History and Purpose

Residency training is becoming an increasingly important aspect of optometric training. A post-OD residency program significantly advances a graduate's preparation as an eye care provider and provides additional experiences in clinical instruction and academia. Many schools and colleges of optometry now require residency training as a basic prerequisite for new clinical faculty.

The Bert C. and Lydia M. Contact Lens Residency Award is intended to promote the practice and development of the field of contact lenses by providing incentive and support to talented optometric residents who demonstrate a passion and commitment to practice, research, and education.


The Bert C. and Lydia M. Contact Lens Residency Award is $2,000 plus one $750 travel fellowship to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry; where the recipient will spend volunteer time at the AAOF exhibit booth and be presented a travel check and plaque at the annual AAOF Celebration Luncheon.

Eligibility and Application

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

One award will be granted to any optometrist currently serving in a 2018–19 academic year calendar contact lens residency through a North-American school, college of optometry is eligible to apply. Anyone who has yet to begin a residency for the 2018-19 academic year calendar is ineligible.

The application must include:

  1. Cover page that lists the applicant name, any degrees, residency facility, the residency's host optometric institution, current and permanent address information, email and phone contact information.
  2. The applicant’s education, clinical, research, and teaching experience, typically in the form of a CV.
  3. A brief description of the residency program and the names and email addresses of the three people you have contacted to submit letters of recommendation.
  4. A one-page statement of career goals.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to comment on educational qualifications, research abilities, and potential.  One must be from the Residency Director or Program Coordinator of the host optometric institution. These should be emailed separately by the recommender.
  6. The applicant must be a member of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO); whether as a student, candidate, or Fellow at the time of acceptance of any award.  To learn more, visit the AAO website: Student Membership for student membership information and Candidate for Fellowship for how to become a Fellow. 

Applications and letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically (preferably as a PDF file) to Jennifer Rubin, Foundation Program Manager at: Jenniferr@aaoptom.org. Please include "Corwin Residency" and applicant's last name in the subject line. Ex: Corwin Residency - T. Smith

**ONE letter of recommendation is acceptable when applying to other contact lens residency awards ex: Wechsler & Mertz. Please have the recommender state in your letter that the applicant is applying for all three contact lens awards** 

Applications will be reviewed by the Cornea Contact Lens Refractive Technology (CCLRT) Section of the Academy. Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of their educational background, their ability, and their potential to advance in their career.

Award Notes

It is the standard policy of the AAOF that an award recipient who receives a travel stipend to attend an event, cannot receive a second travel stipend from the Foundation or its affiliate, the AAO.

Guidelines are subject to change as determined by the AAOF and/or the award sponsor.  Applicants are reminded to please review all information before submitting their application to ensure it meets all criteria.

All award recipients by application and acceptance of an award agree to allow the AAOF and/or the sponsor of the award 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 award including, but not limited to, the AAOF and/or sponsor annual report, website, and annual meeting promotional materials.

For additional information contact Jennifer Rubin, Foundation Program Manager, at: 321-319-4870 orAAOF@aaoptom.org.


Past Recipients

2018 - Celia R Gong, OD, MS
University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry

2017- Jesus Gabriel Martinez, OD
University of Houston College of Optometry

2016 - Caitlin J. Morrison, OD, FAAO
State University of New York College of Optometry

2015 - Javeria Azhar, OD
Illinois College of Optometry


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

Bert and Lydia Corwin

Bert C. & Lydia M. Corwin

Celia/ Corwin
2018 recipient:
Celia R Gong, OD, MS