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David R. Williams, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Administrative: (585) 275-6049

Office: (585) 275-8672

Office: (585) 276-6070

Fax: (585) 271-3043

Fax: (585) 275-3480

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments

Biography

Research

We use adaptive optics, the same technique used by astronomers to take clear pictures of the sky through the earth's turbulent atmosphere, to explore the organization and function of the retina and the optical and neural limits on human vision. Just as atmospheric turbulence distorts light arriving from distant stars, imperfections in the eye's cornea and lens distort light passing through the eye, causing blurred images to be formed on the retina.

With adaptive optics, which uses a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor to measure the eye's imperfections and a deformable mirror to correct them, we can correct most of the optical aberrations in the eye, providing the eye with the best image quality ever achieved. This means we can look into the eye and see the retina more clearly than was ever possible before, even allowing us to see individual cells in the living retina, but also that we can look out from the eye and see a much sharper view of the world than ever seen before. In addition to learning more about the retina, we use adaptive optics to examine the potential for improving vision by correcting the optical aberrations of the eye, and to probe the neural limits on human vision.

Credentials

Education

1975
BS | Denison University
Psychology

1976
MA | University of California, San Diego
Psychology

1979
PhD | University of California, San Diego
Psychology

1980
Postdoctoral Research Associate | Bell Laboratories

Awards

2015
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Distinguished Service Award

2014
Member, National Academy of Sciences

2013
Edridge Green Medal, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists

2012
Champalimaud Vision Award

2012
Gold Fellow, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

2009
Robert M. Boynton Lecture, OSA Fall Vision Meeting, University of Washington

2009
Silver Fellow, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

2008
Rochester Business Journal Health Care Achievement Award for Innovation

2007
Bressler Prize, Jewish Guild for the Blind

2007
Honorary Doctor of Science, The State University of New York, State College of Optometry

2006
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

2006
Friedenwald Award, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

2004
University of Rochester Center for Electronic Imaging Systems Technology Transfer Award

2004
Archie Mahan Prize, Optical Society of America

2003
Founders Award, Wavefront Congress, San Francisco, CA

2003
R&D 100 Award for the MEMS-based Adaptive Optics Phoropter, given by R&D Magazine

2001
Honorary Doctor of Science, Denison University

2001
Best of What's New Award in the Medical Technology category for the Zyoptix laser vision correction system

1998
Semifinalist for Discover Award for Technological Innovation

1998
Tillyer Medal, Optical Society of America

1997 - Present
William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics at the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester

1997 - 1998
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship

1992 - Present
Fellow, Optical Society of America

1987 - 1988
University of Rochester Mentor Award, for excellence in teaching, research, and service to the University

1986
Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Contribution to Psychology, American Psychological Association

1985 - 1990
National Eye Institute Research and Career Development Award

1979 - 1980
Bell Laboratories Postdoctoral Fellowship

1977
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Travel Fellowship

1976 - 1979
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship

1974
Psychology Student Fellow, Denison University

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Patents

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: HK1082168
Issue Date: May 04, 2007
Country: Hong Kong
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: HK1082169
Issue Date: May 04, 2007
Country: Hong Kong
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: 1561416
Issue Date: Dec 27, 2006
Country: Europe
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: DE1561416
Issue Date: Dec 27, 2006
Country: Germany
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: ES1561416
Issue Date: Dec 27, 2006
Country: Spain
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: GB1561416
Issue Date: Dec 27, 2006
Country: United Kingdom
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: IT1561416
Issue Date: Dec 27, 2006
Country: Italy
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: FR1561416
Issue Date: Dec 27, 2006
Country: France
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: 1561417
Issue Date: Dec 20, 2006
Country: Europe
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: DE1561417
Issue Date: Dec 20, 2006
Country: Germany
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: FR1561417
Issue Date: Dec 20, 2006
Country: France
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: IT1561417
Issue Date: Dec 20, 2006
Country: Italy
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: ES1561417
Issue Date: Dec 20, 2006
Country: Spain
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: GB1561417
Issue Date: Dec 20, 2006
Country: United Kingdom
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: DE1235508
Issue Date: Aug 09, 2006
Country: Germany
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: FR1235508
Issue Date: Aug 09, 2006
Country: France
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: ES1235508
Issue Date: Aug 09, 2006
Country: Spain
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: GB1235508
Issue Date: Aug 09, 2006
Country: United Kingdom
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor with Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: IT1235508
Issue Date: Aug 09, 2006
Country: Italy
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: 4656791
Issue Date: Jan 07, 2011
Country: Japan
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: PI0014924-1
Issue Date: Feb 25, 2009
Country: Brazil
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: 2,388,775
Issue Date: Sep 18, 2007
Country: Canada
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: 07 34515
Issue Date: Jun 26, 2007
Country: Korea, Republic of
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: 1235508
Issue Date: Aug 09, 2006
Country: Europe
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: 88416
Issue Date: Jan 27, 2006
Country: Singapore
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: ZL 00814577.6
Issue Date: Sep 28, 2005
Country: China, People's Republic of
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: 781573
Issue Date: Sep 15, 2005
Country: Australia
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis Illumination
Patent #: 6,264,328
Issue Date: Jul 24, 2001
Country: United States
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Wavefront Sensor With Off-Axis
Patent #: HK 1049435
Issue Date: Jan 05, 2007
Country: Hong Kong
Invented By: David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Structured Illumination for Imaging or Stationary and Non-Stationary, Fluorescent and Non-Fluorescent Objects
Patent #: 8,279,329
Issue Date: Oct 02, 2012
Country: United States
Invented By: James R Fienup, Sapna A Shroff, David R Williams

