His areas of research included eye movements (owls and humans), eye muscle proprioception, spatial and motion perception, stereoscopic vision, central vision loss, and visual illusions. While studying the ocular motor function of patients treated for strabismus, he found that pre and post-surgical measures of visual direction provided insights as to the sources of information of the position of the eyes in the orbit. This information eventually led to the discovery of the Palisade Endings in humans. Dr. Steinbach also worked extensively with people with vision loss from amblyopia, the loss of an eye, and age-related macular degeneration. These studies were directed to a greater understanding of the brain's plasticity and the design of techniques for improving reading ability in people with central vision loss.
Dr. Steinbach was an advocate of the collaboration between clinicians and basic scientists in the understanding of vision. To him, clinicians provide invaluable insights that the rigor of science can put to the test, while scientists provide explanation, interpretation and prediction of the phenomena that comprise our brain's activity and that most complex of all senses.
As an active ARVO member for more than 40 years, Dr. Steinbach served on the International Advocacy Committee (2006 - 2012), a member of the Board of Trustees (2004 - 2005) and was a generous donor to the ARVO Foundation. In 2009, Dr. Steinbach was presented with the Kupfer Award, which honors those who have demonstrated distinguished public service with national or global impact, on behalf of eye and vision research.
Martin J. Steinbach, PhD, FARVO, passed away peacefully on June 24. Dr. Steinbach was a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at York University. He received a Master's Degree from Connecticut College in 1965 and a PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1968.