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    Farewell to Dr. Larry Alexander, my optometric hero

    Dr. Larry Alexander left us way too soon


    Medical optometry and much more

    He espoused the medical model of optometry his entire career and was proud that he helped our profession mature. He served as clinical editor of Optometry and Vision Science. In that role, he recruited me to be one of its clinical reviewers. I doubt any of his former students could ever tell him “no” whenever he asked. He developed eyelessons.com, an online educational portal for ODs, which he ceased upon his retirement. He served as senior director of clinical education at Optovue, and as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at Biosyntrx Inc. He was a past president of the Optometric Retina Society and was a member of the Optometric Glaucoma Society and the Optometric Nutrition Society.

    I know he was especially happy to be honored with the inaugural Indiana University Distinguished Alumni Foley House Award this year. He was happily married to Lynn for almost 50 years, and they have two sons, Matt and Dan. 

    In 2015, Energeyes, the Association of Corporate-Affiliated Optometrists, honored me with its second President’s Council Award. What made the honor even more special was that the first President’s Council Award recipient was Larry Alexander. (Watch his keynote address here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myhZY0vhanw) I got to tell him that and how much he meant to me and to my growth as an OD.

    Boy, am I glad I got that opportunity. Just a few weeks ago, he called to tell me how much he enjoyed my editorials and how proud he was of his former student. Now, there’s a memory I’ll carry with me to my grave.

    Larry J. Alexander was one of the greatest minds in optometry. As my classmate Dr. Mike Brown said, “He was brilliant and a real human being. Not often you get both of those in the same package.”

    He was a visionary and an amazing mentor, colleague, and friend to more of us than could be imagined. He shaped how many of us practice optometry. He will be sorely missed. But he leaves an amazing legacy. I know the doctor I am today is because of him. And I’m certain I am not alone.

    Aeternum vale, mi amice.  

    Ernie Bowling, OD, MS, FAAO
    Dr. Ernie Bowling is Chief Optometric Editor of Optometry Times. He received his Doctor of Optometry and Master of Science in ...


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