Each year at its annual meeting, the Academy recognizes several optometrists for their outstanding accomplishments. Due to the face-to-face meeting transitioning into an online event, this year’s awards will be presented to the recipients at next year’s meeting in Boston. However, please join the Prentice and Fry awardees on Thursday, October 8 at 7pm as they present lectures about their research.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s award recipients! We are pleased to honor these distinguished individuals, acknowledging the countless contributions that they have made in advancing our profession.

Charles F. Prentice Medal and Lecture

The Academy’s top award and lecture at the annual meeting is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge through research in the vision sciences.

The recipient of this year’s Prentice Medal is Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD, FAAO. Dr. Zadnik’s career has been focused on advancing optometric research not only through her own insights and brilliance but with her students and collaborators, and through the joint AOA-AAO Summer Research Institute, which throughout the past 18 years has generated $78 million in research funding for optometric clinical research.

The Glenn A. Fry Award and Lecture

Sponsored by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), this award recognizes a distinguished scientist or clinician for his or her current research contributions.

Donald T. Miller, PhD, is the recipient of the 2020 Fry Award. Dr. Miller has been involved in the study of the optical properties of the human eye for almost three decades and is one of the very few scientists who are not simply driving important advancements in imaging technology, but also contributing to improving the profession of optometry and, ultimately, patient care.

Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award

The Borish Award recognizes an outstanding young researcher who shows exceptional promise in conducting independent optometric research directly related to etiology, prevention, detection, diagnosis or management of clinical eye disorders.

The 2020 Borish Award recipient is Zhichao Wu, BAppSc (Optom), PhD. Dr. Wu has made major contributions in how clinicians detect and monitor both age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma by developing innovative ways of using imaging modalities.

AAO-Essilor Award for Outstanding International Contributions to Optometry

The International Award recognizes an individual(s) or organization(s) whose direct efforts and contributions have resulted in unquestionably significant and extraordinary advances in optometry and eye care internationally.

This year’s International Award is awarded to Abraham Bromberg, OD, MS, FAAO. Dr. Bromberg’s efforts and contributions over the last 40 years have had a huge impact on the profession of optometry in Mexico that eventually led to optometry becoming a self-governing, legislated profession for the first time.

William Feinbloom Award

Presented to an individual who has made a distinguished and significant contribution to clinical excellence and the direct clinical advancement of visual and optometric service and thus the visual enhancement of the public.

This year’s Feinbloom awardee is Roanne E. Flom, OD, FAAO. Dr. Flom’s dedication to the clinical discipline of low vision rehabilitation and to her patients with low vision has been the hallmark of her career. She is a leader in low vision with a focus in both the academic world and the regulatory world, with her work in vision-related driving in Ohio.

Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies Awards

These awards and lecture will be presented on Monday, October 12 at 7pm Eastern Time during Academy 2020 At Home.

Max Schapero Memorial Lecture Award
The Section’s highest award honors a clinician, researcher or scholar who has made a significant contribution to the cornea and contact lens field by virtue of his/her publications, lectures or research efforts.

This year’s honoree is Jeffrey J. Walline, OD, PhD, FAAO. Dr. Walline has received substantial research support for his work on contact lenses and myopia progression. He has 44 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has presented hundreds of invited lectures on his research.

Founders’ Award
Presented to the individual, group or company who has made outstanding contributions to the clinical aspect of the art and science of contact lens fitting. 

This year’s awardee is Michael G. Harris, OD, JD, FAAO. Dr. Harris was an early pioneer in the research on gas permeable contact lenses. His research also formed the backbone of the science behind the use of contact lenses in modern presbyopic correction.

Brien Holden Humanitarian Award

Recognizes an individual or organization who has made significant contributions to improve eye care within a country or region. In particular, the award acknowledges humanitarian efforts in the non-profit/not-for-profit sector that builds or supports the development of sustainable eye care systems in developing communities.

The recipient of this year’s Holden Award is Greg Pearl, OD. Nominated by two previous Holden award recipients, Dr. Pearl is a visionary who led VOSH International to establish the VOSH Corps project to recruit and train volunteers to serve in optometry schools worldwide, patterned after the Peace Corps model.

Carel C. Koch Medal Award

Awarded to a person who has made outstanding contributions to the enhancement and development of relationships between optometry and other professions.

The 2020 Koch medal is conferred upon Raymond A. Applegate, OD, PhD, FAAO. Dr. Applegate’s sustained efforts in research and education have established mutual respect between researchers, clinicians and educators in the optometric and ophthalmological professions.

Julius F. Neumueller Award in Optics

Awarded to a student pursuing the Doctor of Optometry degree in a school or college of optometry who submits a first-authored original research paper on one of the following topics: Geometrical Optics, Physical Optics, Ophthalmic Optics; Optics of the Eye.

This year the Awards Committee selected the following research article to honor with this award: “Quantifying the Optical and Physical Consequences of Daily Cleaning on Conventional and Wavefront-Guided Scleral Lenses,” Sarah M. Wilting, BS; Gareth D. Hastings, PhD, BOptom; Lan Chi Nguyen, MBA, FAAO; Matthew J. Kauffman, OD, FAAO; Elizabeth S. Bell, OD; Chuan Hu, MD, OD; Sujata Rijal, BOptom; Jason D. Marsack, PhD, FAAO; University of Houston College of Optometry.

Vincent Ellerbrock Clinician Educator Award

Presented to a distinguished clinician who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to the Academy’s Lectures and Workshops program.

The 2020 Ellerbrock award recipient is conferred posthumously to Gay Tokumaru, OD, FAAO. Taken too soon from the lecture stage, Dr. Tokumaru was an outstanding Veterans’ Administration clinician and educator who dedicated her career in service of veterans and the optometric profession. She shared her clinical expertise and knowledge in support of the Academy’s Lectures & Workshops Program for nearly 20 consecutive years both as a lecturer and in her work with the Lectures & Workshops Program Committee.

Garland W. Clay Award

Presented to the authors of the manuscript published in Optometry and Vision Science (OVS) that has been among the top OVS papers cited in the world research literature in the preceding five years and has the majority vote of the Optometry and Vision Sciences Editorial Board.

The 2020 Clay Award paper is: Jun-Kang Si, MD; Kai Tang, MD; Hong-Sheng Bi, MD; Da- Dong Guo, PhD; Jun-Guo Guo, MD; Xing-Rong Wang, MD. Orthokeratology for Myopia Control: A Meta-analysis. Optometry and Vision Science 2015; 92:252-257.

Public Health & Environmental Vision Section Award

This award and lecture will be presented online during Academy 2020 At Home. Stay tuned for the scheduled date and time!

Henry B. Peters Memorial Award
This year’s recipient is Gregory W. Good, OD, PhD, FAAO. Dr. Good has committed his career to optometric education, research and service in the field of environmental vision. He not only taught courses at the Ohio State University College of Optometry, but also secured substantial research grants while being on the college’s clinical faculty.

Michael G. Harris Family Award for Excellence in Optometric Education

Presented by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation, the Harris Award recognizes an optometric educator who has demonstrated ongoing and consistent excellence in educating optometry students and/or advancement of optometric education.

This year the Harris Award is awarded to Clifford W. Brooks, Jr., OD, FAAO. Over his 45-year career as an educator, Dr. Brooks has contributed not only to the academic success of his own students in ophthalmic optics, but also throughout optometry with his seminal textbook, System for Ophthalmic Dispensing.

Tony Adams Eminent Service Award

The newly renamed Tony Adams Eminent Service Award honors those persons who have rendered extraordinary and/or distinguished long-term service to the Academy.

This year’s awardee is Brett G. Bence, OD, FAAO. Besides his successful career in a group practice in Seattle, Dr. Bence committed himself to sustained volunteerism within the Academy in the former Disease Section, the Scientific Program, the Lectures & Workshops Program (serving as Chair 2002-2004), and on the Academy Board of Directors, culminating in his Academy Presidency in 2015 and 2016.