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Nancy Coletta, OD, PhD

Research Profile

OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
PhD, Physiological Optics, University of California, Berkeley


Dr. Coletta is a professor of optics, chair of the Vision Science Department, and the Director of Graduate Studies at the College. Dr. Coletta has been a faculty member at the College since 1996, and currently teaches optics to first and second year students. She is also a faculty member for the College’s graduate programs.

Research Interests

Dr. Coletta has expertise in visual psychophysics, ocular biometry, and the optical quality of the eye. The overall focus of her research is on the optical and retinal factors involved in vision at low light levels, with an emphasis on subjects with myopia. Subjects with corrected myopia, who have otherwise healthy eyes, have reduced visual acuity.

Dr. Coletta has shown that this visual deficit becomes more evident at low light levels and is examining the possible retinal contributions to this effect. The focus of her current myopia project is to correlate visual performance with retinal morphology as imaged by high-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT). Studies of visual performance, retinal function and retinal imaging in the same eyes may contribute to a greater understanding of retinal architecture and function in myopia and other conditions.

Dr. Coletta collaborates with Drs. Ann Elsner and Toco Chui at the Indiana University School of Optometry on a project concerning the relationship of peripheral visual acuity to cone density in young adult subjects. The study involves imaging of the cone photoreceptor mosaic with adaptive-optics technology. They find that an individual’s acuity in peripheral vision matches the limit imposed by the spacing of their peripheral cone photoreceptors.

Dr. Coletta also has worked with external collaborators Dr. David Troilo and Dr. Susana Marcos to examine various high-resolution images and wavefront aberration measurements from the eyes of small animals raised under conditions that induce a variety of refractive errors. They quantified the optical changes in the eyes during refractive development so they can better define how an eye grows to produce a specific refractive error.

Dr. Coletta’s other recent and current projects with students in the Master’s program at the College concern the relationship between retinal thickness and eye shape in myopia, estimating the eye’s shape from measurements of peripheral eye lengths, peripheral aberrations of the eye and how they change with accommodation, demonstrating the effects of soft contact lens wear on corneal swelling and visual performance, and retinal imaging in subjects at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.


Anne Elsner and Toco Chui, Indiana University
Susana Marcos, Instituto de Optica, Madrid, Spain
David Troilo, State University of New York

Professional Memberships

American Academy of Optometry; Fellow, 1993
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology; Fellow, 2014
Optical Society of America; Fellow Member, 2010

Featured Publications and Presentations

Coletta N.J., Shao S.X. (2014) Regional variation of retinal thickness and retinal contour in myopia. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science; 55 (ARVO E-abstract 2627).

Coletta N.J., Chui T.Y., Elsner A.E. (2013) A comparison of acuity and cone density in the temporal retina. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science; 54 (ARVO E-abstract 4064).

Stroupe R., Coletta N.J. (2013) Foveal pit dimensions in myopia. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science; 54 (ARVO E-abstract 3610).

Coletta N.J, Pilz Y. and Ciepiela A. (2012) Perifoveal retinal thickness and temporal contrast sensitivity in axial myopia. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science; 53 (ARVO E-abstract 5665).

Shao S. and Coletta N.J. (2011) Relative thickness of inner and outer retinal layers in myopia as measured with spectral domain optical coherence tomography. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science; 52 (ARVO E-abstract 3207).

Coletta N. J., Marcos S., Troilo D. (2010) Ocular wavefront aberrations in the common marmoset Callithrix jacchus: effects of age and refractive error. Vision Research; 50 (23) 2515–2529; PMID: 20800078.

Coletta N.J. and Watson T. (2006) Effect of myopia on visual acuity measured with laser interference fringes. Vision Research; 2006 Mar;46(5):636-51; PMID: 16045959.

Coletta N.J., Marcos S., Wildsoet C., Troilo D. (2003) Double-pass measurement of retinal image quality in the chicken eye. Optometry and Vision Science; 80(1) pp. 50-57; PMID: 12553544.

Coletta N.J. (2002) Visual psychophysics: Temporal factors in vision. Chapter 7 in Fundamentals of Visual Psychophysics; Norton T., Corliss D. and Bailey J., eds. Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston.

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