Alumni Focus on Sylvia Jones (OD/MS ’06)



Toledo, Ohio

Were you the first optometrist in your family?


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

I earned a BS in Biology (’02), MS in Vision Science (’06) and OD (’06).

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

Dr. Cynthia Heard, Dr. Kelly Nichols, Dr. Mark Bullimore were my optometry mentors.

My mom had the most positive effect on my education, always expected excellence and very encouraging. She made me believe that I had been gifted with a brilliant mind.


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

Employer: Dr. Jacqueline Davis, Inc.  Title: Associate Optometrist   Location: Columbus, Ohio

Three years after working at this location, I purchased the practice. Changed the name to Divine Family Eyecare, Inc.         Title: Owner/CEO

Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.

I am not only an optometrist but also a business owner and a mom. I come to work, check in with the staff and address any issues from the previous day. Then, I start seeing between 15-20 patients a day. Some are comprehensive exams, meaning the patient's eyes are generally healthy but need glasses or contact lenses. I also perform medical exams; these patients actually have an ocular health problem. These can range from things like itchy eyes, systemic disease like diabetes, or more urgent issues like sudden vision loss. In between patients, I address any staff issues or questions. I finish up my charts at the end of the day, leave to pick up my children, go home, cook dinner and off to my children's activities.

Tell us a special story that relates to your career now.

During optometry school, I chose to do the Opt 7 program. That program allowed me to graduate with both an MS and an OD. My master’s project surveyed both optometrists and primary care physicians on the information that needed to be communicated about their diabetic patients. This research allowed me to create a diabetic patient communication form. This research was published and the form was actually adopted by the American Optometric Association as their official diabetic communication form. This form has now been used by optometrist's across the nation. I still use it daily on all of my diabetic patients.

Which optometric issues concern you the most?

Providing access and vison care to underserved populations.

Why did you choose a career in optometry?

It all began in a physics class. The professor was teaching about the different things that happened when you approached the speed of light. One was that time actually slowed down. I thought this was so fascinating because I always thought of time as being a constant. I pondered the possibility of time travel. I became very intrigued by light. I thought of how in church I had heard of Jesus being the light. That led me to do a study of light in the Bible and that study led me blindness. Around the same time an advisor had recommend that I look into optometry. One thing led to another and I knew that I was supposed to be an optometrist and I knew my purpose in life was to help with both physical and spiritual blindness. Later I found out that optometry came out of physics and the refraction of light.

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

I would like to open a second practice location in Columbus. I would like to provide more employment opportunities and economic empowerment to the citizens of central Ohio, while providing quality vision care.

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

You are entering a great profession full of opportunity. You may not start out exactly where you want to but with hard work, you can achieve great things in your career.


Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?

I am an Ohio State Young Scholar. The Young Scholars Program is a program for bright under privileged children in Ohio. I received the promise of a scholarship to Ohio State in the sixth grade if I kept up my grades.  Ohio State has poured into me most of my life, with summer institutes, and enrichment activities. Ohio State was an obvious chose for me. I will always be grateful to and love The Ohio State University.

What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?

My most memorable experience actually occurred when I was a Young Scholar. During summer institute, we learned about African culture, learned songs in Swahili, and learned African phrases that promoted self-esteem and self-love.

What lesson did you learn at Ohio State that has affected you the most so far in your career?

I learned to never say never. Freshman year I went to the career center at Ohio State and told the counselor I wanted a career that only required four-year bachelor’s degree. I also dismissed doing anything in the business department because I wanted to be a scientist and no interest in business at the time. Not only did I go on to earn a doctorate degree, but I also went on to own a business.

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

Ohio State changed the course of my life by investing in me and giving me a financial path to obtaining a college degree, so Ohio State will always hold a special place in my heart.

The College of Optometry is like a part of our family; we attend events and are still close to many members or the faculty and staff.

How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry as an alumna?

I return to the college at least two times a year to either serve on alumni panels or attend dinners held for optometry students. I also have allowed many aspiring optometry students to come and shadow me at my private office.


What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?

Right now, I am co-leader of the Financial Education ministry at my church. I love teaching low income, disadvantaged, and minority populations how to biblically manage their finances. 

If not an optometrist, I would be ...

A motivational speaker.