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CORE Initiative Among World’s Best PR Campaigns

Program amplified global awareness of Mask-Associated Dry Eye (MADE).




(PRESS RELEASE) ROCHESTER, NY — An initiative to create global awareness about a pandemic side effect has been named as one of the best communications campaigns of 2021. The Public Relations Society of America has shortlisted “Alerting the World to MADE: Mask-Associated Dry Eye” for its prestigious Anvil Awards, which are widely considered as the pinnacle of professional achievement.

Several weeks after COVID-19-related mask wear became widespread, complaints of dry eyes began rising without explanation. The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and McDougall Communications developed a program to educate the eye care community and public about MADE, which is caused by redirected airflow from poor-fitting masks that causes tears to more quickly evaporate, leaving eyes feeling irritated.

Over the course of 18 months, the initiative spurred more than 2,500 mainstream news reports on six continents, plus broad coverage by ophthalmic industry journalists. Eye care practitioners worldwide rapidly took note and adopted CORE’s guidance, providing much-appreciated relief.

The effort earned both a Silver Anvil shortlist designation for overall effectiveness, as well as a Bronze Anvil shortlist nod for a campaign-anchoring feature story. Winners will be announced during a gala dinner at Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom on May 19.

Since 1944, the Anvil Awards have been presented to organizations that successfully address challenging issues with exemplary professional skill, creativity, and resourcefulness. They are often referred to as the Oscars of the profession, owing to their stringent judging process and candidates from around the world. McDougall Communications has been awarded multiple Anvils in recent years, spanning a range of clients, programs, and categories.

The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) was established in 1988 at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science. Its basic and applied research collaborations with sponsors, agencies, and academia on advanced biosciences, clinical research and education have been at the heart of prominent eye health advances. The 50-person CORE 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


McDougall Communications (, founded in 2011, assists clients across the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific meet their business objectives through a range of communications services, including strategic planning, media and influencer relations, reputation and crisis counsel, and social media management. It is the most senior standalone public relations and reputation management firm in Upstate New York and its groundbreaking work regularly shapes global communications advancements.

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