Dr Rod Watkins, Director of Strategic Development in the Department of Optometry and Vision Science at Flinders, has been appointed a Fellow of the National Vision Research Institute.
Dr Watkins is only the twelfth person to be recognised in this way in the Institute’s 38-year history. The Institute is a division of the Australian College of Optometry.
A Flinders PhD in Physics, Dr Watkins lectured in Applied Optics in Optometry at the University of Melbourne before joining the Adelaide optical company SOLA International. In 1987 he founded Scan Optics, a company that manufactures optical equipment for ophthalmology in developing countries. He served as its CEO until 2008. During this time, the company supported prevention of blindness programs in 120 countries and was widely recognised internationally for its work.
Dr Watkins was awarded Finders University’s Convocation Medal in 2000, and in 2005 received an Order of Australia for community service, particularly for prevention of blindness in the Third World.
The Head of Optometry and Vision Science at Flinders, Professor Konrad Pesudovs, said the Fellowship was awarded for Dr Watkins’ “tireless service” to the NVRI. A member of the board for more than 30 years, Dr Watkins served eight years as chairman and was instrumental in securing the Institute’s major endowment, the Schultz-Laubmann-Schulz fund.