ABB and Paragon Vision Sciences Announce Winners of Optometry Student Challenge

Press Release

ABB OPTICAL GROUP and Paragon Vision Sciences Announce Winners of Optometry Student Challenge


CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (January 30, 2018) – Five optometry students from the United States and Canada presented scientific posters at the 2018 Global Specialty Lens Symposium in Las Vegas this month as winners of the Optometry Student Challenge, a program designed by ABB OPTICAL GROUP, in partnership with Paragon Vision Sciences, to foster the study of contact lenses.

The lead authors of the scientific posters were Theodore Chow of the Indiana University School of Optometry, Gabriella Courey of the University of Montreal School of Optometry, Yuno Iwabuchi of Pacific University, Kiri Rutledge of the Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry, and Stephanie Sonnenburg of the Illinois College of Optometry.

More than 65 optometry students submitted abstracts focusing on study projects or student-based case histories related to contact lenses for the chance to win a travel stipend of $1,500 to attend the symposium and convert their abstracts into scientific posters. The challenge was open to students in their third and fourth years of study. Abstracts were judged on academic merit by a panel of industry experts.

"We had an incredible response to this year's Optometry Student Challenge," said Ann Shackelford, director of consultation and specialty services at ABB OPTICAL GROUP. "We received an overwhelming number of exceptional submissions, making it particularly difficult for the judges to select only three winners as planned. Fortunately, we were able to up the number of awards to five, and these five were truly the very best. It is rewarding to witness firsthand the talent and drive of all the students who participated in the challenge, as they truly are the future of our industry."

Optometry Student Challenge Winners
Chow, a third-year student and president of his university's American Academy of Optometry student chapter, focused on scleral topography to map and compare toricity between keratoconic and normal individuals.

Courey, a third-year student and Quebec liaison for the Contact Lens and Cornea Section of the American Optometric Association, covered the topic of treating ocular graft versus host disease with scleral lenses in a pediatric patient.

Iwabuchi, a fourth-year student, presented a pilot study on the use of hybrid contact lenses for daily wear orthokeratology.

Rutledge, a fourth-year student and president of her college's Beta Sigma Kappa Honor Society, covered corneal vault and higher-order aberrations in scleral contact lenses.

Sonnenburg, a fourth-year student and member of the private practice club and contact lens society at her college, presented on gas permeable lenses in the elderly population after corneal transplants.

Honorable mentions were given to Candice Moore and Ashley Noble, both students at Nova Southeastern University, and Stephanie Tran, a student at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry.

"We feel fortunate to join ABB in inspiring and supporting the next generation of optometrists," said Paragon Vision Sciences President Rich Jeffries. "Educational programs like the Optometry Student Challenge are imperative to ensuring that students are well versed not only in academic settings, but in professional ones as well."

For more information on the Optometry Student Challenge, visit

ABB OPTICAL GROUP is a leading distributor of optical products in the United States. The company supplies nearly two-thirds of eye care professionals across the country with brand name contact lenses, fully customizable gas permeable and custom specialty soft contact lenses, ophthalmic lenses and more. The company's DIGITAL EYE LAB Network is dedicated to producing eyewear that is truly personalized to patients' needs and lifestyles. ABB OPTICAL GROUP also offers practice building services such as pricing strategy tools, business reviews, annual supply staff training and e-commerce solutions. For additional information, visit

Paragon Vision Sciences is a world leader in Orthokeratology lenses (CRT© Lenses) specialty contact lenses and oxygen permeable contact lens materials. Located in Gilbert, Arizona, the Paragon Vision Sciences Team is committed to providing innovative products and services with a focus on education, safety and efficacy.

Media Contacts: 954-776-1999
Marielle Sologuren, ext. 226
Kimberly Rodriguez, ext. 257