National Vision Supports National Optometric Association Community With Student Grants and Donated Equipment

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(L to R) The National Vision grant winners are Kierra Washington, 
Pratami Gautam and Curtis Burnley. 

DULUTH, Ga.—National Vision Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: EYE), one of the nation’s largest optical retailers and parent company of America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, has put its support for the National Optometric Association (NOA) community into action by recognizing three members of the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA) with $7,000 in grants. This is the fifth consecutive year that National Vision has awarded grants to NOSA members. In addition to awarding grants, the company also has donated optometric equipment to assist an NOA member whose practice location was severely damaged during local riots.

Three students were awarded grants through the company’s annual support of the NOSA Scholarship Program. The winners were selected based on their responses to an essay prompt that focused on “putting passion into practice.” Students were asked to share in a 500-word essay or short video what eye health condition they were passionate about tackling in the decade of the 2020s.

The program is open to all NOSA members in good standing with an optometry school in the U.S. or Puerto Rico.

“This year has challenged the optical industry in ways we could have never imagined, and our winners represent a bright future for the field,” National Vision chief medical officer Alex Louw said in the announcement. “The essays and videos put forth by our winners give us hope—hope that these bright, passionate students will be instrumental in crafting a future where economic and geographic barriers no longer limit one’s access to vision care.”

The 2020 National Vision NOSA grant winners included:

• 1st place ($4,000 prize): Kierra Washington, Salus University, Class of 2021
• 2nd place ($2,000 prize): Pratima Gautam, New England College of Optometry, Class of 2022
• 3rd place ($1,000 prize): Curtis Burnley, Southern College of Optometry, Class of 2020

National Vision’s participation in the scholarship program was established in 2015 with a goal of promoting the importance of primary care and encouraging students to continue their work in this area, particularly in often-underserved minority communities.

The three winners selected demonstrated an understanding of how vital primary care is in combatting conditions affecting the eyes, and their submissions provided actionable plans for breaking down barriers to care for complex eye conditions, including overcoming educational gaps surrounding eye health.

In addition to its annual support for NOSA, after learning of an NOA member in the Chicago area whose long-standing practice had been severely damaged and looted of exam equipment, National Vision donated an autorefractor, autolensometer and tonometer to help the practice resume services to the community.

“This practice—one of Chicago’s oldest Black-owned vision care centers—emulates our own mission to make quality eyecare and eyewear more affordable and accessible to those who need it most,” said National Vision chief executive officer Reade Fahs. “We would be remiss not to acknowledge an opportunity to help a fellow optical community member in need, especially one who is making such a strong impact in their local community.

"We’re proud to do our part to give back to our NOA and NOSA networks and further the NOA’s mission of advancing the visual health of minority populations,” he said.