IACLE announces worldwide winners of its annual awards

Contact lens educators win bursaries to attend the BCLA Clinical Conference in Liverpool in June

Jan Bergmanson

Contact lens educators from the USA, Korea, Jordan and Colombia are to receive prestigious awards from the International Association of Contact Lens Educators.

Each winner receives a bursary of up to US $3,000 (£2420) towards the cost of attending the 40th British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference in Liverpool, (9-11 June) and the preceding IACLE/BUCCLE (British Universities Committee of Contact Lens Educators) Education Day (8 June).

Three IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards will be presented, one from each of IACLE’s three global regions, thanks to sponsorship from CooperVision. The annual Travel Award is funded by IACLE. All four awards are supported by the BCLA.

The IACLE Americas Contact Lens Educator of the Year is Professor Jan Bergmanson (pictured), of the University of Houston, Texas, who received his optometric training in the UK at City University, London.

Professor Bergmanson said of the award: “This is a great honour and means a lot to me. In the USA alone we have 23 university-based schools and colleges of optometry, with a growing number of outstanding contact lens educators.

“To be recognised with this award among such a large pool of potential candidates is significant to me.”

He added: “I’m also extremely delighted to be offered the opportunity to attend the BCLA meeting, the premier contact lens meeting in the world, and mix with my friends and colleagues in the UK, which is where I was trained and the foundation on which my career was built.”

The IACLE Europe/Africa, Middle East Contact Lens Educator of the Year is Dr Yazan Gammoh of Amman Ahliyah University, Jordan.

Dr Gammoh said: “After more than five years of lecturing and training at universities, symposia and conferences, all my efforts have been rewarded by receiving the award.

“This award recognises my achievement in the field of the contact lenses and shows how IACLE, with its educational programs and resources, has become invaluable to educators worldwide.”

IACLE Asia Pacific Contact Lens Educator of the Year is Professor Koon-Ja Lee, of Eulji University, Seongnam, Korea.

“I’d like to attribute this success to all those who have developed the IACLE teaching materials – the IACLE contact lens course, video clips, case reports series and student trial exam,” she said.

“The IACLE Award makes me look back on my educational life, and think about what to do in the future,” she concluded.

The travel award goes to Professor Martha Lucila Márquez García of Santo Tomás University, Colombia.

“I feel very grateful and happy to receive this award. I have high expectations that attending the BCLA Conference will make me grow as a professional and as a contact lens fitter, and that I will improve my teaching skills,” she said.

She added: “With my patients, I will offer them better contact lens options so I can improve the quality of life for each one of them. I want to start researching projects to support the development of contact lenses as an enduring science.”

CooperVision’s vice president of global professional and clinical affairs, Dr Gary Orsborn, said: “All eye care professionals have stories about how educators influenced them to be the very best providers of excellent patient care, and I’m certain many have been inspired by this year’s recipients.”

The IACLE awards will be presented at the BCLA Conference, on Sunday 11 June, at 1pm in the main auditorium.

For more information about the conference, visit the BCLA website.