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Essilor and Optometry Giving Sight Provide Student Loans in Malawi

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They’ll help students at Mzuzu University.

(Press Release) Denver CO — Essilor of America and Optometry Giving Sight have announced the recipients of study loans for students of optometry at Mzuzu University in Malawi, Africa.

The loans will cover full tuition and living costs for the five years of the bachelor of vision science, starting this academic year. 

“It’s a great feeling to know that we are helping students in emerging countries such as Malawi to become degree qualified optometrists,” said Dr. Howard Purcell, senior vice president, customer development group, Essilor of America. “These loans will ensure that economically disadvantaged students are able to complete their studies and then provide urgently needed vision care services to women, men and children in their local communities.”

Purcell visited the program in November 2015 and was highly impressed with the School of Optometry, which was established in 2009 and has so far produced 35 graduates. There are currently 71 students enrolled in the program.

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“It was a humbling experience to see how challenging life can be in a country like Malawi, but inspiring to witness the commitment and dedication of the students and their teachers,” Purcell said. ​”These loans will ensure that more students are able to realize their dreams and will help to build the profession of optometry in the country.”

The Optometry Development program in Malawi is an initiative of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Mzuzu University, Malawi College of Health Sciences and Optometry Giving Sight.

The current head of school at Mzuzu University is Dr. Sara McGowan, a graduate of UAB.

The recipients of the student loans are Adson Mitochi, Mariam Aliya, Gibson Nkhwekwe, Kettie Lozario, Tambuzai Liyo, and Thandiwe Nyirenda.

INVISION Malawi Student Loans2 recipients from left to right Adson Mitochi Mariam Aliya Gibson Nkhwekwe Kettie Lozario Tambuzai Liyo and Thandiwe Nyirenda

 The recipients of the student loans are (pictured from left to right): Adson Mitochi, Mariam Aliya, Gibson Nkhwekwe, Kettie Lozario, Tambuzai Liyo, and Thandiwe Nyirenda.

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AOA Celebrates Paraoptometric Week

It has designated September 16-20, 2019 for the event.

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(PRESS RELEASE) The American Optometric Association (AOA) has designated September 16-20, 2019 as Paraoptometric Week. Now in its seventeenth year, the week is the only formal observance in the nation specifically intended to honor optometric practice staff for their dedication to the patients they serve and to the profession of optometry.

Paraoptometrics are key members of the eye care delivery team in optometric offices all across the country. Their role is even more critical to providing the best patient care possible in today’s health care environment.

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New Jersey paraoptometric, Linda Rodgriguez, CPO, summarized the important role of staff for a successful practice by stating, “As demand for eye care services continues to grow, paraoptometrics will continue to be a vital part of the eye-care team. A well-trained optometric staff is invaluable and play a role in every successful optometric practice. Doctors of optometry who are ‘pro para,’ and recognize their paraoptometric staff for their dedication, knowledge and professionalism are rewarded with not just practice growth, but most importantly, satisfied patients.”

Doctors can reinforce the value paraoptometric staff bring to their practice with these three suggestions:

1. Enroll staff as AOA associate members. It’s included as part of AOA membership, and this step opens the door to AOA Paraoptometric Resource Center.

2. Encourage paraoptometric certification. Doctors can foster their professional development and encourage staff to seek certification.

3. Show them you care. Now’s the time to celebrate paraoptometric staff, so consider special recognition events or surprises, such as a “Wall of Fame,” a post on social media, team lunch or decorations-after all, it takes a team to run any practice.

Additional information is available at aoa.org/paraoptometrics/awards-and-recognition/para-week.

The Paraoptometric Resource Center is sponsored by Alcon.

To learn more about paraoptometry and the benefits of certification, visit aoa.org/paraoptometrics or call 800.365.2219, ext. 4108.

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Press Releases

AOA Supports Smoking Education, Cessation Efforts Amid Vaping Ban

Hundreds of people have been sickened by mysterious lung illnesses and teenage vaping continues to rise.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Amid billowing health concerns around vaping, the American Optometric Association (AOA) is raising awareness of the importance of patient education on vision and eye health complications that are linked to or exacerbated by smoking.

This is following the administration’s announcement that it would ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, at a time when hundreds of people have been sickened by mysterious lung illnesses and teenage vaping continues to rise. Hundreds of serious respiratory cases compounded by six deaths prompted this strong federal response into electronic cigarettes as health authorities go after the “safe alternative” to cigarettes.

Although e-cigarettes don’t contain many of the cancer-causing byproducts of cigarette smoke, evidence now suggests there could be ocular health considerations.

Published in September’s Optometry and Vision Science, a small-scale study of 21 vapers and 21 healthy nonsmokers found moderate-to-severe symptomatic dry eye and poorer tear film quality among the former as opposed to the latter. Additionally, researchers noticed significant reductions of noninvasive tear breakup time, fluorescein breakup time and tear meniscus height among vapers while vaping at higher voltages.

