ROCKVILLE, Md.—The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is updating it national awareness campaign, Optometry Gives Me Life (OGML), by adding two new doctors of optometry to the program, refreshing its related website and extensive social media and video resources, and sharing the successful metrics of the initiative, which launched in March 2019. The goal of the OGML campaign is to increase the number of highly qualified applicants to optometry schools and colleges from a wider variety of demographic backgrounds, specifically Black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino students, so that doctors of optometry are better prepared to serve all communities. illustrating more about what optometrists can do and who they can be.

Dr. Linda Pham and Dr. Vishal Patel are the two new doctors selected to be featured along with the original doctors—Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Dr. Muriel Martinez and Dr. Miki Lyn Zilnicki. Dr. Pham is an OD at NECO Center for Eye Care in Boston. Dr. Pham’s parents are Vietnamese war refugees, which has influenced Dr. Pham’s values, work ethic and determination. She is a black belt in Taekwondo and also enjoys traveling, kayaking and other sports.
“I feel honored to be a part of the Optometry Gives Me Life campaign,” said Dr. Pham. “My profession allows me to combine the things that are most important to me—travel, service to others, connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds, and having a good life balance where I can continue to grow as an individual and also spend time with the people that I love. Optometry is a fascinating profession with many different specialty branches, from ocular disease to low vision or traumatic brain injury rehabilitation to specialty contact lenses and pediatrics, to name a few. I highly recommend optometry as a career option for those who are interested in healthcare or are majoring in STEM!,” Dr. Pham continued.
Dr. Patel is an OD at Milan Eye Center in Atlanta. Dr. Patel became an optometrist because he wanted to help people who can’t help themselves. He enjoys spending time with his loved ones and also playing any sport involving a ball, mostly soccer and basketball. 
“I'm so thrilled to join the Optometry Gives Me Life campaign,” said Dr. Patel. “A career in optometry should be a strong consideration for anyone who is interested in having great work- life balance while giving back to the community. Whether you are a STEM major in health care or not, optometry may be the profession for you.”
More details are shared on Other campaign outreach occurs through specialized/targeted paid and social media outreach, videos, brochures and posters that target college-aged students with an interest in a STEM or health profession. In December, TikTok was added as a social platform and parents will be a secondary target.
ASCO's announcement also noted several important Optometry Gives Me Life metrics for the campaign (March 2019-June 2021), which include these results: 
  • Total campaign metrics:
    • 103,768,817 total ads have been displayed.
    • 331,576 visits to the website.
    • 604,040 social engagements have been made with social ads such as likes, reactions, shares, comments or followers.
    • 79.19% video completion rate.
    • 3,123 applicant leads (leads are sent to the schools and colleges to continue the outreach and recruitment process.
  • 2019-2020 OptomCAS Application Cycle   
    • 3.7% increase in size of applicant pool.
    • 10% in increase in year one of campaign of Black/African-American and Latino/Hispanic applicants (increased from 384 to 424 applicants).
    • 83% of applicants had a 3.0 GPA or higher.
  • 2020-2021 OptomCAS Application Cycle
    • 4.7% increase in size of applicant pool.
    • 18% increase in year two of the campaign of Black/African-American and Latino/Hispanic applicants (increased from 424 to 499 applicants).
    • 81% of applicants had a 3.0 GPA or higher.
For more information about the OGML campaign, please contact Paige Pence, Director of Student and Residency Affairs at
ASCO stated that the campaign would not be possible without the contributions from all the schools and colleges of optometry, in addition to special OGML sponsors who include Johnson  & Johnson Vision, Alcon, Allergan, CooperVision, EssilorLuxottica, VSP Global, Hoya Vision Care, National Vision, California Optometric Association and Walmart.
Founded in 1941, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) advances optometric education and research to enhance the health and well-being of the public.  Its membership encompasses the schools and colleges of optometry in the United States. A number of optometry schools outside the United States are affiliate and associate members.