National Vision Selects Winners of 2018-2019 Optometry Student Grant Program


National Vision Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: EYE), one of the nation’s largest optical retailers providing quality, affordable eye care and eyewear, selected a grand prize winner and two runners-up for its 2018-2019 optometry student grant program. Applicants were challenged to explore the important role optometrists play in making a positive impact on public health issues. Winning entries were submitted by students from University of Waterloo, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences School of Optometry, and New England College of Optometry.

For many, eye care is the only form of healthcare regularly received, meaning optometrists often have the first opportunity to identify symptoms of greater health concerns. Optometrists in the National Vision network interact with 10 million patients every year, positioning them to make a sizable, positive impact in improving public health by catching complications early.

As part of their submissions, students were asked to explain how they planned to combat a national or regional public health issue as a future Doctor of Optometry in a 500-word essay or short video submission. A panel of optometrist judges from National Vision selected the following winners:

Grant Program Recipients:

  • First place ($5,000 grand prize): Sherene Vazhappilly, University of Waterloo, Class of 2019
  • Runner-up ($1,000 prize): Astiney Franklin, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences School of Optometry, Class of 2020
  • Runner-up ($1,000 prize): Natalie Wu, New England College of Optometry, Class of 2019

“The key to almost all health issues is early detection,” said Alexander Smith, O.D., Vice President, Professional Services, National Vision. “Because many optometrists are naturally on the first line of defense, we believe that improving public health is one of our core responsibilities. The strong submissions we received this year reinforced that today’s optometry students understand this responsibility and are eager to make a difference. While we could only pick three winners, we’re confident all students who participated will benefit public health after graduation.”


About National Vision Holdings, Inc.

National Vision Holdings, Inc. is one of the largest optical retail companies in the United States with more than 1,000 retail stores in 44 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. With a mission of helping people by making quality eye care and eyewear more affordable and accessible, the company operates five retail brands: America’s Best Contacts & EyeglassesEyeglass WorldVision Centers inside select Walmart stores, Vista Opticals inside Fred Meyer stores and on select military bases, and several e-commerce websites, offering a variety of products and services for customers’ eye care needs. For more information, please visit

VEW Mid-Page 19