ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council Foundation has announced a record-breaking number of opticianry school graduates who benefited from scholarships this year, setting a new record for the organization. The Opening Your Eyes Scholarship Fund, which launched in 2021, is backed by donations from members of The Vision Council and supports students from underserved communities who are pursuing a career as a licensed optician. Sixteen newly licensed opticians received financial assistance and career opportunities from the scholarships, according to the announcement.

The program facilitates the entry of a more diverse group of opticians into the industry and currently provides funding for student tuition and expenses for opticianry students at 17 partner institutions within the National Federation of Opticianry Schools (NFOS), the foundation said.

“Because of certain health issues and being a single mom, working and going to school was difficult at times,” said Raphaella Mompoint, who graduated from the program through Broward College in May. “Thanks to The Vision Council and the Opening Your Eyes Scholarship, the burden of financing my school was something I didn’t have to worry about.”

By lowering barriers associated with cost and connections, The Vision Council Foundation said it seeks to clear the way for opticians from a wider array of backgrounds to connect with patients and offer their services to the optical community.

“These scholarships help students who may not be able to attend college because of the financial burden, and the opticianry degree opens many opportunities for graduates to succeed in various positions in the health care field,” said Thomas Neff, an opticianry instructor at Hillsborough Community College. “This helps the recipients to get into a potentially life-changing job to help people see their best.”

GuerBea Lorissaint, who graduated from Broward College in May, said that her desire to become an optician came from her personal experience with needing to visit an eye doctor frequently as a child. “Finally being able to see behind the scenes, and how they go about procedures, made me want to step into that industry and be one of those people who help others with their vision problems,” she said. 

The Vision Council Foundation said it has continued to expand the program to include more institutions within NFOS to reach more potential applicants and their communities. The organization said it also continues to deepen its relationships with current and former students in the program.

“We’re so excited to welcome these professionals into the industry as new colleagues, who now have an incredible career path ahead,” said Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council. “Their diverse and unique perspectives will help push the optical community forward. They champion our shared goal of improving vision for everyone, and our organization could not be prouder of the potential they represent.”

To support the future of the optical industry, The Vision Council aims to raise over $300,000 each academic year to continue providing an increasing number of scholarships to students. Contributions to the scholarship can be made by visiting the organization's PayPal page or contacting Bonnie Whitfield, director of member services, at