Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Jacob SivakDistinguished Professor Emeritus
Adjunct Professor (cross-appointment with Biology)

LScO (Montreal), MS (Indiana), PhD (Cornell), 
OD (Pennsylvania College of Optometry), Doctorat Honoris causa (Montréal), 
Honorary Doctor of Science (New York State), Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Email: jsivak@uwaterloo.ca
Telephone: (519) 888-4567 ext. 33174
Fax: (519) 725-0784
Office: OPT 252
Lab: OPT 258 ext. 32233
Website: cclrserv2.uwaterloo.ca/sivaklabs


Jacob Sivak has contributed significantly to an understanding of how the eye develops, with recent emphasis on the effect of the early visual environment on eye development and on the relationship between lens development and optical function. He was trained as an optometrist at the Université de Montréal and completed a PhD in Physiology at Cornell University in 1972. Sivak and his collaborators and graduate students, have published over 230 articles on the refractive components, optical aberrations and accommodative (focusing) mechanisms of the vertebrate eye. He has also developed and patented a novel lens organ culture and scanning optical system designed to use abattoir supplied tissue to measure toxicological ocular sensitivity as an alternative to the use of live animals. Sivak, a professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science and the Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, has held a Senior NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Industrial Research Chair. He has held a number of administrative posts at the University, including that of Director of the School of Optometry for four terms, and most recently, Dean of Graduate Studies of the University of Waterloo. He has received a number of awards and distinctions as a result of his research. These include the Fry Award of the American Association of Optometry, the Proctor Medal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and honorary doctorates from the Université de Montréal and The State University of New York. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002 and he received an award for excellence in graduate supervision from the University of Waterloo in 2006. He was also recently awarded the title of University Professor by the University of Waterloo for exceptional scholarly achievement.


  • Phylogeny and ontogeny of the eye
  • Refractive development of the eye
  • Ocular toxicology
  • Cataract

Dr. Sivak is an approved Ph.D. supervisor.

Additional information

More detail as well as descriptions of publications, research activities, lab personnel and Scantox is available at Dr. Sivak's website.

University of Waterloo

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