Alumni Focus on Nancy (Sullivan) Barr (OD’83)

DR. BARR'S STORYNancy (Sullivan) Barr

Which institution did you attend for your undergraduate degree? What was your major?

I was accepted into the optometry program after two years of undergrad at Ohio University where I majored in pre-optometry and pestering Jim Noe.

Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?


I was asked to participate in the MS in Physiological Optics program, but was too terrified to accept!

Who were your mentors at the College of Optometry? Who had a positive effect on your education?

I worked at the reception desk in the Optometry Clinic, and Dr. Arol Augsburger was in charge of the student employees. He is a class act and I always wanted to earn his respect. I also really enjoyed Dr. Mike Polasky as an instructor for clinic knowledge and skills and Dr. Gary Andrasko for contact lenses. Dr. Kevin Alexander was also a great instructor.


Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.

I own Newman Eye Care in historic downtown Newman, Georgia.

Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.Nancy (Sullivan) Barr

I start each day with a pot of coffee, walking and yoga.

My patients are scheduled every 15 minutes; I have a scribe so that I can concentrate on being face to face with the patient instead of typing away. I work three days per week, which is pretty ideal.

Which optometric issues concern you the most?

Portions of the medical community trying to downgrade our status as health care professionals. Also the reimbursements from vision plans seem to be the same as many years ago.

Why did you choose a career in optometry?

My dad suggested it when I was in high school – I told him I wanted a health care career and his optometrist had mentioned that programs were starting to emphasize accepting female candidates. He encouraged me to apply.

Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?

I will still be working as I love what I do! I work three days per week, so its optimal for working longer.

What is one piece of advice you can give OPT-IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?

Find a venue/practice setting you really enjoy. Be flexible! Don’t be afraid to be entrepreneurial.

What does eye health, and eye care, mean for you?

I love providing optimal vision to my patients. Many of my patients have been with me for decades and our rapport and trust is great.


What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?

Campus life and football games! And our graduation ceremony from Optometry school.

What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?

We are proud fans of Ohio State!

How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?

I try to come back to the alumni weekend every year.


What are your current hobbies, volunteer work and interests?Nancy (Sullivan) Barr

My husband Steve and I love traveling internationally. We have been to all seven continents and hope to keep traveling for many years to come.

What is your nickname?

“Nanny” is what my granddaughter calls me, so that is pretty special.

If not an optometrist, I would be …

I can’t really think of a career I would enjoy more!