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Australia loses research and humanitarian giant

Sydney, Australia, 3 August 2015: Optometry and vision science, Australia and the world are mourning the passing of Professor Brien Holden OAM, who was once described as 'the most influential optometrist of our generation'.

Professor of Optometry at UNSW Australia and CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Vision CRC, Holden was an internationally renowned scientist and humanitarian. Nearly all those worldwide who wear contact lenses, have directly benefitted from his research efforts, including co-developing silicon hydrogel contact lenses, the most popular contact lens material.

In a career that stretched more than 40 years, Holden was the driver behind a social enterprise that has delivered eye care services to more than three million people in 54 countries; established 429 vision centres or sites for eye care worldwide; and trained over 140,000 personnel around the world.

Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Federal member for Kingsford Smith, paid tribute to Professor Holden. “Brien was a tireless advocate for the vision impaired and in particular those in developing nations. Kingsford Smith, Australia and the World is the lesser for having lost such an extraordinary person.”

Dr. Tony Adams, Professor Emeritus of Optometry and Vision Science at University of California Berkeley, said: “He was always motivated by his strong drive to help people around the world with their vision and eye care issues. He gathered those colleagues necessary to achieve unbelievable advances and deep down was always driven by humanity’s needs. 

"He saw possibilities no one else saw and made them happen. Truly a remarkable colleague and world figure.”

Professor Brien Holden OAM passed away suddenly on Monday 27 July 2015.

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