IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards

The IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards were introduced in 2014 to recognize and reward achievements in contact lens education worldwide.

Sponsored by CooperVision, three prestigious awards are presented each year.

The title IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year is awarded to one individual from each of IACLE’s global regions:

  • Americas
  • Asia Pacific
  • Europe / Africa – Middle-East

2021 Award Winners

The recipients of the 2021 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards will each receive:

A bursary of up to US$3,000 towards the cost of attending a major international meeting, when COVID-19 restrictions allow. Recipients of the awards will also receive:

  • Permission to use the title 2021 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year for their region.
  • A certificate to mark the award, to be presented at the conference attended.
  • Publicity relating to the award in IACLE communications and other media.

2021 Award Recipients

IACLE Americas Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Dr Johanna Garzón

Johanna received her Ph.D. in Optometry and Vision Sciences from the University of Valencia in Spain and her master’s in science- pharmacology from the National University of Colombia. She has previously been a specialist in primary care at Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina, Colombia, and an optometry doctor at Universidad de la Salle, Colombia. She has also been a professor and researcher at Universidad Antonio Nariño, Universidad de la Salle, Universidad Santo Tomas in Colombia, and at Institut des Sciences de la Vision in Saint Etienne, France.  She is an expert in the ocular surface, the tear film, ocular pharmacology and external pathology and an author of the books ‘Ocular Pharmacotherapy’ and ‘Allergic Conjunctivitis’. She has also authored a number of research papers. Johanna is currently the Dean of the Optometry Faculty at the Universidad Antonio Nariño, Colombia, and has also held the positions of Academic Director and President of Fedopto.

‘I am honored to receive this recognition from IACLE. I have dedicated my professional life to training, research and teaching of the ocular surface, and its close relationship with contact lenses. In my experience, IACLE has contributed greatly to the development of education around the world. This Award is dedicated to all of my optometry students, past and present, who continually inspire me to become a better educator.’

IACLE Europe/Africa – Middle East Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Dr Byki Huntjens

Byki is a Dutch optometrist, educator, and researcher working in London (UK). Following her Bachelor’s degree in optometry from the Hogeschool Utrecht (the Netherlands), Byki completed her MSc and PhD at the University of Manchester. She joined City, University of London in 2009, and was Program Director of the BSc Optometry course between 2015 and 2018. Currently, she is module lead for Contact Lenses (UG), co-lead for Medical Retina (PG), and Lead for Teaching Excellence in the School of Health Sciences. Byki supervises several MSc and PhD students in the field of contact lenses, myopia, and dry eye. She has been elected to the Council of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) and is Chair of the British and Irish University and College Contact Lens Educators (BUCCLE).

‘IACLE provides immeasurable support for any contact lens educator worldwide, and particularly during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Association comprises of an extraordinary group of professionals who, like me, have a passion for contact lenses and are willing to share their knowledge to enhance our educational provision. Because in the end, everything we do is for the next generation of eye care practitioners. Thank you IACLE, for this awesome award; I cannot wait to share this news with my students!’

IACLE Asia Pacific Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Wei Xu

Wei Xu graduated from Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Sciences in Guangzhou, China, and received her Master’s degree from Wenzhou Medical University School of Ophthalmology & Optometry in Wenzhou, China. She has also received a Master’s degree from Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University in Pennsylvania, USA. Wei Xu is currently the Associate Director in the Department of Optometry at Jinling Institute of Technology in Nanjina, China.

‘When I first took part in the Student Trial Exam as an optometry student in 2002, I would never have imagined that I would receive this award as a contact lens educator. I have used many IACLE resources to enrich my contact lens teaching – IACLE Case Report Series and images collections were the most popular among my students. I have communicated with other contact lens educators through the Distance Learning Program and the Train-the-Trainer program and was glad to see people benefit from both. I am so proud to be a member of the IACLE family, and thankful to have colleagues in the same camp. Thank you IACLE for this honor!’­

View all previous award recipients

About the Awards

The IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year winners will demonstrate a high level of achievement in contact lens education and also in the area of contact lenses in general. Successful applicants will show the impact they have had on contact lens education in their institutions and how they inspire their students to become future contact lens practitioners.


  • These awards are open to any IACLE member who has been a paid-up member for at least 3 years
  • Members can either nominate themselves, or be nominated by another member, their IACLE regional / country coordinator or IACLE staff

Entry requirements

  • Entries must be submitted via the online application form (the same form applies for both self-nominated or nominated applicants)
  • Applicants must be available to attend a global meeting, providing COVID-19 restrictions allow

Judging process

  • The IACLE Executive Board will decide on all winners following input from our three Regional Presidents

IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo commented: ‘We are proud to be able to continue to offer the Educator of the Year Award for our three global regions. IACLE encourages all members to consider applying for the 2021 Awards, or to nominate someone for the Award. We are grateful to all our sponsors for their support, especially to CooperVision for continuing to sponsor the Educator of the Year Award.’

How to enter

To enter the IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards, all applicants complete an online application.

Applications for 2021 has closed. 2022 applications will open in early 2022.

What previous recipients say…

2020 IACLE Americas Contact Lens Educator of the Year, FIACLE Professor Renée Reeder of the University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry, USA, commented: ‘This is such exciting news and such and incredible honor. My first IACLE World Congress really changed my path. I was just beginning to teach specialty contact lenses in the classroom. I had very little knowledge about the technology available and needed resources for my courses. When I returned from that event, my institution made me the chair of the educational technology committee. It changed how I taught and allowed me to share the skills from that meeting with my colleagues. And it has made the current online transition so much easier for me and has allowed me to continue to be a resource for my colleagues. I am so thankful to also know that I have colleagues all over the world with the same struggles who are always willing to share and help. I hope that I can serve as a resource for them as well.

2020 IACLE Asia Pacific Contact Lens Educator of the Year, Professor Bariah Mohd Ali from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, said: ‘I have been an IACLE member since I996, when I was still a PhD student at the University of New South Wales, Australia. In my experience, IACLE has contributed tremendously in the development of contact lens education around the world and I am proud to be part of the team. I have used many IACLE resources in my contact lens class and my students love them! This award is dedicated to all my past and present optometry students who continuously inspire me to become a better educator. Thank you IACLE for choosing me to become one of the recipients for 2020 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year award. I am truly honored to receive this award.’

2020 IACLE Europe/Africa – Middle East Contact Lens Educator of the Year Jo Underwood from Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) College, Godmersham, UK, said: ‘I cannot tell you how delighted and honored I feel to receive this award and I thank IACLE so very much for it. I am proud to say that I have always loved teaching and still do today. There is nothing better than a student telling you that you have inspired them, or that they now understand something that never made sense before. Long may that joy continue! Thank you again for the honor.’

The IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards are sponsored by

Find out more about the IACLE Travel Awards