They've made long-lasting contributions to the field.
The American Optometric Association and Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation announced that three doctors of optometry have been selected for the National Optometry Hall of Fame.
Since 1998, the National Optometry Hall of Fame has honored doctors of optometry who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to the optometric profession.
The 2017 inductees:
Dr. Paul Berman, New Jersey
As founder of the Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes program, the late Berman was a champion of the need for vision care for intellectually disabled children and adults worldwide. Berman originally developed the program as a project of the former AOA Sports Vision Section during his term as president of the section in 1991. He received the New Jersey Optometrist of the Year Award from the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians in 1998 and the AOA SVS Optometrist of the Year Award in 2001.
He was named the International Optometrist of the Year in 2005 by the World Council of Optometry, and inducted into the National Academies of Practice in 2010. In 2012, Berman was recognized by the White House during the "Champions of Change" ceremony, which spotlighted Americans leading extraordinary initiatives to strengthen their communities. He has served on the boards and advisory groups of several organizations, including Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation. Read more.
Dr. John Casto, West Virginia
After completion of his optometry degree from Southern College of Optometry, Casto served as chief of eye services in the U.S. Army in Verdun, France. He then returned home to St. Albans, WV, to begin his private practice, as well as service to the West Virginia Association of Optometric Physicians. He became a tireless advocate for increasing the scope of optometry to better serve patients.
Dr. Casto served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Southern Council of Optometrists, rising to the office of president in 1984. Leading by example, his passion for the profession continued when he became the oldest practitioner in his state to successfully pass the injections course mandated by the state board of optometry to practice to the highest level of care for his patients. In 2012, he was awarded the WVAOP Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the profession. Read more.
Dr. James Sandefur, Louisiana
Sandefur has been called the "heart and soul" of optometry in Louisiana because of his deep passion for the profession and serving the citizens of the state. He provided eyecare to the citizens of his community for 30 years, and since 1997, he has served as executive director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana. During his tenure, membership has nearly doubled. Working with his membership, he has spearheaded dozens of bills helping doctors of optometry better serve their patients, and helped defeat other proposed legislation and resolutions that would have been detrimental to the profession and the public's access to eye care.
An active member of the AOA, Sandefur has served on numerous committees and received the AOA's Distinguished Service Award in 2010. That year, he was also the recipient of the Bill Pittman Optometric Leadership Award at the Southwest Council of Optometry, in recognition of his leadership example within the profession. Read more.
The inductees will be honored at a ceremony during Optometry's Meeting in on June 22 in Washington, DC. Click here to register and learn more.
The National Optometry Hall of Fame is administered by Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation. For more information, click here.