Article Date: 11/1/2012

Reader and Industry Forum
Reader and Industry Forum

Keith Harrison, FCLSA(H): Clinician, Innovator, Visionary



Recently we have lost contact lens icons such as Drs. Newton Wesley and Irvin Borish, whose combined contributions spanned a time period of more than a century. On August 21, we lost an exceptional contact lens innovator and leader at much too young an age. Keith W. Harrison, FCLSA(H), lost his battle with cancer and passed away at the age of 59.

An Accomplished Contact Lens Clinician and Educator

An ophthalmic dispenser and certified contact lens fitter, Keith was owner of Harrison Optical Services, a contact lens practice and optical business in the Toronto Western Hospital, a University of Toronto Health Network teaching hospital, where he was renowned for his contact lens fitting knowledge, his teaching ability, and his innovative design development. He established nomograms for GP lens designs and developed innovative soft lens designs for keratoconus and post-refractive surgery corneas.

Keith’s clinical contributions comprised more than 60 published articles and book chapters, including serving as a contributing editor for the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists (CLAO) Home Study Course for Ophthalmic Technicians. He also served as a very popular and passionate speaker on many different contact lens topics at educational meetings all over the world.

He was the 1996 recipient of the prestigious Theodore Obrig Lecture Award from CLAO. Keith also was awarded both the 2006 Ontario Opticians Association Lifetime Achievement Award and the Clifford R. Shorney 2012 Member of the Year Award. He was NCLE Advanced Certified and, while serving on the National Contact Lens Examiners (NCLE) Board of Directors, was instrumental in the creation of the American Board of Opticianry (ABO)-NCLE National Opticians Conference.


Dedication to CLSA

However, Keith Harrison will forever be associated with an organization for which he was very passionate about and exhibited exceptional leadership: the Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA). Serving this outstanding contact lens educational organization for more than 31 years, he was an ever-present advisor and educator at CLSA meetings, including at the Annual Education Meeting in Newport Beach, Calif. this year. An Honored Fellow of the CLSA, from 1993 to 2003 he served as a member of the Board of Directors, including the positions of Secretary/Treasurer, Foundation Chair, and as a very dedicated president of this organization.

The CLSA has established a fund in Keith’s name. Donations will be directed to the charity or cause chosen by his family: CLSA Foundation, c/o The Keith Harrison Fund, 441D Carlisle Drive, Herndon, VA 20170.

Admired Colleague

Keith’s contributions can be best summarized by long-term friend and colleague, Craig Norman, FCLSA. “Keith was a great clinician who could solve very complex ocular problems with contact lenses for his patients. Also a wonderful communicator, he was able to teach many of these skills to his colleagues. On both a personal and professional basis he will be sorely missed.” CLS

Dr. Bennett is assistant dean for Student Services and Alumni Relations at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry and is executive director of the GP Lens Institute. You can reach him at

Contact Lens Spectrum, Volume: 27 , Issue: November 2012, page(s): 52