.

Cost of Membership (described fully in Partnership Agreement)

$72,500 per year (overhead is 20% but 11.5% comes back to CIVO, so the effective rate is 8.5%.)