The American Academy of Optometry is pleased to announce the establishment of the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award to honor the memory and work of Professor Brien Holden, PhD, DSc, FAAO. This award will recognize an individual or organization who has made significant humanitarian contributions to improve or to provide eye care to underserved or marginalized populations. In particular, it will acknowledge efforts in the non-profit/not-for-profit sector that build or support the development of sustainable systems for providing eye care in these populations. 

Professor Holden founded the Brien Holden Vision Institute and was a global leader in eye care and vision research, internationally renowned and awarded scientist, humanitarian, and a Professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of New South Wales in Australia. His career was spent inspiring scientists and health care professionals around the world with his dream of ‘vision for everyone, everywhere.’ Professor Holden was an Academy Life Fellow and a Diplomate in the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies. He was a Presidents Circle member and an avid supporter of the American Optometric Foundation. Among several Academy awards received, Professor Holden was awarded the Academy's Charles F. Prentice Medal and Lecture at Academy 2014 Denver, the Academy's highest honor.

The award, established by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Holden family estate, will be given annually beginning in 2017.


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
Additional letters of support will not be included in the nomination package.


Past Recipients

2020 - Greg Pearl, OD
2019 - J. Daniel Twelker, OD, PhD, FAAO
2018 - Akio Kanai, OD
2017 - C. Ellis Potter, OD, FAAO