Dr. Carol Alexander Named 2020 Distinguished Alumna

Dr. Carol Alexander
Dr. Carol Alexander, 2020 Distinguished Alumna

In recognition of her career-long commitment to eye health, mentorship, and advancing the optometric profession, The Ohio State University College of Optometry Alumni Society has named Carol Alexander (OD’87) as the recipient of its 2020 Distinguished Alumna Award.


Dr. Alexander received her Doctor of Optometry degree from The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1987, and after working for two Toledo-area optometrists, she established her own independent private practice in Sylvania, Ohio in 1991. Throughout her career in direct patient care, Dr. Alexander was involved in organized optometry, serving on various committees in local, state, and national optometric associations. Early in her career she was recognized as both the Ohio (’92) and national (’97) Young Optometrist of the Year. Her contributions included the active, successful pursuit of therapeutic legislation in the Ohio and spearheading quality assurance initiatives in the profession at both state and national levels, including chairing the American Optometric Association Commission on Quality Assessment and Improvement (’98-99). She was elected to the Ohio Optometric Association (OOA) Board of Trustees in 1994 and was the first woman to serve as President of the OOA in 1999-2000. During her presidential term, she chaired the Strategic Planning Committee to change the basic operations of the organization. She was named Ohio’s OD of the Year in 2006.


In 2008, Dr. Alexander’s career focus changed from direct patient care to prioritizing eye health within the eye care industry. Her current position as Head of North America Professional Relations for Johnson & Johnson Vision allows her to strengthen the company’s relationship with the optometric community in the U.S. and to partner with national optometric associations and organizations to advance eye health and patient care. She has received several accolades as an industry professional. In 2018, she received the Dr. Rodger Kame Award for Outstanding Service to the AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section, and she twice has been named one of Vision Monday’s Most Influential Women. 


“Carol is the best of Ohio State Optometry’s best,” said Dean Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD. “She is passionate about optometry and can articulate the profession’s profound impact on the public better than anyone I know.”


“I am humbled to have been selected for this honor in the Year 2020,” said Dr. Alexander. “When I hear the Buckeye Nation chant of O-H I may reply I-O, but I in my heart and mind I mean I OWE a great debt of gratitude to the Ohio State University and the College of Optometry for the foundation that has led to an amazing career!”


“The Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Award allows us to recognize an individual who goes above and beyond the boundaries of optometry,” said Stephanie Baxter (OD’08), president of the Ohio State Optometry Alumni Society. “Dr. Carol Alexander has made profound impacts for the profession of optometry in both her personal and professional lives. She is a true leader who encompasses the meaning of such a respectable award.”


This prestigious honor traditionally is bestowed upon the winner during the College of Optometry’s convocation ceremony after a rigorous selection process by the Optometry Alumni Society Board. This year, due to COVID-19, the celebration has been postponed. Dr. Alexander will be honored with the Class of 2020 when it is safe to celebrate as a group.