Transitions Optical and the Opticians Association of Canada (OAC) are proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Students of Vision Scholarship program: Sherene Vazhappilly, Katherine Vanloo, and Brittany Hoffman. Vazhappily, a student optometrist at the University of Waterloo, will be awarded the grand prize scholarship of $2,500. Vanloo, a student optician at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), will be awarded a scholarship of $1,500, and Hoffman, also a student optician studying at NAIT, will be awarded a scholarship of $500.

Student applicants were tasked with describing how they will educate their patients on style in vision care by crafting a video, presentation or essay entry. Submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges and evaluated based on their demonstration of creativity, strategic thinking and ethics.

Vazhappilly submitted a video entry describing her three-part approach to ensuring that patients find eyeglasses that not only correct their vision, but appeal to their sense of style as well. Vanloo wrote an essay that focused on different frame and lens options available for different prescription needs. Hoffman created a unique example consultation folder as a guide for having the style conversation with patients as an optician.

“We saw an overwhelming response to the scholarship prompt this year, with many exceptional entries that made the final decision very competitive,” said Patience Cook, director, North America marketing, Transitions Optical. “However, our winners submitted entries that went above and beyond the prompt, incorporating creative and strategic ideas for adding style into the conversation.”

The scholarship theme of finding the style in vision care was inspired by recent research from the Center for Generational Kinetics on behalf of Transitions Optical, which showed that many Canadian eyeglass wearers consider glasses to be part of their style, with 71% of Millennials, 63% of Boomers and 64% of Gen X feeling this way. Not only do 67% of Canadian eyeglass wearers surveyed stated that style is the #1 aspect that influences their decision when taking recommendations for their eyeglasses, but respondents also said eyecare professionals have the most influence on their eyeglass selection decisions, more so than spouses, significant others, family and friends.