ICO Alumnus Irvin Borish, OD, Father of Modern Optometry, Dies at 99

BorishIrvin Borish, OD, DOS, a distinguished ICO alumni who is considered “the father of modern optometry,” died March 3 in Florida at the age of 99.

Dr. Borish graduated from the Northern Illinois College of Optometry – a predecessor to ICO – in 1934. He served on the school’s faculty for eight years, including as assistant dean. He then established a private practice in Kokomo, Ind., and was instrumental in starting the Indiana University School of Optometry and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.

Dr. Borish’s influence has been felt at ICO and every other optometry school in the nation for decades. He authored numerous textbooks, including the much-used Clinical Refraction, and was granted five patents for contact lenses, including bifocal contacts. He was a founding member of the Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry, was a president of the Indiana Optometric Association and the editor of the Indiana Journal of Optometry. He served as adjunct faculty at several schools.

When Dr. Borish retired from IU in 1982, he assumed the Benedict Professorship of Optometric Practice at the University of Houston. The school later established the Irvin M. Borish Chair in Optometric Practice, an endowed chair with more than $1 million of support. In 1995, Indiana University honored him by establishing the Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research.

Dr. Borish received numerous awards during his career, including the the prestigious AOA Apollo Award for the visual betterment of mankind in 1968 and the AOA Distinguished Service Award in 1989. He was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in 1998.

Dr. Borish is survived by his daughter, Fran Goldman, of Dallas, Penn.