Irwin Suchoff, O.D., D.O.S., F.A.A.O., F.C.O.V.D.-A (posthumously)

Irwin Suchoff

A prolific author and lecturer throughout his career, Irwin Suchoff, O.D., first served his country in the Army in Europe, where he met one of his mentors, Norman Haffner, O.D., past President of State University of New York, State College of Optometry (SUNY). Returning to the states, he attended and graduated from the Massachusetts College of Optometry (now New England College of Optometry) and then went on to join the Optometric Center of New York Staff 1965-1971. He subsequently became a founding faculty member of SUNY College of Optometry, in 1971 as Assistant Professor, becoming an Associate Professor in 1973, and Professor in 1976. He later served as co-chairman of the Department of Vision Sciences; Director of Residency Education; Dean of the Professional Program; Founder and Chairman of the Head Trauma Vision Rehabilitation Clinic from 1985-1999.

In his early days at SUNY, Dr. Suchoff developed the courses for vision development while also maintaining a successful private practice. As the years continued so did his contributions to optometry. Aside from the strides he has made in optometry, an area that he thrived in was his genuine love of people and optometry. His writings appeal to a wide variety of professionals, he is able to present facts in his writings in a way that can be understood and used by optometrists or other professionals outside of optometry, allowing them to see what optometry has to offer in the care and management of patients.

Additionally, Dr. Suchoff's early classes on child development were the result of merging optometry with research from the Gesell Institute of Child Development and others. He developed courses for the optometric classroom. He worked with children who were deaf or had cerebral palsy, publishing one of his articles outside of optometry in the Journal of Learning Disabilities in 1982.

The roots of neuro-optometry and rehabilitation came from much of his work. The occurrence of visual dysfunction following head trauma was studied at SUNY and published with statistics to back up the information. His work on acquired brain injury and vision is published in journals related to brain injury not just optometry.

Dr. Suchoff has directly and indirectly moved the profession forward as a clinician in private practice and at SUNY, as an educator, as an author and editor to some of the profession’s greatest writers, to his service to the profession through NBEO, ACOE, and COVD. As a mentor to countless other optometrists, he has had a tremendous impact upon the optometric profession. He was a participant in what’s known as "The Meeting that Changed the Profession,” when in January of 1968, in a hotel at the LaGuardia Airport, several optometrists met to discuss the advancement of optometry from a drugless profession to expanding its scope of practice as an eye health care profession practiced by optometrists today.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Suchoff was bestowed numerous awards, including The Prentice Society of the American Academy of Optometry's Award for the Clinical Training and Education of Optometrists; Distinguished Service Professor by Chancellor of the State University of New York; COVD's “Skeffington Award for Excellence" presented to a COVD Fellow who has made outstanding contributions to optometric literature in the areas of vision therapy and vision development; COVD's GN Getman Award for Excellence in Developmental Optometry; and COVD's President's Award for outstanding contributions to the organization.

Dr. Suchoff’s editorial and writing accomplishments include being a contributor to the Editorial Staff of Review of Optometry, Editor-in-Chief Optometry Times from 1983-1988, founding editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Behavioral Optometry 1990-2007, editorial board member of the Journal of the American Optometric Association from 2007-2011, and the author or co-author of 58 published articles, texts, or textbook chapters in the optometric or related health care fields. In addition, he was a presenter of 98 invited papers or courses given in the US and several other countries.

Dr. Irwin Suchoff passed away on March 21, 2018. The family of Dr. Suchoff will accept the award in his honor.