Nicole M. Putnam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Nicole Putnam Portrait

Midwestern University
Arizona College of Optometry
Glendale Hall, Suite 127
19555 59th Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: (623) 572-3909






B.S Optics University of Rochester 2003
M.S. Optical Sciences University of Arizona 2006
Ph.D. Vision Science University of California, Berkeley 2012


Optical Investigation of the Structure and Function of Normal and Diseased Visual Systems
Research interests include the development and use of novel non-invasive optical techniques for imaging the eye, the use of optical imaging and testing to better understand visual function and performance, image processing, applications of clinical imaging and ophthalmic instrumentation, and understanding the optical limits of human vision and visual performance.

Research projects

Tracking Scanning Light Ophthalmoscopy (TSLO): The TSLO was developed at UC Berkeley and is a research-grade optical imaging instrument that allows researchers and clinicians to have real-time visualization of retinal structures with simultaneous, targeted visual stimulus delivery. In the clinical setting at Midwestern University, this instrument will be a resource to clinicians and researchers attempting to advance our understanding of normal and diseased retinas as well as the role that eye motion plays in our ability to perform visual tasks. Preliminary research in collaboration with the Roorda Lab at UC Berkeley has shown that it is possible to measure contrast thresholds under stabilized and manipulated eye motion conditions on the TSLO. Expanding these experiments has the potential to provide insight into the optimal retinal motion conditions, in particular with eccentric fixation. The combination of high-quality retinal images and the ability to perform functional, targeted visual tasks will add significant value to standard clinical images and tests currently available.

Visual Performance and Ocular Aberrations with Different Visual Corrections: Corneal and ocular aberrations can be used to quantify imperfections in the eye's optical system in comparison to an ideal, perfectly focused visual system. The use of wavefront analysis and decomposition in the clinic allows this characterization both for the cornea (the front surface of the eye) and the eye as a whole. Current research projects are investigating the role of natural corneal and ocular aberrations in determining daily soft contact lens preference and visual performance and the changes in corneal and ocular aberrations and visual performance associated with scleral (large diameter) contact lens wear in normal subjects.

Selected Publications

N. M. Putnam, D. X. Hammer, Y. Zhang, D. Merino, and A. Roorda, "Modeling the foveal cone mosaic imaged with adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy," Opt. Express 18, 24902-24916 (2010)  

N. M. Putnam, J. J. Hunter, H. Maness, and E. Rossi. "An Inquiry-Based Vision Science Activity for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Research Scientists," Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Vol. 436, Learning from Inquiry in Practice, 2010.

N. M. Putnam, J. Y. Cheng, E. J. McGrath, D. K. Lai, and P. Moth. "Lens Inquiry: An Astronomy Lab for non-science majors at Hartnell Community College," Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Vol. 436, Learning from Inquiry in Practice, 2010.  

N. M. Putnam, H. J. Hofer, N. Doble, L. Chen, J. Carroll, and D. R. Williams, "The locus of fixation and the foveal cone mosaic," Journal of Vision, Vol. 5, Number 7, Article 3, Pages 632-649, August 17, 2005.