Essilor Sponsors 23rd Annual Optometry Student Bowl

Essilor of America, the nation's leading manufacturer of optical lenses, once again pulled out all of the stops to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the ever-popular Varilux Optometry Student Bowl, held at this year’s Optometry’s Meeting in Philadelphia, Penn.

Contestants, students from all schools and colleges of optometry, answered optometry-related questions while their fellow classmates energetically cheered them on wearing war paint, school colors and displaying brightly-colored banners.

In addition to bragging rights, the winning school, Southern California College of Optometry, took home $1,000 and the coveted crystal trophy. Second and third place winners, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris University and Indiana University, received $750 and $500, respectively. The winning question, What is the amount and direction of prism induced when looking through a point 7 mm below the optical center of  -6.50 -1.00 x 180? A. 5.25 Δ base down, was correctly answered by David Nguyen.

This year’s competition drew well over 1,500 students, practitioners and staff.

Last year’s Spirit Award winner, State University of New York College of Optometry, created an entertaining video to detail the rules of the competition, which is available for viewing on YouTube at The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science School of Optometry was chosen as this year’s Spirit Award winner, which will provide them with the honor of creating next year’s video.

To add to the excitement pre-show, the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) awarded two new awards this year. The AOSA Virtual Spirit Award was given to Northeastern State University College of Optometry, Tahlequah, Okla., and the AOSA T-Shirt Design Competition award was given to Salus University at Pennsylvania College of Optometry. 

“For twenty-three years, we have had the privilege of challenging optometry students by putting their knowledge into practice in a fun and competitive setting,” said Rod Tahran, O.D., F.A.A.O., vice president of professional relations and clinical affairs for Essilor of America. “Essilor is proud to support events such as the Varilux Optometry Student Bowl as part of our continued dedication to eyecare professionals and the future of optometry.” 

This year’s very prestigious panel of judges included:

  • Lead Judge - Dr. Linda Casser, professor, Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University author, educator, clinician, and 1997 AOA Optometrist of the Year
  • Dr. Diane Adamczyk, author, lecturer and professor at State University of New York
  • Dr. Brett Bence, partner and director of optometry at Northwest Eye Surgeons in Seattle, past president of the Optometric Physicians of Washington, and president-elect of the AAO
  • Dr. Stephen Loomis, former president of  the Colorado  Optometric Association and the Southwest Council of Optometry, and VP of the AOA
  • Dr. Karla Zadnik, past-president, American Academy of Optometry, dean at the Ohio State University College of Optometry and 2014 National Optometry Hall of Fame Inductee.


The Varilux Optometry Student Bowl has been coordinated and produced since its inception by Danne Ventura, F.A.A.O., director, professional relations, Essilor of America. This year’s event was again hosted by David Seibel, O.D., private practitioner in St. Louis. He is past chair, Cornea and Contact Lens Section of AOA, a diplomat in the AAO, was awarded the AOSA Founders Award in 2005 and AOA Young Optometrist of the Year in 1996.