Professor Brien Holden of the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science and his colleague from South Africa, Professor Kovin Naidoo, have been jointly awarded the Schwab Social Entrepreneur Award for Africa 2010.

Through their work with the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), the two have been key figures in efforts to tackle avoidable blindness and vision impairment in Africa. The award was presented at the recent regional World Economic Forum in Tanzania.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is a not-for-profit, independent organisation that aims to support leading social innovators.

Professor Holden, who heads the Vision CRC, singled out the efforts of ICEE and Professor Naidoo: "To have been considered to have done something useful for the people of Africa is a great honour, one that is rightly deserved by the people from ICEE - and from optometry around the world who support them - who make a difference to vision care, blindness prevention and new opportunities for so many."

ICEE was established by Professor Holden and colleagues in 1998 to address the need of 670 million people worldwide with uncorrected refractive error and consequently blind or vision impaired because they don't have access to an eye examination and a pair of the glasses. Professor Holden is also a founder of the Institute for Eye Research, which was recently renamed the Brien Holden Vision Institute and is located alongside and affiliated with the School of Optometry and Vision Science on the UNSW campus.

Read more about the award at the Brien Holden Vision Institute website.

Media contact: Stephanie O'Connell, Director of Communications, 02 9385 7252 | 0439 600 312