(PRESS RELEASE) The American Academy of Optometry announces a $5,000 donation has been made to Fuji Vision Aid Mission in honor of Akio Kanai, OD, the 2018 recipient of the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award. The funds will be used to help provide patient care to overseas refugees. Kanai will be recognized at the Academy 2018 San Antonio Awards Ceremony on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.

The Brien Holden Humanitarian Award honors the memory and work of Professor Brien Holden. This award recognizes an individual or organization who has made significant contributions to improve eyecare within a country or region. In particular, the award acknowledges humanitarian efforts in the non-profit sector that build or support the development of sustainable eye care systems in developing communities. The academy annually makes a $5,000 donation to the charity or cause of the awardee’s choice.

“I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious award. I am very grateful to the Brien Holden Vision Institute and all the members of the awards committee for recognizing the value in what I have done in my optometric career. Just like the late Dr. Holden, a passion for caring the vulnerable has led me to where I am today. Improving vision of refugees brings their future in better focus, a little bit brighter. I hope that I keep working to help others for the rest of my life,” said Kanai.

 Kanai was recognized for this award due to his tireless and sustained contributions in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Since 1984, Kanai has been active in advocacy for access to eye care and in providing direct care to over 100,000 refugees in difficult and hazardous environments including Thailand, Nepal, Armenia, Azerbaijan and most recently, to the displaced Rohingya. 

The Brien Holden Humanitarian Award, established by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Holden family estate, will be awarded annually. Nominations for 2019 should include two letters of nomination from Academy Fellows and a CV of the nominee. Nominations are due by April 1, 2019 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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