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Constance Okeke

The Power List 2021 – Power List

Lead Glaucoma Specialist & Cataract Surgeon, CVP, Virginia Eye Consultants, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Why is it important that we celebrate women in ophthalmology with this list?

Advances for women in ophthalmology have come a long way. Though there have been many struggles, there have also been many triumphs that have paved the way for other women to enter. A significant motivator for women to advance themselves is to see others doing it before them as role models. Celebrating women in ophthalmology with the 2021 Power List allows those women on the list to be seen so that their efforts can be celebrated, as well as allow their stories to inspire the future generations. 

What can be done to make the field more diverse?

We need to realize that making the field more diverse will only come with the intention to do so. Intentional diversity calls for diversity within decision makers, like residency program directors and application interviewers who influence the field at its entry point. Financial support and encouragement of programs like the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring (MOM) program, which is a partnership between the AAO and Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), and the National Medical Association (NMA) Rabb-Venable Research Program to empower the diversity to even apply and to encourage them to complete the application process. It calls for purposeful selection of diversity on the podium in academia, leadership positions in ophthalmology organizations, as well as on advisory boards in industry. 

What is your proudest professional achievement?

By far my proudest professional achievement is the creation of my iGlaucoma YouTube channel. It was developed at a time when I felt that I was not able to contribute as much to the field like I had before. As a young mother I prioritized my attention on family, which meant not being able to travel to academic meetings and declining opportunities to speak. I wanted to stay relevant and share the knowledge that I was finding fascinating in the area of MIGS. I turned to learning video creation and the YouTube channel, and thus the iGlaucoma brainchild was born. The channel now has over 80,000 minutes of watch time and has allowed me to creatively marry several of my passions: spreading awareness about glaucoma, educating globally on innovations in glaucoma both in surgical and medical treatments, sharing academic talks from the podium of major meetings, collaborating with colleagues and industry, and mentoring the future generation through educational video projects. And what makes the channel so great is that there’s so much room for more creativity, learning, and impacting the area of glaucoma in a positive way, which I truly feel is my calling to do. 

Outside of work, what makes you happy?

Firstly, I will say that I feel blessed in that what I do for work in my ophthalmology career is so enjoyable that it doesn’t feel like work. But when I am not doing work, spending time with my husband and three children makes me happy. We love movie nights, date nights, live comedy, bike riding, and family trips to see other family or friends. I enjoy cooking, writing, learning new things, creating, and thinking. Also, counting my blessings and being able to bask in gratitude for the life I have been given certainly keeps me happy. 

Part of the Power List 2021

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One hundred reasons to celebrate women in ophthalmology

Go to The Power List 2021

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