Paul Berman, O.D.

As founder of the Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes (SOLCIOE) program, Paul E. Berman, O.D., was a champion of the need for vision care for intellectually disabled children and adults worldwide.  Dr. Berman originally developed the program as an American Optometric Association Sports Vision Section (SVS) project during his term as president of the section in 1991. As part of the program, volunteers provide all Special Olympics participants with a battery of vision tests, as well as protective sports goggles and prescription eyeglasses when needed.

Impressed with initial success of the program, the Lions Clubs International Foundation, through its Healthy Athletes Opening Eyes initiative, assumed sponsorship in 2001. More than a decade later, more than 350,000 athletes have their eyes examined, with prescription eyewear provided to 110,000 athletes. More than 20,000 volunteer eye care professionals have participated in the program. 

Dr. Berman served on the boards and advisory groups of several organizations, including Optometry Cares® - The AOA Foundation, I Care Vision Screening for Bergen County Head Start, EyeCare4Haiti, the National Academy of Sports Vision, and the Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries. He received numerous awards for his many contributions, culminating with his recognition by the White House during the "Champions of Change" ceremony in 2012, which spotlighted Americans leading extraordinary initiatives to strengthen their communities.

A graduate of the Pacific University College of Optometry, Dr. Berman was a past New Jersey Optometrist of the Year Award and AOA SVS Optometrist of the Year. He was named the International Optometrist of the Year in 2005 by the World Council of Optometry, and inducted into the National Academies of Practice in 2010.  While Dr. Berman practiced full scope optometry with an emphasis on family eye care, contact lenses, sports vision, detection and treatment of eye diseases, vision and learning and special needs, and orthoptics, he lectured frequently on the prevention, assessment and treatment sports related eye injuries, as well as authoring several articles published in journals and magazines.   

A widely recognized sports vision practitioner, Dr. Berman worked with the New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Nets, the New York Giants, U.S. Olympic Hand Ball Team, and U.S. Olympic Fencing Team as well as golfers, high school and collegiate athletes, and recreational athletes.