Patent Title: Sharpness Metric for Vision Quality
Patent #: 7,077,522
Issue Date: Jul 18, 2006
Country: United States
Invented By: David R Williams

Patent Title: Rapid, Automatic Measurement of the Eye's Wave Aberration
Patent #: 4660047
Issue Date: Jan 07, 2011
Country: Japan
Invented By: Juan L Aragon, Pablo Artal, Heidi Hofer, Pedro M Prieto, Benjamin Singer, Fernando Vargas, William J Vaughn III, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Rapid, Automatic Measurement of the Eye's Wave Aberration
Patent #: P-88309
Issue Date: Jun 30, 2005
Country: Singapore
Invented By: Juan L Aragon, Pablo Artal, Heidi Hofer, Pedro M Prieto, Benjamin Singer, Fernando Vargas, William J Vaughn III, David R Williams

Patent Title: Rapid, Automatic Measurement of the Eye's Wave Aberration
Patent #: 6,827,444
Issue Date: Dec 07, 2004
Country: United States
Invented By: Juan L Aragon, Pablo Artal, Heidi Hofer, Pedro M Prieto, Benjamin Singer, Fernando Vargas, William J Vaughn III, David R Williams

Patent Title: Rapid, Automatic Measurement of the Eye's Wave Aberration
Patent #: 6,299,311
Issue Date: Oct 09, 2001
Country: United States
Invented By: Juan L Aragon, Pablo Artal, Heidi Hofer, Pedro M Prieto, Benjamin Singer, Fernando Vargas, William J Vaughn III, David R Williams

Patent Title: Rapid, Automatic Measurement of the Eye's Wave Aberration
Patent #: 6,199,986
Issue Date: Mar 13, 2001
Country: United States
Invented By: Juan L Aragon, Pablo Artal, Heidi Hofer, Pedro M Prieto, Benjamin Singer, Fernando Vargas, William J Vaughn III, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Metrics to Predict the Subjective Impact of the Eye's Wave Aberration
Patent #: 7,357,509
Issue Date: Apr 15, 2008
Country: United States
Invented By: Raymond Applegate, Larry N Thibos, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 7,416,305
Issue Date: Aug 26, 2008
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 6,379,005 C1
Issue Date: Jul 25, 2007
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 5,777,719 C1
Issue Date: Oct 31, 2006
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 6,095,651 C1
Issue Date: Oct 17, 2006
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 5,949,521 C1
Issue Date: Oct 03, 2006
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 6,948,818
Issue Date: Sep 27, 2005
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 6,379,005
Issue Date: Apr 30, 2002
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 6,095,651
Issue Date: Aug 01, 2000
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 5,949,521
Issue Date: Sep 07, 1999
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Improving Vision and the Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 5,777,719
Issue Date: Jul 07, 1998
Country: United States
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Imaging in an Eye
Patent #: 8,556,428
Issue Date: Oct 15, 2013
Country: United States
Invented By: Alfredo Dubra, Daniel C Gray, Jessica Wolfing Morgan, David R Williams

Patent Title: Method and Apparatus for Imaging in an Eye
Patent #: 8,226,236
Issue Date: Jul 24, 2012
Country: United States
Invented By: Alfredo Dubra, Daniel C Gray, Jessica Wolfing Morgan, David R Williams

