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Friday / April 19.
HomeminewsAustralia Honoured with Six Prestigious Awards at AAO

Australia Honoured with Six Prestigious Awards at AAO

L-R: American Academy of Optometry awardees 2023. Left to right, Professor Nathan Efron, Anabelle Seddon, Professor Eric Papas, Dr Rabia Mobeen, and Professor Ian Bailey.

The calibre of Australian research has been recognised at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry in New Orleans in October 2023.

Australian academics received six prestigious awards.

Charles F Prentice Medal

Professor Eric Papas, from the School of Optometry at the University of New South Wales, received the Charles F Prentice Medal, which is the Academy’s top award, presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge through research in the visual sciences. Professor Papas was instrumental in the development of the first silicone hydrogel lenses. Along with his inventions and research, he has been influential in training PhD students and publishing highly-cited research studies. He was invited to deliver a lecture reflecting on his illustrious career.

Carel C Koch Memorial Medal

Queensland University of Technology Professor Nathan Efron received the Carel C Koch Memorial Medal, which is presented to a person who has made outstanding contributions to the enhancement and development of relationships between optometry and other professions. Professor Efron has been instrumental in introducing the world of endocrinology, neurology, and related professions to the technique of assessing the structural integrity of corneal nerves using the corneal confocal microscope, which has led to it becoming a diagnostic tool for both peripheral and central neurodegenerative disorders.

Professor Eric Papas (received) the Academy’s top award, presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge through research in the visual sciences

The Irvin M and Beatrice Borish Award

The Irvin M and Beatrice Borish Award recognises an outstanding young researcher who has shown exceptional promise to conduct independent optometric research directly related to aetiology, prevention, detection, diagnosis, or management of clinical eye disorders. The Borish Award recipient is Dr Rabia Mobeen from the School of Optometry at the University of New South Wales. Dr Mobeen is a talented clinician-scientist-educator who has been recognised for her efforts not only in establishing post-graduate research work in her native Pakistan, but also for her personal research in the area of immune response in the cornea during orthokeratology.

The Julius F Neumueller Award in Optics

The Julius F Neumueller Award in Optics is awarded to a student pursuing a degree in a school of optometry who submits a first-authored original research paper on one of the following topics: geometrical optics, physical optics, ophthalmic optics, or optics of the eye. This year the Neumueller award was presented to Annabelle Seddon (principal author), Hanna Chaki, Hang-My Julie Dona Phan, Jessica G Spink, Matthew Loc Phuc Ha, and Surini Wijeysuria, from Optometry and Vision Science at the Queensland University of Technology, for their paper entitled “Effects of induced aniseikonia on binocular visual acuity”.

The Tony Adams Eminent Service Award

The Tony Adams Eminent Service Award honours those persons who have rendered extraordinary and/or distinguished long-term service to the Academy. This year’s awardee was Professor Ian L Bailey, an Academy Fellow for 60 years. Dr Bailey graduated in Optometry from the University of Melbourne, but has spent his entire career in the School of Optometry at the University California, Berkeley. Professor Bailey’s first active participation in the Academy was in December 1976 in Portland, Oregon. At his very first meeting he was invited to give an Ellerbrock Continuing Education Course and three scientific papers. Since then, he has attended and presented at every single Academy meeting – up until the 2020 pandemic. Over those 45 years he has given 197 papers, courses, workshops and posters.

Ezell Fellowship

Dr Sidra Sarwat, Kofi Asedi and Janelle Tong from the School of Optometry at the University of New South Wales, were three of 16 outstanding vision researchers selected to receive a prestigious Ezell Fellowships from the Academy.

For 75 years, the Ezell Fellowship program – named after Dr William C Ezell who established the Foundation to fund these awards – has recognised talented optometric researchers pursuing careers in research and education. Dr Sarwat was unable to attend the 2023 meeting.