Optometry Practitioner, Educator & Researcher Dr. Cristina Schnider Receives Pacific University’s Kamelia Massih Prize
Pacific University College of Optometry alumna and former faculty member Dr. Cristina Schnider OD ’82 will receive the Kamelia Massih Prize for a Distinguished Optometrist on May 21 at the university’s graduate and professional commencement ceremony, where she also will deliver the keynote address.
Schnider was already a star as a student in Pacific’s optometry program in the 1980s. She had graduated from Oregon State University with high honors and a Bachelor of Science in 1979 and received multiple academic achievement awards and scholarships while pursuing her doctor of optometry at Pacific.
Throughout her career, she has balanced private practice, research and education, advancing the optometry profession and discovery in contact lenses.
Immediately after graduation, she worked at a clinical instructor at SUNY College of Optometry, while also performing vision therapy and contact lens fitting services in private practice, and conducting research in ocular disease, contact lenses and binocular vision.
In 1985, she moved to Australia to run the rigid gas permeable extended wear studies in the Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit at the University of New South Wales.
In 1989, she returned to Pacific University, where she taught and served as chief of Contact Lens Clinical Services. She continued to teach in an adjunct role as she moved into leadership and continuing education roles at Menicon and then Vistakon (now Johnson & Johnson Vision Care). By September 2015, she was global director of professional education for Johnson & Johnson, working on vision care surgical professional education content development — a role from which she retired in 2019. She continues to work as a consultant with an expertise in professional and medical education and communication, development and management, and clinical trial and publication planning and execution.
Dr. Schnider is a member of the American Optometric Association, Contact Lens Section, and the Association for Research in Vision and Opthalmology. She was director of the Portland Metro Optometric Society from 1995 to 1996, chaired the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies of the American Academic of Optometry in 2019-2020, and has been a member of several advisory boards and councils.
She was named one of the Outstanding Women in Optometry in 1999 and one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the Optical Industry in 2004.
Her most recent recognition, the Kamelia Massih Prize for a Distinguished Optometrist, recognizes a Pacific University College of Optometry graduate who has made a significant impact on the profession. It was established by the family of Kamelia Massih, who was born and raised in Iran before immigrating to the United States during the Iranian revolution to pursue her education. Massih completed her doctor of optometry degree at Pacific in 1985 and opened her own practice, Beaverton Vision World, in 1989, followed by locations in Portland and Tigard. She departed the world in March 2010 following a battle with cancer. Massih cared deeply about others, giving countless hours of time and financial resources to a wide range of local and national charities.
“Kamelia had a keen affinity for Pacific University,” said her brother, Fariborz Maseeh, upon establishing the award in her honor. “Our family hopes this gift will recognize excellence of optometry graduates of Pacific University and will inspire other alumni to carry on Kamelia’s passion for serving our community and those in need.”
Dr. Schnider will receive the award at Pacific’s graduate and professional commencement ceremony, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Hanson Stadium in Forest Grove, immediately following the undergraduate ceremony at 9 a.m. Tickets to Pacific University commencement ceremonies are free but required for guests.