CAOS Aperture Writing Contest Winner

An initiative proudly sponsored by NextGenOD and Eye Care Business Canada, The Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS) has revealed the winners of the APERTURE 2022-23 Writing Contest. Selection was conducted via an anonymous voting system by the CAOS communications directors and approval from the CAOS executive team at the University of Waterloo.  We’re delighted to highlight the first-place essay, “Lessons from a Superfield Lens,” penned by then 4th-year student Jenny Lee. Her engaging piece features an imaginative dialogue with optometric instruments, exploring the symbiotic relationship between technology and human skill in the field of optometry.

If you had told me a few years ago I would be replaced by what they call an “auto-phoropter”, I would have derisively slotted some headache-inducing Risley prisms in front of your eyes.

I mean, how ridiculous does that sound? An auto-phoropter? I’ve stood the test of time and I get the job done. When people think optometry, they think of me. The classic, satisfying feeling of each click as the doctor asks “one, or two?” is nowhere nearly as rewarding as the lack of tactile feedback from an adjustment on a screen.

Here I am, watching as my prized spot in the clinic is overtaken by that new, glossy, shiny… thing.

I tried not to sulk, I really did. I kept quiet, stopped myself from unlocking my grip on the stand so I could swing angrily into students’ heads as they tried to grab the stand light beside me. To be fair, Mr. “high-and-almighty” slit lamp glared daggers at me (without even a diffuse filter on, the nerve!) for me to finally cave in, but I won’t tell them that.

Weren’t the students worried about being replaced by technology? I’d certainly never do that to them. I panicked on weekends, wondering when it would be the last time my covering was removed before being shipped off elsewhere.

It had been an especially rough week when I overheard whispers from the clinic supervisor that I was to be replaced with the school’s new auto-phoropters. It felt like a death sentence, like standing on the edge of the precipice between comfort and complacency versus the melancholy realization of no longer having a purpose.

As luck would have it, though, a third-year had left their fundus lens on the slit lamp table overnight, temporarily forgotten.

“What is it like, knowing that you might be replaced by a new-age OCT or camera someday?” I asked in my desperation for some company.

“Replaced? What do you mean?” it replied.

“Well, sure, you give stereo vision now, but fundus cameras with stereo features already exist in this clinic,” I remarked. “It’s only a matter of time, isn’t it?”

If it were possible for a lens to chuckle, it did. “I’m not getting replaced anytime soon. And even then, when I came out, everyone thought I would replace my predecessor, the 90D. Ultra super wide field views can’t be compared! They said. But really, we each serve our own purpose. I give the wide views, and 90D helps with undilated patients.

They can come out with all the fancy technology they want, but at the end of the day we’re all just different tools in a toolbox, each with our own use and purpose.”

It was at that moment I chose to be vulnerable. “I’m worried about being replaced, though,” I admitted. “Once they roll in those new auto-phoropters, I’m done for.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” the lens replied.

And so here I am, the moment finally here – watching as a new era of change sweeps its way into preclinic, changing the course of education for a new batch of students. I brace myself for the moment I’ve been waiting for this whole time. Except it never comes.

When I’m next uncovered, I recognize the familiar surroundings of the school’s newer preclinic rooms. A furtive tilt to my right reveals a paper taped onto the clinic wall – Binocular Vision Lab – Vergence Testing.

It seems like the Superfield lens was right. In my grievances over the idea of a new phoropter being present, I’d forgotten that things never truly get replaced – just like how the Goldmann tonometer fretted over the new iCare probe and ended up sticking around anyway.

So when I next saw an auto-phoropter getting carted in past me, I didn’t worry. Like me, it has a place.

Jenny Lee, OD


Vision Science Assistant Editor, CRO Journal

Jenny Lee is an onboarding resident with the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science.

She is a recent 2023 graduate and is passionate about pediatrics and vision therapy.


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Eye Care Business Canada Sponsors CAOS

The Optometry student winners of the APERTURE Writing contest have been announced by the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS). As a sponsor of the APERTURE Writing Contest, NextGenOD and Eye Care Business Canada have awarded prizes for the top 5 optometry student winners of the contest.

Aperture Optometry Student Magazine cover 2023
Aperture Cover 2023

The top entries were  selected by the CAOS communications directors by an anonymous voting system where personal identifiers were removed. Then, the entire CAOS executive team at University of Waterloo which comprises over 20 students, excluding the communications team, votes on the winners.

