ABB Optical Group and Paragon Vision Sciences Announce Optometry Student Challenge Winners


CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.—ABB Optical Group and Paragon Vision Sciences have announced the winners of the Optometry Student Challenge. The five student winners from the U.S. and Canada presented posters at the 2018 Global Specialty Lens Symposium in Las Vegas to foster the study of contact lenses. Theodore Chow of the Indiana University School of Optometry, Gabriella Courey of the University of Montreal School of Optometry, Yuno Iwabuchi of Pacific University, Kiri Rutledge of the Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry, and Stephanie Sonnenburg of the Illinois College of Optometry were the lead authors of the posters.

Ann Shackelford, director of consultation and specialty services at ABB Optical Group said, “We received an overwhelming number of exceptional submissions, making it particularly difficult for the judges to select only three winners as planned. Fortunately, we were able to up the number of awards to five, and these five were truly the very best. It is rewarding to witness firsthand the talent and drive of all the students who participated in the challenge, as they truly are the future of our industry.”

More than 65 optometry third- and fourth-year students submitted abstracts focusing on study projects or student-based case histories related to contact lenses. Abstracts were judged on academic merit by a panel of industry experts. The winning recipients would receive the opportunity to win a travel stipend of $1,500 to attend the symposium and convert their abstracts into scientific posters

Theodore Chow focused on scleral topography to map and compare toricity between keratoconic and normal individuals. He is a third-year student and president of his university’s American Academy of Optometry student chapter. Gabriella Courey authored a poster on treating ocular graft versus host disease with scleral lenses in a pediatric patient. She is a third-year student as well as a Quebec liaison for the Contact Lens and Cornea Section of the American Optometric Association. Yuno Iwabuchi, a fourth-year student, presented a pilot study on the use of hybrid contact lenses for a daily wear orthokeratology.

Additionally, Kiri Rutledge covered the topic of corneal vault and higher-order aberrations in scleral contact lenses. She’s a fourth-year student and president of her college’s Beta Sigma Kappa Honor Society and Stephanie Sonnenburg, a fourth-year student and member of the private practice club and contact lens society at his college, presented on gas permeable lenses in the elderly population after corneal transplants.

“We feel fortunate to join ABB in inspiring and supporting the next generation of optometrists,” said Paragon Vision Sciences president Rich Jeffries. “Educational programs like the Optometry Student Challenge are imperative to ensuring that students are well versed not only in academic settings, but in professional ones as well.”

Honorable mentions were given to Candice Moore and Ashley Noble, both students at Nova Southeastern University, and Stephanie Tran, a student at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry.