Blue-Blocker Study Gives Student Hands On Learning in Research
This past summer second year student, Blair Gerratt (’19) and Dr. Carl Bassi, Associate Professor and Director of Research, conducted a research study for JINS, a Japanese eyewear company for a new “blue blocker” eyewear. The study focused on the effects of “blue-blocker” lenses on eye comfort after working at a computer. Dr. Bassi, who oversees the research at the College of Optometry, took on this study because of prior experience with this type of research, "UMSL turned out to be an ideal site because my lab already had experience in assessing vision in patients with varying levels of macular pigment (a natural blue-blocker, we had ready access to the type of subjects they were recruiting from out of our student population, and I was aware of and had extensive experience in some of the regulatory issues necessary for running the study" Bassi said. During the research Blair Gerratt spent many hours a week working with Bassi to conduct the study and feels that research is crucial to the profession, “Optometry is an exciting and dynamic field and research allows us to stay on top of new developments in the field which helps with assisting patients,” Garrett said. Dr. Bassi agrees with Gerratt, “Understanding how to interpret and do research is the cornerstone for evidence-based practice. Research allows us to not just practice optometry but to advance the profession. We strive to both better understand how normal vision works and to understand how disease processes work.”
One of the primary roles for Gerratt was to find and recruit volunteers for the study, “We had volunteers come in and fill out a short survey about their comfort before using a computer. The same survey was conducted after the volunteers had been using a computer for several hours,” commented Gerratt. The study objectively determined the comfort provided by the lenses by measuring their critical flicker fusion rates before and after the use of the computer.