The Charles F. Prentice Medal Award (established in 1958) is awarded annually to a distinguished scientist or clinician scientist in recognition of a career-long record of advancement of knowledge in vision science. The award is considered to be the most prestigious of the Academy’s awards for achievement in research. Establishing a long record of distinction in research will typically require that the nominee be beyond the mid-career stage. The nominee will be judged by the quality, significance, and impact of his or her career-long body of work in vision science. The recipient need not be a Fellow of the Academy nor an optometrist. The recipient of the Prentice Medal will present a special lecture at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry related to these career achievements, highlighting one or more of his or her most significant scientific contributions. It is also expected that the recipient will submit a manuscript on that topic to Optometry and Vision Science.


The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2021. Please submit the following by email to Helen Viksnins at

  • A letter of nomination from an Academy Fellow, explaining why the nominee is particularly deserving of the award for which the nomination has been made.
  • A copy of the CV of the nominee.
  • A letter seconding the nomination from another Academy Fellow


Past Award Recipients

2021- Stephen A. Burns, PhD, FAAO
2020- Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD, FAAO
2019- Raymond A. Applegate, OD, PhD, FAAO
2018- Chris A. Johnson, PhD, DSc, FAAO
2017- Eli Peli, MSc, OD, FAAO
2016- Martin S. Banks, MA, PhD
2015- Ralph D. Freeman, PhD, OD
2014- Brien A. Holden, PhD, FAAO
2013- Gordon E. Legge, PhD
2012- Larry N. Thibos, PhD, FAAO
2011- Dennis Levi, PhD, OD, FAAO
2010- Earl L. Smith, III, PhD, OD, FAAO
2009- Jake Sivak, PhD, OD, FAAO
2008- Clifton Schor, PhD, OD, FAAO
2007- Judah Folkman, MD
2006- Ronald Harwerth, PhD, OD, FAAO
2005- William Neil Charman, OD
2004- Robert Weinreb, MD
2003- Anthony J. Adams, PhD, OD, FAAO
2002- Russell L. DeValois, PhD
2001- Sheila K. West, PhD
2000- Ian Bailey, MS, OD, FAAO
1999- Arthur Jampolsky, MD
1998-Richard M. Hill, PhD, OD, FAAO
1997- Robert Boynton, PhD
1996- Merton C. Flom, PhD, OD, FAAO
1995- Lawrence W. Stark, MD

1994- Colin Blakemore, PhD
1993- David W. Hubel, PhD
1992- Richard W. Young, PhD
1991- John E. Dowling, PhD
1990- David M. Regan, PhD
1989- David M. Maurice, PhD
1988- Mathew Alpern, PhD, OD, FAAO
1987- Herschel Leibowitz, PhD
1986- Gerald Westheimer, PhD, OD, FAAO
1985- Yves LeGrand, PhD
1984- Tom N.Cornsweet, PhD
1983- Irving Fatt, PhD
1982- Elwin Marg, PhD, OD, FAAO
1981- Sylvester K. Guth, PhD
1980- Monroe J. Hirsch, PhD, OD, FAAO
1979- William David Wright, PhD
1978- Henry W. Hofstetter, PhD, OD, FAAO
1977- Herbert Schober, PhD
1976- Jay M. Enoch, PhD, OD, FAAO
1975- Lorrin A. Riggs, PhD
1974- S. Howard Bartley, PhD
1973- Oscar White Richards, PhD
1972- Meredith W. Morgan, PhD, OD, FAAO
1971- Glenn A. Fry, PhD, OD, FAAO
1970- William A. H. Rushton, PhD

Photo Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)