Dan Bintz, O.D., AOA Health Promotions Committee member, says doctors of optometry and staff need to continue thinking beyond the eye when it comes to tobacco use. That includes reinforcing patient education of smoking’s negative health consequences, as well as directing smokers to tobacco cessation resources.

For more information, visit here.

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2019 American Academy of Optometry Resident Travel Fellowship Recipients Announced

The awards allow residents to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry.

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(PRESS RELEASE) ORLANDO, FL – The American Academy of Optometry congratulates the recipients of the 2019 Resident Travel Fellowship Awards. These travel fellowships will allow residents to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry, Oct. 23-27.

Allergan Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by Allergan

  • Dana Rhea, OD, Northeastern State University
  • Corinne Wong, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
  • Mary Chivetta, OD, University of Missouri at St. Louis
  • Luke Lirones, OD, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
  • Nicole Harris, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
  • Elizabeth Davis, OD, Southern College of Optometry
  • Allison Choi, OD, Pacific University
  • Vincent Chan, OD, Pacific University
  • Jesal Haribhakti, OD, Indiana University
  • Sara Moses, OD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Amrit Bilkhu, OD, University of California, Berkeley
  • Courtney Cape, OD, University of Houston
  • Abigail Gonsalves, OD, Indiana University
  • Courtney Hongo, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
  • Dennis Giang, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
  • Allegra Burgher, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
  • Skylar Williams, OD, University of Houston
  • Lucinda Kauffman, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Abigail Strauss, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
  • Carissa Hintz, OD, Pacific University
  • Jessica Jankiewicz, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
  • Madison Goodfellow, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
  • Kelly Morgan, OD, MS, The Ohio State University
  • Sydney Cooper, OD, Southern College of Optometry
  • Maria Adriaansen, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Elizabeth Brooks, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Vikarma Brooks, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Andrew Henderson, OD, Northeastern State University
  • Daisy Berisha, OD, State University of New York
  • Branden Shaffer, OD, Indiana University
  • Sohail Sakkari, OD, State University of New York
  • Rachel Choi, OD, University of Houston
  • Kimber Kenzli, OD, Pacific University
  • Lauren Fernandez, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
  • Reid Gardner, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
  • Sarah Quan, OD, PhD, State University of New York
  • Larissa Krenk, OD, Indiana University
  • Jaana Ashtiani-Zarandi, OD, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
  • Jimmy Nguyen, OD, Nova Southeastern University
  • Taylor Phillips, OD, MBA, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Anterior Segment Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by the Anterior Segment Section of the American Academy of Optometry

Brittany Hoyle, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Paige Sorrentino, OD, Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry

Arizona Chapter Resident Travel Fellowship
Sponsored by the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry

Jacqueline Yi, OD, Sierra Vista VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic

Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by CooperVision

  • Nicole Poon, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Christopher Albright, OD, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
  • Thanhan Nguyen, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
  • Audrey Janelle-Brousseau, OD, University of Montreal
  • Baljinder Momrath, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Vanessa Wang, OD, State University of New York
  • Chelsea Bradley, OD, University of California, Berkeley
  • Ryan Rutschilling, OD, The Ohio State University
  • Mari Fujimoto, OD, Pacific University
  • Pooja Mahadev, OD, Nova Southeastern University
  • Valerie Lim, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
  • Christina Wenn, OD, University of Houston
  • Duc Tran, OD, University of the Incarnate Word
  • Ghazal Naseri, OD, University of California, Berkeley
  • Joseph Isik, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
  • Amrit Jawanda, OD, New England College of Optometry
  • Jacqueline Benoit, OD, The Ohio State University
  • Kimberly Weisenberger, OD, The Ohio State University
  • Haley Italia, OD, New England College of Optometry
  • Kendra Phillis, OD, New England College of Optometry
  • Rosa (Yawen) Yang, OD, University of Waterloo
  • Kevan Smith, OD, Southern College of Optometry
  • Jessica Sun, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
  • Matthew Lee, OD, University of Missouri at St. Louis

Florida Chapter Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry

  • Alexandria Rawls, OD, Bay Pines VA Medical Center
  • Mickinzee Combs, OD, Nova Southeastern University
  • Lauren Nicholas, OD, Nova Southeastern University
  • Esther Park, OD, Nova Southeastern University

IKA Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by the International Keratoconus Academy

Sophia Leung, OD, Northeastern State University
Yue Yu, OD, PhD, New England College of Optometry

Travel fellowship recipients will be recognized at the Student and Resident Awards Lunch on Thursday, Oct. 24, from noon to 1 p.m. in Valencia W415 CD in the Orange County Convention Center. CooperVision Resident Travel Fellowships will be presented at the CooperVision booth #809 on Thursday, Oct. 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the exhibit hall. The IKA Resident Travel Fellowship will be presented at the American Academy of Optometry Foundation Celebration Luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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