The National Vision Research Institute (NVRI) was founded in 1972 by the Australian College of Optometry (ACO) to pursue research in vision and the disorders of vision. Our goal is to conduct research that will lead to the preservation of sight and the prevention of blindness.
The NVRI carries out basic science, translational and clinical research. We are committed to exploring the processes that generate vision disorders. All of our resources are devoted to research so that we are able to study difficult problems that require intensive and co-ordinated investigation over long periods of time.
Over the years, the Institute’s research programmes have encompassed many topics, ranging from clinical to basic. Their outcomes have included the creation of the famous LogMAR chart for assessment of visual acuity, improved understanding of vision disorders such as amblyopia, cataract, presbyopia, retinal dystrophy and the exploration of the way visual stimuli are transmitted to the brain.
The current research of the NVRI covers several topics. One major area is the investigation of the retina using in vitro recording techniques. This work is closely aligned to research efforts aimed at developing visual prosthetic devices, commonly known as bionic eyes. Another topic is the development of the visual cortex, which is the area of the brain that provides the foundation for visual perception. Work in this field relates closely to the prevention of amblyopia. We also investigate how vision integrates with motor actions: so-called sensorimotor coordination. This research is uncovering very fundamental findings about how the brain works in a coherent manner to generate action and perception.
The Institute is a division of the Australian College of Optometry. Lions International in Victoria are major supporters of research in the NVRI. Our research is strongly supported by partnerships and collaborations with the University of Melbourne and Monash University. The Director of the NVRI is a member of the Department of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Melbourne.