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    The future of optometry belongs to women


    In 1993, Joan Exford was the first female president of the American Academy of Optometry. Karla Zadnik stepped up in 2010, and Barbara Caffrey is the current president-elect.

    Forty women from 31 different states currently serve their state optometric associations as president, president-elect or immediate past-president.

    In industry, female ODs are assuming leadership roles. There’s Jill Saxon at Bausch + Lomb, Sally Dillehay at Visioneering Technologies, Carla Mack at Alcon, and Cristina Schnider and Millicent Knight at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, to name a few.

    Related: Be present with your patients

    Women are the future of optometry. Old, bald guys like me are a dime a dozen, and while we’re not ready for the scrap heap just yet, the profession is definitely becoming younger and more female.

    It's time to put away tired, old arguments toward women in leadership positions in optometry. Perhaps it’s the circles I inhabit, but I’ve heard them one time too many. It is only natural for women to step up and lead our profession as these women are doing. Our profession is in their good hands.


    Powers MP. The women of optometry. AOA Focus. March 2014. Available at: http://www.aoa.org/news/aoa-focus/march-2014/the-women-of-optometry?sso=y. Accessed 4/7/17.

    Read more from Dr. Bowling here

    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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