DULUTH, Ga.—National Vision, Inc., one of the largest optical retail companies in the U.S., announced the winners of its ninth annual scholarship program, fueling the success of three optometry students with $12,500 in scholarships. The program challenges optometry students each year to submit essays or videos addressing a topic that’s central to the future of the profession. The 2023-2024 program asked students to weigh in on “Increasing Access to Eye Care for Children,” outlining why proper vision care is vital for youth.

Each winner was selected not only for their perspective on the importance of pediatric vision care, but also how they plan to make that care more accessible to children from all financial backgrounds in their future professions.

“It’s one thing to understand an issue that’s facing our profession today, but it’s another to be able to offer thoughtful solutions on how you’ll be a champion for change when you put your white coat on,” said Alex Smith, vice president, clinical services and development at National Vision. “Children depend on sight for so much in their developmental years, and they’re at a crucial stage for catching and identifying potential issues early. It’s an honor to support three future optometrists who are committed to working toward a day where financial barriers no longer keep children from getting the care they need.”

 (L to R) National Vision scholarship award winners Cayden Carpenter, Karli Clark and Alina Tran.
The 2023-2024 scholarship program winners include:

● First Place ($7,500): Cayden Carpenter, Arizona College of Optometry, Class of 2024

● Runner-Up ($2,500): Karli Clark, Illinois College of Optometry, Class of 2025

● Runner-Up ($2,500): Alina Tran, University of Montreal College of Optometry, Class of 2025

The program was open to third- and fourth-year optometry students in good standing with an optometry school in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. A panel of judges consisting of licensed optometrists evaluated each submission and selected the first-place winner and two runners-up as the top entrants. Students were encouraged to cite credible sources that explore the need for increased accessibility and affordability in pediatric eyecare, as well as elaborate on any projects or programs they’ve already contributed to that focus on this area of care.