VDCO Peter-Abel-Award

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1*Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Eye- and Vision Center Optometrie Cagnolati GmbH

In 1995, the Association of German Contact Lens Specialists and Optometrists (VDCO) conferred the prestigious Peter Abel Award for the first time. This award is presented annually for scientific dissertations in the field of optometry, contact lenses and the physiology of the eye. Past Award recipients are from Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Spain, South Africa and the USA.
On the 2023 Sicht.Kontakte in Berlin, Dr. Birgit Fritz from the University of Applied Sciences, Furtwangen received the Peter Abel Award for her dissertation “Microbial load on spectacles and their hygienic significance”.
However, who is Peter Abel and what defines his great national and international reputation?

Peter Abel was born on 23 May 1908 in Cologne, Germany and died on 24 July 1994 in Sydney, Australia. In 1930, he completed his studies at the German School of Optics and Photographic Technology in Berlin, the predecessor institution of today's optometry degree programme at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences (BHT) as a state-certified ophthalmic optician. Immediately afterwards, he published his first clinical paper on the subject of "Treatment and Correction of Heterophoria”. On September 1, 1934, he received his appointment to the Berlin School, where he was active in teaching and research as well as clinically until 1974.
His national and international commitment to optometry started immediately after his appointment at the Berlin School.  In 1937, he organized an educational visit to Great Britain with 250 colleagues and in 1938, he was the first and still the only German to give the "Dr. Ettles Memorial Lecture" in London on the subject of "Fluctuations in Visual Acuity and Refraction during the Day".
From 1934 to 1974, Peter Abel was the spiritus rector for the academic training of German and European optometrists. During this time, he received 30 national and international awards and was the author of over 400 papers and 5 books on the field of optometry. In this context, Peter Abel discussed with the legendary director and later president of the State University of New York, College of Optometry, Dr. Alden Haffner, at the Optometric Center in New York in 1962, among other things, a postgraduate course for graduates of German higher optometry training institutes at the New York institution.
Peter Abel is therefore widely considered as the Father of German Optometry today. He is highly respected all over the world. His eventful life can be traced by studying the German book "A life for optometry - Peter Abel and his time" written by Hans-Ulrich Geyer.1

The VDCO's "Peter Abel Award" is a lasting memory to a distinguished optometrist, an excellent lecturer and researcher but also a progressive and future-oriented professional politician.

[1] Hans-Ulrich Geyer (1988). Ein Leben für die Optometrie – Peter Abel und seine Zeit. Hans-Ulrich Geyer, Fachveröffent- lichungen, 7012 Fellbach.

Das Bild zeigt Wolfgang Cagnolati

About Wolfgang Cagnolati

DSc* MSc* FCOptom FAAO - *Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Eye- and Vision Center Optometrie Cagnolati GmbH

Wolfgang Cagnolati practices clinical optometry in Duisburg, Germany, and is also a Visiting Associate Professor at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and a lecturer at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences.