Joel N. Zaba, M.A., OD ’69, has been chosen to receive Southern College of Optometry's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented during SCO's Fall Homecoming and Continuing Education weekend.
Over four decades of private practice in Virginia, Dr. Zaba has distinguished himself in the area of learning-related visual problems. He has lectured internationally and published extensively on his research focusing on the relationship between children, vision, and learning.
A graduate of The College of William and Mary, Dr. Zaba was encouraged to attend SCO by his brother-in-law, Harvey Aftel, OD ’54. At SCO, he became interested in the then relatively new connections between children’s vision and learning thanks to inspiration provided by the late Drs. Harvey Brown, Gerry Getman, and Robert Wagnon.
In his final year at SCO, he became one of the first optometry students to work with a researcher on a National Institutes of Health grant as he assisted in evaluating children with sickle-cell anemia. He later earned his master’s degree in human growth and development from the Institute for Child Study at the University of Maryland.
He has served as chair of the Communications Division for the AOA, the School Optometrist Standards Project Team, and as a national spokesman for the Vision Council of America. He has appeared on The Today Show and CNN to discuss children’s vision and learning. He is a member of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and of the Optometric Extension Program Foundation.
In 2015, he received the Virginia Optometric Association’s 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of his longstanding and continuous commitment and service to optometry and the visual welfare of the public, including his service chairing the VOA’s Committee on Learning Disabilities and 13 years as a vision consultant to the Norfolk, Virginia public school system.