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Brien Holden honoured with Humanitarian Award

Sydney, Australia, 6 November 2013: Professor Brien Holden honoured with inaugural Optometry Giving Sight Humanitarian Award. Award announced as Holden steps down as Chair; to be succeeded by Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon

Professor Brien Holden has been awarded the inaugural Optometry Giving Sight Humanitarian Award in recognition for his outstanding contribution in support of global efforts to help eliminate avoidable blindness and impaired vision and reduce the disability, poverty and lack of opportunity associated with vision loss.

Professor Holden received the award at a dinner held in Seattle, USA, where he also announced that he would be stepping down as Executive Chair of Optometry Giving Sight after 10 years.

“I am delighted to receive this award from my friends and colleagues at Optometry Giving Sight,” said Professor Holden. “I have immensely enjoyed the challenge of getting Optometry Giving Sight established as optometry’s international charity of choice. I have enjoyed seeing the dedication of the excellent people that work for the organization and the wonderful response of the eye health community around the world. Colleagues in the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and World Council of Optometry have been extremely supportive.”

“Most importantly, I have been highly moved by the outstanding work Optometry Giving Sight has done in stimulating the eye health community to contribute enormously and effectively to the efforts to eliminate avoidable blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error.”

Professor Holden said that while he would stay on the Board, it was now time for someone new to take on the role of Chair. He announced that the Directors have elected Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon to succeed him as Chair of Optometry Giving Sight.

“I can think of no one more worthy to take on this role than Dr. Aragon,” said Professor Holden. “He has an outstanding track record in mobilizing support for education projects related to optometry and contact lenses; is well respected in the profession and industry; and has helped mobilize significant support personally and professionally for Optometry Giving Sight.”

Dr. Aragon is currently Chair of Optometry Giving Sight’s Global Development Board and Senior Vice President, Global Professional & Clinical Affairs, CooperVision.

“It is a great honor for me to take on this role,” said Dr. Aragon. “Optometry Giving Sight has grown considerably over recent years and now funds sustainable eye and vision care projects in more than 40 countries. I applaud Professor Holden’s inspiring vision in helping to establish the organization; his relentless efforts over the years in ensuring its continued growth and development; and the incredible impact that our profession and industry are having in the global efforts to give sight and hope to those in need.

“I look forward to working with all my colleagues in the industry and profession, as well as the current management and staff, fellow Board and Committee members, and our donors and sponsors, to ensure that we continue to mobilize the resources necessary to help eliminate refractive error blindness and low vision.”

Optometry Giving Sight is the only global fundraising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error – simply the need for an eye examination and glasses. It was created in 2003 as a means of mobilising resources from the global optometric community to fund the development of sustainable eye and vision care projects in communities where these do not currently exist. To date it has provided funds to more than 67 projects in 38 countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

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