Irvin Max Borish


IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award (2009)
Partners in Philanthropy (2002)
Herman B Wells Visionary Award
IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award (1990)
School of Optometry Foley House Basement Key Award (1983)
Honorary Degree (1968)
Doctor of Laws
Optometry Building
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Elvis J. Stahr


A practitioner, a teacher and a researcher, Dr. Borish was called the most influential optometrist of the 20th century by Review of Optometry magazine after he was voted by the journal's readers as the Optometrist of the Century.

As a young faculty member at Northern Illinois College of Optometry, Dr. Borish was convinced that the future of optometry as a profession had to be based on professional university education combined with excellent basic and clinical research. Then and during his 30 years in private practice in Kokomo, he worked tirelessly to help schools and colleges of optometry to raise their educational and clinical research standards by affiliating with major universities.

He served on a committee that persuaded IU and the State of Indiana to establish the IU School of Optometry. From 1953 -- when the school was established -- until 1973, he traveled weekly to lecture at IU. He taught as a visiting or part-time faculty member at almost every college or school of optometry in the United States and Canada, and in several other countries.

Dr. Borish was a full-time professor at IU from 1973 until 1982. Soon afterwards, he was named to the first endowed chair in an optometric institution at the University of Houston. In 1994, the faculty of the IU School of Optometry voted unanimously to name its new Center for Ophthalmic Clinical Research after him.

He is the author of more than 80 articles and nine textbooks. Clinical Refraction, first published in 1944 and now titled Borish's Clinical Refraction, is still the Bible for optometry students and practitioners. He was the first optometrist voted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame, established in 1999, and he has received both of the American Optometric Association's highest awards, among many other honors.

In 1983, Borish was presented with the Indiana University School of Optometry Foley House Basement Key Award which recognizes an alumnus who has demonstrated exceptional dedication and/or service to the IU School of Optometry.

He is the recipient of many honorary degrees and the holder of multiple patents on contact lenses.