At Optos, we believe equality should be encouraged each and every day.

As we continue to celebrate International Women’s Day at Optos, we’re shining a spotlight on women in business who are making a difference and paving the way for future female leaders within the health industry.

At Optos, we believe equality should be encouraged each and every day. Following on from March 8, we caught up with two of our successful female customers, Dr Shanel Sharma of Eye & Laser Surgeons in New South Wales, Australia and Sally Doyle at Fitzroy North Eye Care in Victoria Australia, who continue to empower others both within and outside their workplace.


Dr Shanel Sharma, Eye & Laser Surgeons
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Dr Shanel Sharma, Eye & Laser Surgeons
BSc (Med), MBBS, FRANZCO

Dr Sharma undertook Medicine at The University of New South Wales Australia and completed her Ophthalmology speciality training at Prince of Wales Hospital and Sydney Children’s Hospital. She then held the prestigious Professorial Senior Registrar position at Sydney Eye Hospital in 2006. Shanel was awarded her Fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmology in 2007 FRANZCO. Dr Sharma undertook Postgraduate fellowships in Strabismus at the Western Eye Hospital in London as well as a Paediatric and Strabismus Fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, the largest specialist Eye hospital in Europe.

“For me, #EachforEqual recognises that for every woman the choices are different, but whichever path you take, as long as you are true to yourself is an equal path.”

Dr Shanel Sharma, Eye & Laser Surgeons, MD, BSc (Med), MBBS, FRANZCO

Why did you choose ophthalmology as a career?

I always wanted to be a surgeon. When I was a medical student, I saw an elderly lady who was dying with leukaemia. She was crying with joy after she had seen her grandson for the first time since she had her cataracts removed. She made the comment that this was the greatest gift she could have been given as it had given her quality of life and she was OK with dying now. It made me realise I wanted to do ophthalmology as I would get personal joy from giving people quality of life. I also realised after sustaining an eye injury as an intern how much I valued my sight and wanted to help others retain or regain theirs.

What has your experience been like working as a woman in ophthalmology? What challenges have you faced?

I have had a wonderful career so far in ophthalmology and am so grateful for it. Every day I have the joy of knowing I have helped someone regain or retain their sight. The amazement that patients have of the gift we are able to give them, and the joy we bring others gives me a sense of personal fulfilment every day.

The greatest challenges I have faced have been personal ones. For me the juggle between my career and balancing my commitment to my children has at times been rather challenging. However, with the amazing support of my family and friends, I have been able to achieve some level of success.

On one occasion, a colleague asked me to stay back and urgently see a patient she was referring. To enable me to do so, this colleague picked up my kids from school. It is this amazing support that women have for each other that lets us all succeed.

I am currently in the midst of a startup, Beamers with colleague Dr Alina Zeldovich. We have designed and produced protective sunglasses to protect the eyes of young children at the time of their life when they have the least natural protective mechanisms. This project came out of the World Society of Paediatric Ophthalmology meeting in 2015, has been a new and exciting challenge. Adding this and an MBA at UNSW AGSM to the mix of family life with a young family and working in private practices in Bondi Junction and Miranda has definitely been part of the challenge I face, and thrive on.

What advice would you give to new female graduates starting out in ophthalmology?

The best advice I would give young graduates starting in Ophthalmology is to reflect on what they really want in life. With this in mind pursue the opportunities that allow you to fulfil your goals. Don’t let other people tell you what is important in your life – as only you will know what will give you happiness.

What or who is your biggest influence and why?

My biggest influence in my life has been my parents. My parents are both doctors, and my mother has been a role model for me. I have never felt neglected in my life, despite my mother’s dedication to her work.

I realised that despite my mother at times not being present for every activity I undertook as a child, I turned out OK. Hence, it has given me the security knowing, that for me, motherhood is a juggle, but one where I can still be good at both. I also have had amazing support from my husband who has shared the parenting and our clinical practice equally with me. My family have supported me incredibly and always been a sounding board throughout my life and career.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, what does that mean to you?

For me, each for equal recognises that for every woman the choices are different, but whichever path you take, as long as you are true to yourself is an equal path.


Sally Doyle, Optometrist, Fitzroy North Eye Care
BSc(Optom) FACO, FACBO
Sally Doyle, Optometrist, Fitzroy North Eye Care
BSc(Optom) FACO, FACBO

Sally Doyle is an Optometrist at Fitzroy North Eye Care in Victoria Australia and completed her Optometry Degree at Melbourne University in 1990. Sally was one of the first optometrists in Victoria Australia to complete Therapeutics Training and has also done further study in Low Vision, Children’s Vision and Behavioural Optometry. Sally enjoys consulting in all areas of optometry and has served on the Optometrists Registration Board of Victoria for 9 years and on the Council of the Optometrists Association, Victorian Division for 5 years.

“#Eachforequal to me means we are all just as important as each other; we all have something to contribute, have something to learn and we have a way in which we can assist others to learn”.

Sally Doyle, OD, BSc(Optom) FACO, FACBO

Why did you choose optometry as a career?

I wanted to work with people and was interested in Science. Optometry has fitted this perfectly which is why I am still in the same profession nearly 30 years later. I love that I can keep learning and continue to provide a better service to my patients.

What has your experience been like working as a woman in optometry? What challenges have you faced?

My experience has been very positive and extremely rewarding. I have met many amazing individuals from whom I have learned, any continue to learn so much. I also learn so much from all the patients I see. They assist me in my journey of knowledge acquisition.

In all aspects of life we come across people who have different values and beliefs.  Being female we encounter some who perhaps do not believe in equality and this is something that I have learned to stand up to over the years and has made me much more aware of treating all individuals as equals on all levels. Juggling children, career and running my own practice has been challenging but extremely rewarding. My children have become more resilient and independent and hopefully I am a good role model to my own daughters. It is exciting to see that my children’s generation are much more aware of treating all people equally.

What advice would you give to new female graduates starting out in optometry?

Optometry is a great career and can easily be combined with raising a family and working part time. Watching my own children develop has taught me a lot about how vision develops. There is so much to continue learning and so many ways that we can improve how we treat our patients and the service we provide. I am currently enjoying my journey into neuro optometry and how we can help those with concussion and brain injury.
For any new graduate, I would recommend to continue learning!

What or who is your biggest influence and why?

My strong female friends form all aspects of my life are my great role models and influencers’.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, what does that mean to you?

#Eachforequal to me means we are all just as important as each other; we all have something to contribute, have something to learn and we have a way in which we can assist others to learn.

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