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Arlene E. Stearns Young Orthoptist Investigator Award

Arlene Stearns was a trailblazing figure in the field of orthoptics, known for her expertise as a clinician, educator, and leader. From 1950 to 1986, she played a pivotal role as the director of the orthoptic program at the renowned Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit, Michigan. During her tenure, she provided invaluable mentorship and guidance to numerous orthoptic students. 

Arlene also made significant contributions to the orthoptic community through her involvement in various leadership positions within the American Association of Certified Orthoptists and the American Orthoptic Council. Through her dedication and vision, she played an instrumental role in shaping the orthoptic landscape in the United States.

About the Award

Introducing the esteemed Arlene E. Stearns Young Orthoptist Investigator Award, a distinguished accolade presented to recognize exceptional research achievements by orthoptic students or first-year Certified Orthoptists. This prestigious award not only serves as a symbol of distinction but also signifies the profound impact that Arlene had in pushing young orthoptists to achieve their full potential, fostering a culture of research, and recognizing the value of investing in the future of our profession.

Arlene, 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. She recognized that research played a vital role in advancing orthoptic care and encouraged her mentees to embark on innovative research projects, pushing the boundaries of traditional practices.

Through the Arlene E. Stearns Young Orthoptist Investigator Award, our foundation seeks to honor Arlene's legacy by supporting the research endeavors of young orthoptists. We firmly believe that investing in the younger generation not only strengthens our profession but also drives progress and innovation in orthoptic care.

By recognizing and rewarding exceptional research achievements, this award serves as a catalyst for young orthoptists to explore new frontiers, challenge existing practices, and contribute valuable insights to our field. It reinforces the importance of evidence-based practices and empowers recipients to become catalysts of change within the orthoptic community.

Together, let us continue Arlene's legacy by nurturing the talents and potential of young orthoptists, encouraging their research pursuits, and recognizing the immense value they bring to our profession. Through the Arlene E. Stearns Young Orthoptist Investigator Award, we aim to inspire the next generation to embrace the spirit of curiosity, innovation, and dedication to research, shaping the future of orthoptic care and improving patient outcomes.

Any questions can be addressed to:

Judy Petrunak Higgins, CO at

Chair - FOREA Arlene E. Stearns Memorial Fund

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Coming in 2025

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