Two researchers with IU connections receiving top honors from American Academy of Optometry

Oct. 24, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Two optometrists with Indiana University connections -- an assistant professor in the IU Bloomington School of Optometry and an emeritus professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University who completed his Ph.D. at IU in 1970 -- will receive two of the American Academy of Optometry’s highest honors this week.

IU assistant professor Pete S. Kollbaum will receive the academy’s Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award recognizing “an outstanding young scientist or clinician scientist who has shown exceptional promise to conduct independent research directly related to the etiology, prevention, detection, diagnosis or management of clinical ocular disorders.”

Stemming from Kollbaum’s clinical background, his research aims to translate advances in optics and biology to clinical care by evaluating, predicting the success and generating improvements in refractive and visual corrections, such as contact lenses; developing outcome measures to enhance a clinician’s ability to treat patients and quantify improvements in care; and improving the detection, diagnosis and treatment of anterior eye disease. He received his B.S. from IU in 1997, his O.D. from the School of Optometry in 1999, his M.S. from the IU School of Medicine in 2007 and his Ph.D. from the School of Optometry in 2007.  He has been an assistant professor at the school since 2007.

Kollbaum is receiving the award for “his work in contact lenses, including laboratory studies with translational clinical care implications to clinical patient care research.”

George Woo will receive the Essilor Award for Outstanding International Contributions to Optometry, an award recognizing an individual for extraordinary international contributions to optometry or international eye care, whose direct efforts and contributions have resulted in unquestionably significant and extraordinary advances in optometry and eye care internationally.

He received an M.S. and Ph.D. from IU in 1970, where his studies focused on physiological optics. Later that year he joined the faculty of University of Waterloo, Canada, becoming a full professor in 1980. In 1987 he became the founding head and professor of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic and 10 years later was appointed Chair Professor of Optometry and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

A former president of the World Council of Optometry and immediate past president of both the Asia Pacific Council of Optometry and the Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists, Woo is president of the Hong Kong Contact Lens Research Association and a board member of the Hospital Authority of Hong Kong. His research interests include low vision, myopia, contrast sensitivity function, refraction and contact lenses.

Woo is receiving the award for his “establishment, leadership and development of the outstanding optometry program at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, contributions to the development of optometry in the Pacific Rim and for adapting those skills to promote optometry throughout the world.”

Academy 2013 Seattle, the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry, is taking place Oct. 23 to 26 at Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center.