KYCO professor awarded grant to conduct research in Australia

The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) would like to congratulate professor James Rogala, O.D., FAAO, who was recently awarded a $20,000 research grant from the Appalachian College Association to study the choroidal blood supply in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The committee chose Rogala in a competitive selection process from a large pool of applicants.

Rogala’s research focus is important because AMD is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and other developed countries worldwide. This work is an extension of Rogala’s earlier research involving AMD, the results of which were published and cited in numerous peer-reviewed journals and presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, as well as before members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

For the spring 2022 semester, Rogala plans to take sabbatical and return to Australia to continue his research, in collaboration with the University of New South Wales. There he will have access to specialized equipment needed for the research.

“This funding will enable me to build upon the earlier research I conducted with my esteemed colleagues in Australia, which has increased our understanding of this disorder and shed light on potential improvements to current treatment protocols,” said Rogala.

Dean of KYCO Michael Bacigalupi, O.D., MS, FAAO, FNAP, is hopeful for what the outcomes of Rogala’s research could mean to the optometry profession.

“Dr. Rogala’s research regarding the early stages of age-related macular degeneration could change the way that eye doctors manage patients in the future,” Bacigalupi said. “We are excited for him to pursue this important research during the sabbatical.” 

For more information about KYCO, visit or call 606-218-5251.