Zanesville Resident Receives the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award


For more information:

Whitney Anderson

Prevent Blindness

Phone: (800) 301-2020 ext. 105

Email: [email protected]

                Zanesville Resident and Ohio Research Project Receive the Fourth Annual Bonnie Strickland

Champion for Children’s Vision Awards from the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness

COLUMBUS (Aug. 6, 2018) – The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) announced the recipients of the fourth annual “Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award.”  This year’s selected recipient for the individual award is Zanesville resident, Richard Bunner, retired from the Ohio Department of Health and an Honorary Member of the Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate Board of Directors. The group award recognized the Vision in Preschoolers (VIP) Study Group, under the direction of Paulette Schmidt, OD, MS., The Ohio State University College of Optometry.
The award recognizes significant efforts to improve children’s vision and eye health at the state or national level. Both awards were presented at the NCCVEH Annual Meeting on Aug. 4, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
The award was established by the NCCVEH Advisory Committee to commemorate Bonnie Strickland and her groundbreaking work to establish a comprehensive system for children’s vision in the United States. Strickland served as Director of the Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs, Maternal and Child Health Bureau prior to her retirement in 2014. 
Richard “Rick” Bunner has been dedicated to improving children’s vision services for decades.  Beginning as a teacher for the blind and visually impaired in 1966, he has had direct impact on increasing program funding for vision services through advocacy efforts and education for several decades.  At Prevent Blindness, he has served the organization as a board member, is a founding co-chair of its Government Affairs Committee along with former Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), and he provided instrumental leadership in the founding of the NCCVEH.  Bunner serves on the Advisory Committee and previously on its National Expert Panel. 
Just a few of Bunner’s additional accomplishments include:

  • Developing standardized vision screening guidelines for implementation of school-aged vision screenings by school nurses and other community volunteers.
  • Developing preschool vision screening standards for community groups through a consensus process involving a wide range of private, professional and public stakeholders. Instituting Ohio’s Pediatric Eye Clinics throughout the state, which provided comprehensive eye exams to more than 60,000 school-aged children.
  • Providing leadership to the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness, serving in various roles over the last several decades.
  • Providing visionary leadership resulting in the Save Our Sight voluntary check-off on the Ohio motor vehicle registration. Since 1998, the SOS Fund has provided more than $36 million in revenue to support children’s vision programming in Ohio.
Led by Dr. Schmidt, the VIP Study was a large multi-center, multi-disciplinary, clinical study of over 4,000 children throughout the country. The study evaluated preschool screening tests, providing data on the effectiveness of both traditional and technology-based tests for identification of preschool-aged children in need of a comprehensive eye examination for evaluation of amblyopia, strabismus and/or significant refractive error. The results of the VIP study have also increased awareness of children’s vision problems and the need for vision screening.
“We are honored to have two children’s sight conservation advocates from Ohio recognized by one of our organization’s highest national honors”, said Sherry Williams, president and CEO of the Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness. “Rick Bunner and the Vision in Preschoolers Study Group stand out nationally as having made meaningful impact to improve vision health as an investment in our nation’s future.”
Past recipients of the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award include Dr. Sean Donahue, Vanderbilt University, the Illinois Eye Institute (IEI) at Princeton Vision Clinic based at the Illinois College of Optometry, and the Pediatric Physicians’ Organization at Children’s (PPOC) based at Boston Children’s Hospital.
For more information on the 2018 Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award, Prevent Blindness or the NCCVEH, please visit, or contact Kira Baldonado at (800) 331-2020 or [email protected].
About Prevent Blindness

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020.  Or, visit us on the web at or


Rick Bunner receives the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award at the annual National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health meeting in Washington DC.