Recent Posts
Connect with:
Thursday / July 18.
HomeminewsProf. Stephen Dain Recognised with Josef Lederer Award

Prof. Stephen Dain Recognised with Josef Lederer Award

Emeritus Professor Stephen Dain has received the Josef Lederer award from Optometry NSW/ACT. The award, the most prestigious of all awards conferred by the state division, was created in 1996 to recognise members whose work has elevated the status of the profession beyond what is normally expected.

Professor Dain was born in the United Kingdom and studied at City University London where he became one of the first to graduate with a BSc in Ophthalmic Optics. He moved to Australia to take up an appointment at the University of Melbourne in 1973 and two and a half years later moved to the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Steve is possibly best known for his work deep in the bowels of the (UNSW) Physics building at the Optics and Radiometry Laboratory, a concept which he brought to life in 1983

Luke Cahill (left) with Emeritus Professor Stephen Dain

After many years as a renowned member of the faculty, known for his great passion for colour vision, Professor Dain was appointed Head of School at UNSW, a position he held for eight years from 1998–2006. During his time at UNSW he also founded the University’s Optics and Radiometry Laboratory.

In presenting the award, Luke Cahill, President of Optometry NSW/ACT described the contribution that Professor Dain has made to optometry in Australia.

“During his tenure, the School moved into the iconic Rupert Myers Building in 1999 and then forged ahead with a revamped five year undergraduate degree, commencing with its first intake in 2006,” said Mr Cahill.

“However I would hazard a guess that Steve is possibly best known for his work deep in the bowels of the (UNSW) Physics building at the Optics and Radiometry Laboratory, a concept which he brought to life in 1983.

“What started out as a testing lab for sunglasses and eye protection has grown into a fully accredited National Association of Testing Authority (NATA) laboratory for photometry, colorimetry, and spectroradiometry, as well as providing expert consulting services to industry, ophthalmic lens manufacturers, visual ergonomics, and vision standards.”

During an outstanding career, Professor Dain has published in excess of 120 papers in peer reviewed journals and continues to produce publications with both clinical and scientific application.


In his acceptance speech at an Optometry NSW/ACT event in late 2018, Professor Dain said he was honoured to receive an award in the name of Emeritus Professor Josef Lederer. He described Prof. Lederer as a “giant” of the eye health sector whose influence had been essential to shaping the future of optometry and forming the basis of what it is now.

“We owe a debt to him because it was he, and Brian Layland and to a lesser extent Bernie McMahon, and Damian Smith in Melbourne who got (optometry) into the Medicare system,” said Prof. Dain.

“I cannot overestimate what Joe means to this profession and what he has meant to me personally in my development. “

Joe gave me my first start, he mentored me, and gave me an introduction to colour vision and what became occupational optometry.”

Previous winners of the Josef Lederer award include the late Professor Brien Holden, Professor Brian Layland, Anthony Chapman- Davies, Christine Craigie, William Trinh, and Timothy Duffy.