NEW YORK—The Student Innovator Award which was launched to recognize an innovative concept developed by a SUNY Optometry student that is impactful, viable and feasible for today’s optometric marketplace, has garnered additional support for 2017. When the competition began, it was sponsored by Essilor and Jobson’s Rick Bay Foundation with SUNY Optometry as the participating school.

Recently, VSP Global, ClearVision Optical and MyEyeDr. have agreed to sponsor the 2017 competition. Additionally, participating schools have grown to include Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry and U.C. Berkeley School of Optometry along with SUNY College of Optometry.

Essilor’s Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO (l) and Jobson’s
Marc Ferrara (r) present Vanessa Fimreite,
with her award.
“The Student Innovator Award program is a unique partnership which will encourage the next generation of optometry to bring impactful, innovative ideas to the profession and our industry,” said Marc Ferrara, CEO, Information Services for Jobson Medical Information.

The competition started last fall when students were invited to submit abstracts related to innovations or improvements in clinical eyecare, research, practice management, optometric education, health care policy, community education, technology, social media and more.

The $5,000 inaugural Innovator Award was presented to Vanessa Fimreite, a fourth-year OD student at SUNY College of Optometry. Fimreite’s winning idea, MAVA: Mobile Acuity and Vision Assessment, is a vision screening app geared to assess young children. It was presented for the first time publicly to the attendees at this year’s VM Global Leadership Summit on April 13.

“The future of optometry is important to Essilor, and through awards like this, we have an opportunity to recognize optometry students whose ideas have the potential to make a lasting impact on our industry,” said Essilor’s SVP of customer development Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO.

Essilor’s Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO (l) and Jobson’s Marc Ferrara (r) present Vanessa Fimreite, with her award.