Notable Alumnus

William J. "Joe" Benjamin, OD, PhD, FAAO
Class of 1979

Dr. William J. "Joe" Benjamin is a tenured Professor of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), School of Optometry (UABSO). He is the director of the Eye Physiology and Ocular Prosthetics Laboratory, a Senior Scientist of UAB’s Vision Science Research Center, and a clinician in contact lens practice and primary eye care. His basic research interests include the physiology of the cornea and ocular surface and are related to his clinical research and practice with prosthetic eye devices such as contact lenses and conjunctival inserts. Dr. Benjamin was the convener (chair) of the contact lens working group of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for 15 years. He is an active member of the Z80 Committee on Ophthalmic Products of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the primary editor/author of ANSI Z80.20 and ISO 18369 standards on contact lenses, former chair of the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) Commission on Ophthalmic Standards and the AOA Seal of Acceptance Program, editor/author of the text Borish’s Clinical Refraction (now in its second edition), and an optometric member of the National Academies of Practice. Previously he was the Director of the Institute for Contact Lens Research at the University of Houston and UABSO’s Director of Clinical Eye Research. He is President of the International Society for Contact Lens Specialists and a council member of the International Society for Contact Lens Research, holds a patent on an improved design for a conjunctival insert, and was a coursemaster of the contact lens series at the UAB. He received the Dr. Josef Dallos Award from the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association, the Achievement Award from the Contact Lens and Cornea Section of the American Optometric Association, the Frederik William Herschel Medal from the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists, and the Statesmanship Award from the ISO contact lens working group. He has received sponsorship from companies and associations in 10 different countries and 15 different states in the US and has given presentations or conducted meetings in 25 countries and 27 states. For two years, he was the interim Chair of the UABSO Department of Optometry and Director of the Professional Program there. He is currently the Associate Dean of the UABSO and interim Director of the Professional Program. He and his wife, Dr. Patricia Benjamin, now monitor from afar the progress of their son, Daniel, an engineering graduate of Auburn University in the area of Materials Science.

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