Services to Be Held Today for Paul Berman, OD, Sports Vision Specialist and Founder of Special Olympics Opening Eyes Program


Paul E. Berman, OD.

HACKENSACK, N.J.— Paul E. Berman, OD, a sports vision specialist, unexpectedly passed away on Nov.10, 2013. He was 62 years old and lived in Hillsdale, N.J.

Berman was born in Manhattan, New York City on Dec. 15, 1950 to Jack and Sylvia Berman, and raised in Brooklyn. He graduated from Pacific University College of Optometry in 1975. The following year he founded Focus Eye Health & Vision Care in Hackensack, N.J., where he remained in private practice throughout his career.

As a founder and global clinical director of the Special Olympics' Lions Club International Opening Eyes and Healthy Athletes programs, Berman received many accolades including the 2007 "Spirit Award for Special Lifetime Global Leadership in Promoting Human Dignity" and, in 2012, White House "Champions of Change." Opening Eyes has screened over 325,000 athletes since its inception in 2001. Berman’s leadership has cultured a program with 20,000 volunteers in 80 countries, helping provide over 100,000 prescription eyeglasses to Special Olympic Athletes.

Since 2009, Berman served as a senior consultant for Essilor with emphasis on philanthropic activities. Additionally, he served as director of professional relations and education for Liberty Sport Liberty Sport since 2002, and was team optometrist for the New Jersey Devils hockey team since 1997. He was also a member of Lion’s Club.

“Paul’s contributions to the Special Olympics movement and people with intellectual disabilities cannot be measured,” said Timothy Shriver, chairman, Board of Directors, Special Olympics International. “The lives he touched were never the same afterwards, and the gift of sight that he brought to so many athletes was so awe-inspiring that many have followed in his footsteps and worked to help our athletes have greater vision and better lives. This loss will be felt for years to come, but in his memory we will also carry on and continue the work for which he had such fervor,” he said.

For more on Berman's contributions to the Special Olympics movement, click here
Berman is survived by his wife, Diane Berman; children, Brent, Seth and Rebecca Berman, Jamie and A.J. Bianco, Matt Lilien, Brian and Chelsea Lilien; brother Steven Berman and wife Ellie Berman; mother-in-law Bessye Shulman, and grandchildren Brooke Berman and Ryan Bianco.

Services will be held at 12:00 p.m. today at Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors, 402 Park Street, Hackensack, N.J., 07601.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Special Olympics Healthy Athletes, 1133 19th Street NW, Washington D.C., 20036-3604.