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Arlene E. Stearns
Rising Star Award

Arlene E. Stearns, a true pioneer in the orthoptic field, left an indelible mark as a clinician, educator, and leader. From 1950 to 1986, she directed the esteemed orthoptic program at the Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit, Michigan, where she mentored numerous orthoptic students. Her dedication and expertise shaped the lives and careers of countless aspiring orthoptists.


Arlene was not only a trailblazer in clinical practice but also played pivotal roles in shaping the orthoptic landscape in the United States. Her leadership extended to various esteemed organizations such as the American Association of Certified Orthoptists and the American Orthoptic Council. Through her contributions and insights, she influenced the growth and development of the orthoptic profession, leaving a lasting impact.

About the Award

Arlene E. Stearns, a visionary in our field, understood the importance of nurturing the next generation of orthoptic professionals. Her unwavering dedication and passion inspired countless young orthoptists to strive for excellence and embody the true essence of our profession.

To honor Arlene's remarkable legacy, we proudly present the Arlene E. Stearns Rising Star Award. This prestigious accolade recognizes a young orthoptist who exemplifies true leadership, embodies unwavering passion to enhance our profession, and is dedicated to the advancement of orthoptics.


The recipient of this award stands out as a shining star within the orthoptic community, demonstrating exceptional skills, commitment, and a relentless drive to make our profession better. They exhibit the same level of dedication and excellence that Arlene embodied throughout her career.


This rising star award recognizes an individual with outstanding, early, professional involvement within the AACO and TCOS. They not only excel in their clinical practice, but also actively participate in their professional organization, sharing knowledge, and collaborating with fellow orthoptists to drive progress and elevate the profession.


In the spirit of Arlene E. Stearns, the recipient of this award demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities, inspiring and motivating others to reach their full potential. They embody the values of compassion, integrity, and a genuine commitment to progressing the orthoptic profession. 


The Arlene E. Stearns Rising Star Award serves as a tribute to Arlene's outstanding contributions and aims to empower the next generation of orthoptic leaders to follow in her footsteps. It recognizes the exceptional talent and potential of young orthoptists and encourages them to continue shaping the future of our profession with their passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

Any questions can be addressed to:

Judy Petrunak Higgins, CO at

Chair - FOREA Arlene E. Stearns Memorial Fund

Arlene E. Stearns Memorial Student Scholarship
Arlene E. Stearns Young Orthoptist Investigator Award
Arlene E. Stearns Rising Star Award
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