Patent Title: Improving Vision and Retinal Imaging
Patent #: 2407082
Issue Date: Mar 30, 2010
Country: Canada
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Improving Vision and Retinal Imaging
Patent #: 4289814
Issue Date: Apr 10, 2009
Country: Japan
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Improving Vision and Retinal Imaging
Patent #: 260244
Issue Date: Sep 03, 2008
Country: Mexico
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Improving Vision and Retinal Imaging
Patent #: 0841658
Issue Date: Jun 20, 2008
Country: Korea, Republic of
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Improving Vision and Retinal Imaging
Patent #: ZL 01808692.6
Issue Date: Aug 02, 2006
Country: China, People's Republic of
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Improving Vision and Retinal Imaging
Patent #: 2001257042
Issue Date: Sep 01, 2005
Country: Australia
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Improving Vision and Retinal Imaging
Patent #: P-91439
Issue Date: Nov 30, 2004
Country: Singapore
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Determine Ocular Refraction From Wavefront Aberration Data and Design of Optimum Customization Correction
Patent #: GB1324689
Issue Date: Aug 02, 2006
Country: United Kingdom
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams

Patent Title: Determination of Ocular Refraction from Wavefront Aberration Data and Design of Optimum Customized Correction
Patent #: 166521
Issue Date: Mar 20, 2003
Country: Taiwan
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams

Patent Title: Determination of Ocular Refraction from Wavefront Aberration Data and Design of Optimum Customized Correction
Patent #: 6,511,180
Issue Date: Jan 28, 2003
Country: United States
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams

Patent Title: Determination of Ocular Refraction from Wavefront Aberration Data
Patent #: ZL 01818811.7
Issue Date: Aug 29, 2007
Country: China, People's Republic of
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams

Patent Title: Determination of Ocular Refraction from Wavefront Aberration Data
Patent #: 1058467
Issue Date: Dec 15, 2006
Country: Hong Kong
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams

Patent Title: Determination of Ocular Refraction from Wavefront Aberration Data
Patent #: 2001 296567
Issue Date: Oct 19, 2006
Country: Australia
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams

Patent Title: Determination of Ocular Refraction from Wavefront Aberration Data
Patent #: 1324689
Issue Date: Aug 02, 2006
Country: Europe
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams

Patent Title: Determination of Ocular Refraction from Wavefront Aberration Data
Patent #: P-95761
Issue Date: Apr 29, 2005
Country: Singapore
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus for Improving Vision and Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 2275762
Issue Date: Nov 24, 2009
Country: Canada
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus for Improving Vision and Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 0969760
Issue Date: Oct 21, 2009
Country: Europe
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus for Improving Vision and Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: DE0969760
Issue Date: Oct 21, 2009
Country: Germany
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus for Improving Vision and Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: GB0969760
Issue Date: Oct 21, 2009
Country: United Kingdom
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus for Improving Vision and Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: FR0969760
Issue Date: Oct 21, 2009
Country: France
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus for Improving Vision and Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 4105237
Issue Date: Apr 04, 2008
Country: Japan
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus for Improving Vision and Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: HK 1024157
Issue Date: Aug 19, 2005
Country: Hong Kong
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus for Improving Vision and Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: ZL 97181504.6
Issue Date: Jan 19, 2005
Country: China, People's Republic of
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus for Improving Vision and Resolution of Retinal Images
Patent #: 723645
Issue Date: Dec 14, 2000
Country: Australia
Invented By: Junzhong Liang, David R Williams

Patent Title: Apparatus and Method for Improving Vision and Retinal Imaging
Patent #: 164094
Issue Date: Feb 18, 2003
Country: Taiwan
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

Patent Title: Apparatus and Method for Improving Vision and Retinal Imaging
Patent #: 6,338,559
Issue Date: Jan 15, 2002
Country: United States
Invented By: Antonio Guirao, David R Williams, Geunyoung Yoon

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Publications

Journal Articles

2/2016
Sharma R, Williams DR, Palczewska G, Palczewski K, Hunter JJ. "Two-Photon Autofluorescence Imaging Reveals Cellular Structures Throughout the Retina of the Living Primate Eye." Investigative ophthalmology & visual science.. 2016 Feb 0; 57(2):632-46.

2/2016
Sharma R, Schwarz C, Williams DR, Palczewska G, Palczewski K, Hunter JJ. "In Vivo Two-Photon Fluorescence Kinetics of Primate Rods and Cones." Investigative ophthalmology & visual science.. 2016 Feb 0; 57(2):647-57.

10/2015
Song H, Rossi EA, Latchney L, Bessette A, Stone E, Hunter JJ, Williams DR, Chung M. "Cone and rod loss in Stargardt disease revealed by adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy." JAMA ophthalmology.. 2015 Oct 0; 133(10):1198-203.

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