22 September 2010
The World Council of Optometry (WCO) has today announced that its annual International Optometrist of the Year Award is to be post-humously awarded to Dr Tom Little, who was killed whilst leading a humanitarian health mission in Nuristan province, Afghanistan.
Each year, this prestigious award recognises an individual who has shown “outstanding commitment and contribution to both the profession of optometry and the community at large”.
Professor George Woo, President of the World Council of Optometry commenting on the award said “Dr Little had dedicated his life to providing eye and vision care in a very difficult and challenging environment. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues and the WCO is proud to recognise Dr Little as an outstanding individual and professional.”
Dr Little was working for International Assistance Mission. It is estimated that International Assistance eye care work has benefited an estimated 5 million Afghans since 1966.
Originally from Kinderhook, New York, Dr Tom Little had worked in Afghanistan for more than 30 years. He was a former member of the WCO Public Health Committee and had presented at the 2008 WCO World Optometric Globalisation Conference in London. He was a graduate of the Advanced Standing International Program at New England College of Optometry and an adjunct Faculty member of the College. He was also involved in Volunteer Services for Optometry/ International (VOSH) and was due to speak at their annual meeting in October 2010.
This award was recognised with a minute silence at the opening session of the WCO’s World Conference on Optometric Education, 22nd to 24th September 2010 in Durban, South Africa.