NEWS | December 17, 2013

Sports vision specialist receives "40 Under 40" recognition


UC Davis eye specialist Khizer Khaderi, age 35, is combining expertise in neuro-opthalmology with technological know-how to develop new tools to improve vision and patient care, from athletes in training to individuals with traumatic brain injury.

Khizer Khaderi Khizer Khaderi

His work and vision for establishing a sports vision center for student athletes and the community has earned him a spot on the Sacramento Business Journal’s list of up-and-coming local professionals under age 40 who are making important contributions to the community. Selected from more than 300 nominations by a panel of outside judges, the 2013 honorees were celebrated at an event in Sacramento on Dec. 11.

As director of the neuro-ophthalmology service, Khaderi evaluates, diagnoses and treats conditions that affect how the eye and brain communicate, such as genetic and inflammatory diseases of the optic nerve, eye movement disorders, brain tumors that affect vision, and facial and eyelid spasms.

Khaderi also conducts research and creates innovative ways of incorporating technology into the diagnosis, monitoring, training and rehabilitation of the visual system. His apps and online video games are designed to assess and improve vision performance. The GameDay Vision Baseball game, for example, improves on-field batting performance, and a suite of gamified vision tests for contrast, visual acuity and color aims to make the test-taking experience more interactive and fun.

“My goal is to create a visual intelligence profile for individuals based on the measurements of visual speed, memory, acuity, contrast and color,” he said.  “Some of my patients who have trained with these games have seen improvements in their contrast sensitivity and visual field expansion.”

While at UC Davis, Khaderi has developed and patented a method for diagnosing traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

BadFish App
Badfish! is one of the first games Khaderi developed to test visual motor coordination, acuity and contrast sensitivity. It is available free for iPad users from the iTunes store. Photograph courtesy of Dr. Khaderi.

“When you consider that more than one third of the brain is devoted to vision, it is possible to detect signs of TBI by inspecting eye movements, pupils and brain-wave activities,” Khaderi said. “These visual measurements are more reliable and reproducible than currently available tests for TBI and could potentially be used to both diagnose and monitor patients, as there isn’t a consistent measuring stick for when someone with TBI has recovered.” 

Khaderi also is working to develop a sports vision center at UC Davis.

“While athletes may have good visual acuity, excellent sports vision and performance are a result of many factors, including depth perception, visual memory and eye-hand-body coordination,” said Khaderi, who holds four patents in the field of vision training. “Sports vision specialists assess these and other essential vision skills and develop training programs to improve performance.”

Khaderi has consulted with major sports organizations including the Chicago White Sox, Boston Celtics and San Francisco 49ers; college sports teams at the University of Arizona, University of Southern California and Caltech; and Sony, EA Sports, Microsoft, Creative Artists Agency and other organizations.

“Dr. Khaderi brings an exciting new dimension of care to our medical community,” said Mark Mannis, professor and chair of the Eye Center at UC Davis Health System. “He has brought innovative technology for application to the rapid diagnosis of traumatic brain injury – a major problem in athletics in our country.”

Khaderi earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and his medical and master’s in public health from the University of Utah School of Medicine. He attended residency at the University of Arizona, and completed a fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology and orbital surgery at the University of Southern California. He is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives, American Academy of Ophthalmology and Sports Ophthalmology Society of America.

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 619-bed acute-care teaching hospital, a 1,000-member physician's practice group and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. For more information, visit


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