Dr. Vera-Diaz is an Associate Professor of Optometry in the Department of Primary Care at NECO. Dr. Vera-Diaz is lecturer and clinical instructor for the Principle and Practice of Optometry I and II courses. She also commonly lectures in seminars and scientific meetings worldwide, including ARVO, the AAO, VSS, BCVOS and the UNESCO International Congress on Visual Health and Development.
Dr. Vera-Diaz is a primary eye care practitioner licensed in MA with specific interest in myopia control, special populations and binocular vision. Dr. Vera-Diaz is clinical preceptor for the Pediatric Vision Screenings program, primary care clinics at Dimock Community Health Center and the Myopia Control Clinic at our Commonwealth NECO Center for Eye Care clinic. Prior to joining NECO, Dr. Vera-Diaz was an attending clinical supervisor at the University of Bradford and the University of Murcia. Dr. Vera-Diaz also has clinical experience in retail, private practice, hospital and academic optometry in Spain and in England, where she was a licensed optometrist.
Dr. Vera-Diaz earned an Optics-Optometry degree from the University of Murcia (Spain), an OD from the New England College of Optometry, and a PhD from the department of Optometry at the University of Bradford (England). As a vision scientist, the general goal of her research is to address the general question of what signals trigger myopia development in children. Dr. Vera-Diaz received a Scientific Research Career Development Award from the American Academy of Optometry to conduct this research. In her research lab at NECO, Dr. Vera-Diaz and her team measure peripheral vision and binocular vision behavioral factors and correlate them with individual 3D eye models to understand how these signals affect retinal image quality. The ultimate goal of Dr. Vera-Diaz’ studies is to develop individualized therapies to slow the progression of existing myopia and attempt to prevent myopia in at-risk children.
Her PhD work addressed optical and neural influences on the visual performance of myopic individuals with the goal of finding causative factors for myopization. Dr. Vera-Diaz investigated the effect of various oculomotor factors that may predict phenotypes at risk for myopia during her post-doctoral research position at NECO’s Children’s Vision Lab with Dr. Gwiazda and Dr. Thorn. She also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School while working at the Schepens Eye Research Institute with Dr. Peli on the investigation of tolerance of blur and adaptation to blur in people with normal sight and patients with low vision. Her studies have significant clinical implications, for example, on the prescription of optical devices (e.g. multifocal lenses, IOLs) and vision enhancement aids for patients with visual impairment.
Dr. Vera-Diaz is a current member or the American Optometric Association, the American Academy of Optometry, the Massachusetts Society of Optometrists, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, among others. She is an ad-hoc reviewer for a large number of scientific journals including Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Vision Research, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, Optometry and Vision Science, and Current Eye Research. Dr. Vera-Diaz regularly volunteers with various organizations, such as Vision Aid Overseas (UK) and Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (US), and has been a volunteer field optometrist in Ghana and Mexico.