The History of Women in Optometry

Metro Eye Dr's

Metro Eye Dr'sAfter receiving her doctorate from Illinois College of Optometry, Dr. Amy Jankowski opened Metro Eye 12 years ago. Because every March we celebrate Women’s History Month, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the pioneering women who helped pave Dr. Jankowski’s path to owning and operating her own practice in the Third Ward.

A Brief History of Women in Optometry

While the earliest history of optometry can be tracked to about 3,000 BC, women didn’t really start to enter the field in the United States until the 20th century. The first recorded female to obtain her doctorate in Optometry was Gertrude Stanton, back around 1899. Shortly thereafter, Mollie Armstrong followed suit and opened her own practice in Texas.

Since then, visionary women began to implement themselves into optometry practices and organizations all over the United States. Even though it would be over a century before a female was elected President of the American Optometric Association (AOA), women were making strides in eye care continuously along the way. This included such things as pursuing further education and joining auxiliary organizations where they were able to team up to help support local and international charities, as well as spreading the word about vision health to their communities.

Today, women make up about 38% of the profession of Optometry (compared to only 2% in 1976). While the field is obviously still dominated by men, the percentage of female eye doctors continues to climb every year, showing that women have not only made huge strides in eye health care, they aren’t slowing down anytime soon!

Would you like to learn more about Metro Eye’s visionary female optometrists and opticians? Visit our website or stop by our office at 325 E. Chicago St. in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.