image/svg+xml Crizal Crizal Eyezen Eyezen Crizal Essilor USA Eyezen Varilux Experio UV logo-xperio-uv Xperio UV Experio UV Experio UV Single Vision Single Vision Transitions Transitions UV Protection UV Protection Varilux Varilux Xperio UV Xperio UV
Skip to main content Find an Eyecare Professional

Optometry Cares?The AOA Foundation And Essilor Of America Announce The Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship

By Essilor News


St. Louis, Missouri (Sept. 3, 2014) — A new scholarship is now available for third-year optometry students: the Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship, sponsored by Essilor and administered by Optometry Cares® – The AOA Foundation, the charitable organization of the American Optometric Association (AOA). One winner will be selected annually for the $10,000 scholarship.

“The Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship is an exciting and much-appreciated opportunity for countless students of optometry who are striving to reach their maximum potential as eye care providers,” said T. Joel Byars, O.D., Optometry Cares president. “I offer my sincere gratitude to Essilor for helping to make this scholarship possible for our soon-to-be ODs who are determined to make a difference in the lives of patients.”

The scholarship honors Bernard Maitenaz, one of the foremost authorities in optical science and engineering. Maitenaz is the inventor of the Varilux lens. In 2012 alone, 50 million progressive addition lenses were prescribed and dispensed in the United States. Maitenaz also worked at Essilor for 43 years and served as chief operating officer, chief executive officer and chairman of the company.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to encourage the best young optometric minds around the country to dream big,” said Howard Purcell, O.D., F.A.A.O., Dipl., and senior vice president of customer development, Essilor of America.  “This scholarship serves not only as a way to honor Bernard Maitenaz, but also support future leaders in the optical industry and help further their education, while continuing our long-standing support for the AOA.”  

To be eligible for the scholarship, the third-year optometry student must complete the following requirements:

  • The applicant must a two-page/1,500 word essay, and in addition to the essay, the student must submit either a five-slide PowerPoint or a three-minute video. All entries must focus on the impact of vision on performance, economics education and lifestyle in the United States and beyond. Applicants must demonstrate leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, and work experience, as well as include goals and aspirations, and unusual personal or family circumstances.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation. One of the letters must be from an academic advisor/teacher/dean where the applicant attends school.
  • These applications must be submitted to the school or college where the applicant is enrolled first. Then, each school or college will vet the applications and submit only one to Optometry Cares to be judged.

Schools of optometry will determine their top applicant and send his or her materials to Optometry Cares by November 11, 2014. Applications will be reviewed by Optometry Cares Endowment and Scholarship Fund Advisory Committee, and a winner will be determined in December 2014.

For more information on the Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship, please contact Optometry Cares Development Officer, Rebecca Hildebrand, at 314-983-4154 or For video and additional submission requirements, visit


About Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation:
As optometry’s premier philanthropic and charitable organization, Optometry Cares–The AOA Foundation is committed to its mission – expanding eye health and vision care access to everyone in the U.S. in order to enhance human performance and quality of life. With strategic ties with the AOA, strong volunteer leadership and generous donors, Optometry Cares is able to manage two community health programs, VISION USA and InfantSEE, as well as the public-private initiative Healthy Eyes Healthy People®; administer Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief; provide scholarship grants for educational assistance; and maintain the Archives and Museum for the optometric profession. To make a tax-deductible donation today, visit

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit

About Essilor
Essilor is the leading manufacturer of optical lenses in the United States and is the market leader in progressive, high-index and anti-reflective coated lenses. A pioneer in the development and production of ophthalmic lenses, Essilor employs more than 10,000 people throughout North America. Essilor manufactures optical lenses under the VARILUX®, CRIZAL®, XPERIO®, DEFINITY®, THIN&LITE® and other Essilor brand names. Essilor Laboratories of America, Inc. is the largest, and most trusted, optical lab network in the U.S. and offers a wide choice of services and lens brands, including Essilor premium lenses, to eyecare professionals across the nation. Essilor of America, Inc. (Essilor) is a subsidiary of Paris-based Essilor International, a publicly held company traded on the Euronext Paris stock exchange (Reuters: ESSI.PA).

# # #

VARILUX, CRIZAL, XPERIO, XPERIO UV, E-SPF and DEFINITY are registered trademarks of Essilor International.  THIN & LITE is a registered trademark of Essilor of America, Inc