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Second annual Optometry Innovation Awards showcase top 3 winners

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4 min read

Presented by Eyes On Eyecare and exclusively sponsored by Dompé, the 2023 Optometry Innovation Awards (OIA), honored this year’s top three winners during the Eyes on 2024 virtual meeting earlier this month.

Refresh me on this event first.

Originally kicked off in 2022, the OIA Awards both recognizes and encourages transformative advances in eyecare by seeking out the top optometrists and current optometry students or residents across the United States and Canada.

What are the rules to enter?

Interested applicants are required to send in their idea or concept that might target:

  • Patient care
  • Workflow and efficiency for optometric practices
  • The state of the optometric profession
  • Eyecare marketing campaigns that raise awareness among consumers
  • Accessibility to education within the eyecare community

And what do the winners receive?

The top three finalists—judged by leading experts selected by Eyes On Eyecare—were awarded an accumulative $40,000 in cash prizes, which could be used to advance and possibly commercialize their innovations:

  • 1st place → $20,000
  • 2nd place → $12,500
  • 3rd place → $7,500

Gotcha. So talk about this year’s finalists.

Out of 17 total entries, this year’s top 3 finalists were:

  • 1st placeMariam Labib, Doctor of Optometry Candidate 2025 (New England College of Optometry [NECO])
  • 2nd placePeter Huffman, OD, and Amanda Bennett, LDO (EyeHR)
  • Third placeKaleb Abbott, OD, MS (SunSnap Kids)

And the judges?

The four expert panelists included:

So what was the first place innovation?

Labib’s Improove VR—an innovative virtual reality (VR) software crafted to elevate athletic performance.

The technology specializes in training the quiet eye through gaze tracking and improving visual precision, catering to sports where eye dominance tends to play a pivotal role.

Per Labib, the concept came to her after learning about the “hand-in-hole test following a contact lens lab. She attributed her top prize as, “a testament to the power of pursuing your ideas and trusting your instincts.”“With a provisional patent and software engineers by my side, I am excited about the future,” she stated.”

And in second place?

EyeHR is a web platform to give independent optometric practice owners a hiring advantage with an applicant-centric experience—all while saving the owner time.

The platform is intended to be completely customizable to provide optometrists more control over the hiring process, while still following best practices.

And third?

SunSnap Kids is designed to solve the problem of pediatric patients losing sunglasses via Snappies—innovative kid sunglasses on the market with both practicality and playfulness.

The glasses feature slap bracelets as temples that can be snapped onto wrists when not being worn.

This all sounds exciting … how can I submit my idea for next year?

Click here to learn more about eligibility, submission requirements, and more for the 2024 OIA.