Joe and Janet Barr Early Career Cornea and Contact Lens Research Award

History and Purpose

In 2012, in recognition of extraordinary contributions to optometry and contact lenses, the AAOF established a fund to honor an exceptional mentor and role model of our profession, Dr. Joseph T. Barr.  Through his career, Dr. Barr has served in multiple roles including as a professor at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, Chair of the AAO Section on Cornea and Contact Lenses, editor of Contact Lens Spectrum, and Vice-President Clinical & Medical Affairs Global Vision Care at Bausch + Lomb. Dr. Barr’s commitment to make a difference in the profession continued with his membership in the President’s Circle of giving, as a previous member on the Foundation Board of Directors, and as chair of the AAOF Corporate Advisory Committee.

As an academic, researcher, clinician and industry leader, Dr. Barr acknowledges that some of his success is due to a combination of having wonderful mentors and amazing support systems in his early career development. It was valuable in his early career to have even a small amount of funding to seed research. This small amount of seed funding often led not only to important knowledge, but also to further questions that needed answers and often further funding. This enabled him to learn, grow, and eventually lead and shape the direction of optometry. The creation of a fund in his honor offers an avenue to create that opportunity for another future optometric leader.


To provide an entering first or second year MS or PhD (can be in a graduate program alone, or combined with professional/residency program) vision science or physiological optics student attending a North American School/College of Optometry support of $2,000 for research project seed funding in the area of cornea/ocular surface or contact lenses. The funds will be payable to the institution of record for a new upcoming project not already funded from another source, plus $750 travel funding to the AAO annual meeting for use within one year from award issue.

Recipient must attend the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry and attend the AAOF Celebration Luncheon to receive their award. The recipient is also required to perform volunteer service at the AAOF Booth. Recipient must not have applied during the same application year nor previously received an Ezell Fellowship.

This award will be eligible competitively for a one-time renewal.

Application Criteria

The submission window opens February 1, 2019 and closes April 1, 2019.

Applicants MUST submit all the necessary documents (shown below) in pdf format to Jennifer Rubin, Foundation Program Manager at by the deadline stated above.

  • Applicant must be a student member of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). To learn more, visit the Student Membership page.
  • A copy of a current CV/resume
  • A 1-page statement describing past and present educational and research achievements, future educational objectives, and long-term career goals in the areas of cornea and contact lens research
  • An up to 2-page summary of the proposed research project.  Include a summary of the relevant background/rationale and hypotheses, purpose, methods (including planned analyses), and budget (including any cost-share or additional funding mechanisms).  If this is a renewal application, provide a detailed description of the project over the previous funding cycle.
  • If any submitted or published papers, submit copies of no more than three best representations of your work. One may include abstracts but only if they are citable.
  • A letter from the Dean, Associate Dean for Research, or authorized official stating that the applicant has been accepted into or is currently enrolled in a Vision Science/Physiological Optics MS or PhD program at a School/College of Optometry and that any funds received from the AAOF will go only in support the proposed project and not decrease any academic financial support.
  • A letter from a research supervisor/mentor describing their support of the described project and educational advancement of the applicant during the award period.

Review Procedures

Proposals will be reviewed by a group of Cornea and Contact Lens Section Diplomates, chosen by Section Chair, for approval by the AAOF Programs Advisory Committee and AAOF Board.

Award Notes

Funds support research conducted for a period of one year. Recipients must submit a 2-page progress report detailing the scientific knowledge gained during the funding period and how this information was/will be communicated (e.g. publication, presentation) to the AAOF at the end of the award period. Recipients are encouraged to submit a manuscript to Optometry and Vision Science.

The AAOF is a non-profit organization and our policy is not to cover any overhead/indirect costs associated with research awards or any other of our programs. This policy applies uniformly to all award recipients.

It is the standard policy of the AAOF that program recipients who receive, as part of their award, a travel stipend to attend an event, cannot also receive a second or duplicate travel stipend to the same meeting from the Foundation or its parent organization, the AAO.

All award recipients by application and acceptance of an award agree to allow the AAOF and/or the sponsor of the program to which they applied to publish their name, image, institution information, and any statement or quote provided by the recipient. These will appear in a variety of media formats that will announce and promote the program including, but not limited to, the AAOF and/or sponsor annual report, website, annual meeting promotional materials.

Please direct any questions about this program to: AAOF Foundation Program Manager, Jennifer Rubin at: or call 321-319-4870.

Past Recipients

2018  Eugene Appenteng Osae, OD
University of Houston College of Optometry

2017  Yuno Iwabuchi 
Pacific University College of Optometry
Photo Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)
Eugene & DK

2018 Barr recipient Eugene Appenteng Osae, OD and AAOF President David Kirschen

J. Barr Updated photo
Dr. Joseph T. Barr