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Canadian Association of Optometrists Presents Dr. Debbie Jones With 2023 President’s Award

Honor recognizes contributions to pediatric vision care and myopia control.




L to R: Harry Bohnsack, CAO President; Dr. Debbie Jones, CORE; Dr. Michael Nelson, CAO Past President
L to R: Harry Bohnsack, CAO President; Dr. Debbie Jones, CORE; Dr. Michael Nelson, CAO Past President

(PRESS RELEASE) WATERLOO, ONTARIO — The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) has named Debbie Jones, BSc, FCOptom, FAAO, FBCLA, as its 2023 President’s Award recipient. The organization’s highest honor was conferred in recognition for her significant contributions to pediatric vision care, myopia control, and optometry education.

Dr. Jones is a clinical professor at the School of Optometry & Vision Science, University of Waterloo, and a lead clinical scientist with the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE). Dr. Harry Bohnsack, CAO president, and Dr. Michael Nelson, CAO past president, presented the award during the 2023 CAO Congress opening ceremony in Quebec City.

Organizers noted Dr. Jones’ leadership in children’s eye health spanning 25 years, including widespread acknowledgement as a key opinion leader and in-demand conference speaker. Last year, she authored CAO’s position paper on myopia, making Canada the first country to declare that myopia management should be standard of care for all children. They also acknowledged her impact in the classroom and clinic, having worked with more than 2,000 optometry students during her tenure at the University of Waterloo.

“It’s such an honor to be given the President’s Award, but this really isn’t about me. This shines a spotlight on the importance of academic and research optometrists. It’s also about the CAO’s foresight and progressive thinking surrounding myopia prevalence. The Association’s myopia management position paper took a stand like no country before it—something about which all optometrists in Canada should be proud,” said Dr. Jones.

Dr. Jones was nominated by Dr. Marlee Spafford, professor and special advisor to the Provost at the School of Optometry & Vision Science, University of Waterloo.

About the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE)

The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) – formerly known as the Centre for Contact Lens Research – was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science. Over the next three decades, the organization evolved from a three-person operation into a thriving hub of basic and applied research, collaborating with sponsors, agencies and academia on advanced biosciences, clinical research and education. Its uncompromising independence and results of the highest quality have been at the heart of many of the most prominent advances in eye health. Today, its approximately 50-person team serves a range of ophthalmic sectors, including medical devices, ocular pharmaceuticals, digital technology and others, with a focus on the anterior segment. For more information, please visit




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