The first-place winning entry entitled “Lessons from a Superfield Lens” by Jenny Lee (4th year University of Waterloo) recounts a whimsical imaginary conversation with various optometric armamentarium which dispels her fears of being replaced by technology.

The second-place entry, by Shannon Huges (3rd year University of Waterloo), shares results and lesson ingrained from of her first real patient refractions in, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It“.

Simply entitled, “Foresight“, third-place winning entry by Judit Antonyrajan (3rd year University of Waterloo) celebrates optometry scope of practice advances that have been achieved and opines on the promising future of the profession.

Here is the full list of APERTURE contest winners and NextGEN OD cash prizes.  Congratulations to all of the participants.

  • 1st  Place Jenny Lee  ($150)
  • 2nd Place Shannon Hughes ($125)
  • 3rd Place Judit Antonyrajan ($100)
  • 4th Place Jennifer Li ($75)
  • 5th Place Kiratpal Hothi ($50)

In addition the cash prizes, optometry student winners will be recognized by publishing their entries in NextGEN’s parent company publications, including Optik Magazine, OptikNOW and Eye Care Business Canada,  reaching over 10,000 Canadian eye care professionals. Look for the winning entries to be published later this year.

The 2023 issue is the seventh Aperture Magazine publication. The optometry student publication strives to reflect the voices of future Optometrists in the ever-changing landscape of the profession.

View the winning entries in APERTURE Magazine.
See Contest Announcement.



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Eye Care Business Canada Sponsors CAOS

Eyecare Business Canada and NextGen OD are pleased to announce their 2023 Sponsorship to the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS).

NextGen OD is a digital resource specifically for recent Canadian Optometry grads and Optometry students studying in Canada and in the USA. The site provides resources for Optometry Students and recent OD graduates, including information on career options in all facets of optometric practice.

As students enter their final academic years, progress through internships and externships, and possibly residency and fellowships, a host of options and opportunities lay ahead.  NextGen OD provides insights from students making these choices as well the paths of recent grads who are dealing with these important decisions.

The NextGen OD eco-system consists of a website (, Facebook page, Instagram, and a Linked In Showcase Page.

APERTURE Magazine Contest Sponsorship and More
A unique aspect of NextGen OD’s sponsorship is to reward winning contributions to CAOS’ online magazine, APERTURE.

Student winners of the APERTURE writing contest will be recognized by publishing the winning entries in Optik Magazine in 2023, reaching over 10,000 Canadian eye care professionals.  Additionally $500 of prizes will be provided by the publisher to the winning entrants.

“As a broad spectrum B2B publisher in the eyecare space, identifying the next generation of leading peer influencers is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the talent that lies within the student cohort and bring their fresh perspectives to the industry at large.said David Pietrobon, president of VuePoint IDS, which publishes both Eye Care Business Canada and NextGen OD, Optik Magazine and CRO (Clinical & Refractive Optometry) Journal.

In addition to the APERTURE Magazine contest sponsorship, NextGen OD is planning webinars bringing together Canadian students from across North America with various subject matter experts. Plans are also underway to provide peer-reviewed clinical pearls to both students preparing for Board Examinations and recent graduates that require continuing education credits. These will be provided through CRO (Clinical & Refractive Optometry) Journal and CRO Online CE, a division of VuePoint IDS Inc.

.About VuePoint IDS
VuePoint IDS Inc. is a private 100% Canadian-owned media and marketing services company focused on serving the information needs of the eyewear and eye care industry’s professional service providers including optometrists, opticians and affiliated personnel. VuePoint publishes print and digital titles for eye care professionals under the media brands Optik, (CRO) Clinical & Refractive Optometry, Eye Care Business Canada/NextGen OD and co-publishes IMAGINEM Magazine, a multi-lingual global eyewear fashion publication published in 5 languages.

VuePoint also offers services to eye care professionals, including accredited continuing education program development and delivery for Optometry through CRO Online (  and for Opticians through OptikConEd (

About  Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS)
CAOS represents Canadian Students enrolled in optometry faculties across North America. CAOS has two chapters in Canada, University of Waterloo and Université de Montréal. There are currently nine chapters in US-based optometry schools. CAOS provides optometry students with a unified voice and advocates on behalf of students in shaping the future of optometry in Canada.


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