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Optical College to Receive $20M Donation

The gift will be divided over five years.

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TUCSON, AZ – The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences has received a $20 million pledge to support 10 new endowed faculty positions.

The gift comes from the college’s founding dean, Professor Emeritus James C. Wyant, and his family. It is the largest gift for endowed faculty chair positions in the university’s history, according to a press release.

“This is an incredible, enabling moment for the College of Optical Sciences, giving us an unprecedented opportunity to advance the rapidly expanding ways that optics and photonics can improve our lives,” said Thomas L. Koch, dean of the College of Optical Sciences.

The gift will be received over five years.

UA President Robert C. Robbins said, “Jim Wyant’s leadership, vision and support for students has already had an incredible impact on the UA College of Optical Sciences, and his legacy is one of the main reasons why the UA is a global leader in optics and photonics. We are all very grateful to Dr. Wyant and his family for their exemplary leadership and extraordinary generosity that will advance one of the university’s top priorities.”

He added that the gift “will support faculty and enhance our students’ experience by enabling an environment that fosters leadership, learning, collaboration and connections, and it will help shape the success of UA students far into the future.”

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Wyant has co-founded Tucson-based businesses in optics such as WYKO Corp. and  4D Technology Corp.

Wyant said, “I am especially grateful to the university for its incredible flexibility when I was partway through my teaching career and wanted to start a company (WYKO). The financial success of that business has made these gifts possible.”

The leading reason for his gifts, he said, is to “ensure a pathway for the College of Optical Sciences to achieve even greater prominence and success in its education and research mission.”

In 2013, Wyant made a historic $10 million gift to the college for graduate student scholarships in a campaign called FoTO, an acronym for Friends of Tucson Optics. As a result of his initial gift, more than 250 additional donors contributed and 30 first-year graduate student scholarship endowments were established, each bearing the name of a donor.

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Eyecare Charity to Enter 3 More Countries

It will hold charitable vision clinics in remote communities.

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OneSight plans to expand its programming to three new countries in 2019.

The organization will host charitable vision clinics in remote communities across Jordan, Mongolia and Nepal, reaching those who otherwise would have no way to get an eye exam and glasses.

Through the use of mobile vision care technologies and manufacturing solutions, OneSight is “leading the charge to help the world see and proving their commitment to delivering vision care anytime and anywhere,” according to a press release from the organization.

On a recent expedition to the Amazon, OneSight “validated that mobile technology will not only enable the organization to see more patients, but will also empower a more agile response to vision need around the globe,” the release states.

“The Amazon clinic demonstrated OneSight’s capability to respond to vision need in one of the most remote communities in the world,” said K-T Overbey, OneSight president and executive director. “Through programming innovation and technology, we are able to expand programming to reach even more communities, anytime and anywhere.”

In Jordan, OneSight will provide thousands of Syrian refugees from the Al Zaatari and Al Zarqa camps with free vision care and glasses. OneSight has built a local partnership with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Ministry of Health, who will provide the facility for the clinic and on the ground support.

Southeast Asia currently has some of the world’s worst vision impairment problems. OneSight will be using a new nimble clinic approach to reach remote communities in Nepal and students in Mongolia who would otherwise not have access to vision care. The approach will include a smaller team and lightweight, accurate, reliable and mobile equipment. In both Mongolia and Nepal, OneSight has established local partnerships, including the Better Vision Foundation Nepal and Orbis in Mongolia. OneSight will host charitable clinics in both countries serving primarily students and will evaluate if and when a self-sustaining solution can be developed.

“My team and I are on the ground in each community we serve to ensure the right approach is in place to enable access to vision care,” said Wayne Tennent, OneSight director of programming for Asia Pacific. “We are ultimately striving to provide a permanent vision care solution in Mongolia and Nepal to enable people with poor vision to gain a better education and a better life.”

OneSight also announced the complete list of 2019 charitable vision clinic locations. Over 1400 Luxottica volunteers and optometrists will join OneSight to provide vision care and quality eyewear to 22 communities worldwide.

2019 US clinic locations include National City, CA; Chicago, IL; Kansas City, MO; Browning, MT; Fishkill, NY; Puerto Rico; Houston, TX; and Walking Shield.

2019 global clinic locations include Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Columbia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Peru, Tanzania and Thailand.

Every week OneSight sees an average of nearly 4,000 patients through sustainable and charitable programs around the world.

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State Proposal Would Require Preschool Eye Exams

A NJ Senate committee OK’d the measure.

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TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Legislature’s Senate Education Committee has passed a bill that would require children aged 6 and under who are entering public schools or Head Start Programs for the first time to have a comprehensive eye examination.

The exam would have to be completed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist by Jan. 1 of the child’s initial year of
enrollment, according to a press release from the Vision Impact Institute.

“According to experts, up to 80 percent of all learning occurs visually, meaning that children with poor
vision are likely to have a major disadvantage when starting school,” said Kristan Gross, global executive director of the Vision Impact Institute. “We’re grateful that the Senate Education Committee is committed to the future of our students by advocating for their vision right from the start.”

The bill was sponsored by Sens. Teresa Ruiz and Shirley Turner and co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Diegnan and Troy Singleton.

Gross added: “The decision to pass this legislation is the work of so many partners. When we started the Kids See: Success initiative, in partnership with Optometry Giving Sight and others, we knew it would be the power of partnership that could bring this issue to the forefront.

“Now, the additional collaboration of new legislative advocates, teachers, school administration professionals and parents will be the catalyst that can turn this legislation into action. Children have a fundamental right to see clearly and achieve full academic success in the classroom. SB 2804 ensures that New Jersey children will have that opportunity.”

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Eyecare People Now Have Their Own Font

It’s called Optical Sans.

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Design firm ANTI Hamar has created a typeface based on the traditional eye chart.

It’s called Optical Sans, Fast Company reports.

The standard chart has only 10 letters, so the company had some work on its hands to develop the full alphabet. It released the product as a free font, available here.

According to Fast Company, the effort “began as a rebranding for the Norwegian family optometrist business Optician-K.”

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Simen Schikulski, art director for ANTI Hammer, said that in developing the new letters, the firm “took some liberties on some parts, and stayed very conservative on other parts.”

“We saw that there was some inconsistencies in the original letters in terms of shapes and sizes – as we expected, since the letters were created for optometrists, not as a typeface,” Schikulski said.

Read more at Fast Company

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