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Varilux Optometry Student Bowl Ends In A Tie For The First Time In Event History

By Essilor News


DALLAS – June 28, 2013 – Essilor of America, the nation’s leading manufacturer of optical lenses, celebrated the 22nd anniversary of the crowd-favorite Varilux Optometry Student Bowl™, held at this year’s Optometry’s Meeting in San Diego. Students showed up with signs, war chants, and matching t-shirts to cheer on the contestant representing their specific school. A student representative from all schools and colleges of optometry answered optometry-related questions while their peers cheered them on.

For the first time in event history a tie for first place was declared between David Zimmerman, representing the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and Blake Dornstauder, representing Nova Southeastern University. Judges came prepared for the unlikely instance of a tie and planned to present the two contestants with a tie-breaker question. At the request of Zimmerman and Dornstauder, the tie-breaker question was omitted allowing the two contestants to share the honor of winning first place at the coveted event.

Given the tie, UAB and Nova will each receive the $1,000 prize for first place. The crystal trophy will be split between the winning schools where it will spend six months at UAB and six months at Nova. Brandon Prete, representing the University of Waterloo School of Optometry, came in third place taking home $500.

“It’s such an honor to be able to participate in this event and represent NOVA,” said Blake Dornstauder. “All of the contestants in this year’s event dedicated tremendous time and energy to excel in this competition. I am humbled to be able to share the prestige and honor of victory with David [Zimmerman].”

The winning question, “What vertical prism imbalance is induced when a patient reads 10 mm below the optical centers of the following prescription: OD: -3.00 -2.00 X 180, OS: -2.00 -0.50 x 090?” was correctly answered by both David Zimmerman, UAB, and Blake Dornstauder, Nova, resulting in the tie for first place. 

Last year’s Spirit Award Winner, The Ohio State University College of Optometry, created a humorous music video detailing the rules of the Varilux Optometry Student Bowl. The video is available for viewing on YouTube at State University of New York was chosen as this year’s Spirit Award winner which in turn gives them the honor of creating the rules video for the 2014 competition.

“It’s truly inspiring to see the future of the optometry industry come together with such enthusiasm and knowledge,” said Rod Tahran, O.D., F.A.A.O., vice president of professional relations and clinical affairs for Essilor of America. “Through this annual competition, Essilor is encouraging our future industry leaders to have pride in their chosen profession. It’s an amazing experience to see these students so excited about an event with educational benefits.”

This year’s very prestigious panel of judges included:

  • Dr. Diane Adamczyk, SUNY College of Optometry professor
  • Dr. Linda Casser, Dean at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
  • Dr. David Cockrell, Vice President of the American Optometric Association
  • Dr. Bernie Dolan, American Academy of Optometry President
  • Dr. Karla Zadnik, Associate Dean at the Ohio State University College of Optometry

As an added incentive, Volk Optical generously gifted each contestant with a Pan Retinal 2.2 diagnostic lens, personally engraved with the student’s name, school name and memorializing the evening’s event.

“It is an honor to be a part of such a prestigious event within our industry,” said Peter Mastores, President, Volk Optical. “We are pleased to support the future of optometry and look forward to many years of continued partnership with Varilux and optometric education at its finest.”

The Varilux Optometry Student Bowl has been coordinated and produced since its inception by Danne Ventura, F.A.A.O., director, professional relations, Essilor of America. This year’s event was again hosted by David Seibel, O.D., a private practitioner in St. Louis. He is past chair, Cornea and Contact Lens Section of AOA, a diplomat in the AAO, was awarded the AOSA Founders Award in 2005 and AOA Young Optometrist of the Year in 1996.


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 9,000 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).

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