John S. Werner, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor




Locations and Contact

Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center

Ophthalmology Clinic-Eye Center
4860 Y St.
Sacramento, CA 95817

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Phone: 916-734-6602

Clinical Interests

Dr. Werner studies the neurophysiological computations and mechanisms that mediate human vision, particularly changes in color and spatial vision across the life span and in association with retinal and optic nerve disease.

His work has demonstrated adaptive modifications of the visual system response to changes in signals due to aging of the eye's optics and retina. His laboratory has developed state-of-the-art methods for imaging the human retina of the living eye at a cellular scale. 

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Werner's research is concerned with the neurophysiological computations and mechanisms that mediate human vision, particularly changes in vision across the life span and in diseases of the retina and optic nerve. His studies use psychophysical and electrophysiological methods, together with high-resolution retinal imaging (adaptive optics and optical coherence tomography), to study both normal aging and age-related diseases leading to blindness.



Center/Program Affiliation

Eye Center

Undergraduate School

B.A., Human Development, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS 1974

Other School

Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, Brown University, Providence RI 1979

Other School

M.A., Human Development, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS 1974


Instituut voor Zintuigfysiologie - TNO (Institute for Perception), Soesterberg, The Netherlands 1979


Universitat Freiburg, Abteilung fur Neurophysiologie, Freiburg, i, Br., Germany 1981

Verriest Medal, International Colour Vision Society, 2015

Pisart Vision Award, Lighthouse International (New York), 2008

Jules and Doris Stein Research to Prevent Blindness Professorship, 2000

Ninetieth Annual Distinguished Research Lecture, University of Colorado, 1998

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Humboldt-Preis, 1994

Werner JS, Marsh-Armstrong B, Knoblauch K. Adaptive Changes in Color Vision from Long-Term Filter Usage in Anomalous but Not Normal Trichromacy. Curr Biol. 2020 Aug 3;30(15):3011-3015.e4. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2020.05.054. Epub 2020 Jun 25. PMID: 32589909.

Malania M, Konrad J, Jägle H, Werner JS, Greenlee MW. Compromised integrity of central visual pathways in patients with macular degeneration. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2017 Jun;58: 2939-2947. doi:10.1167/iovs.16-21191.

Webster MA, Halen K, Meyers AJ, Winkler P, Werner JS. Color appearance and compensation in the near periphery. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences. 2010;277:1817-1825. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1832.

Werner JS, Chalupa LM (Eds.) The New Visual Neurosciences, MIT Press Cambridge MA. 2014.

Werner JS. The Verriest Lecture: Short-wave-sensitive cone pathways across the life span. J Opt Soc Am A Opt Image Sci Vis. 2016 Mar;33(3):A104-22. doi:10.1364/JOSAA.33.00A104. PMID:26974914.

Schwartz DM, Fingler J, Kim DY, Zawadzki RJ, Morse LS, Park SS, Fraser SE, Werner JS. Phase-variance optical coherence tomography: a technique for noninvasive angiography. Ophthalmology. 2014 Jan;121(1):180-187. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.09.002. Epub 2013 Oct 21. PMID:24156929.

Kim DY, Fingler J, Zawadzki RJ, Park SS, Morse LS, Schwartz DM, Fraser SE, Werner JS. Optical imaging of the chorioretinal vasculature in the living human eye. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 27;110(35):14354-9.

Panorgias A, Zawadzki RJ, Capps AG, Hunter AA, Morse LS, Werner JS. Multimodal assessment of microscopic morphology and retinal function in patients with geographic atrophy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Jun 26;54(6):4372-84. doi:10.1167/iovs.12-11525. PMID:23696601.

Shinomori K, Werner JS. Aging of human short-wave cone pathways. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Aug 14;109(33):13422-7. doi:10.1073/pnas.1119770109. Epub 2012 Jul 30. PMID:22847416.