Optometrist since 2011 (Australia)
Currently resides in Vancouver, BC.
Leads the clinical strategy for Specsavers in Canada

Naomi subscribes to the philosophy that quality eye care should be simple, accessible, and convenient. She has been involved in shaping the clinical roadmap for Specsavers, a major part of which was building the largest known dataset of optometric patient outcomes to measure impact on early detection of eye disease in Australia and New Zealand.

Naomi Barber

Naomi Barber

Director of Optometry, Specsavers Canada.

Why did you choose your field?
My optometrist changed my life. I developed an accommodative esotropia at age 2 and was scheduled for resection surgery (in the 80’s!).

My mother took me for a second opinion to Dr. Ed Howell, a children’s specialist. He took time and care to ensure I was patched and trained, and by age 4 my eyes were straight with correction.

I credit him with my development and regaining my confidence as a child, even if I had to wear hexagonal glasses and a patch! I spent a lot of time in his chair, and he even attended my graduation from Optometry School. It’s always been at the heart of why I entered this profession.

What is currently the most exciting thing in your field to help patients?
In our field, we are now enabled to deliver preventative care through advancement in research and technology. Whether we’re talking about myopia management or detection of asymptomatic disease, optometrists are practicing in an era where we have the tools to really stretch our expertise and help numerous patients. It’s now up to us to explore how we raise patient eye health awareness to really maximize the impact!

What is your definition of success or what habits make you a successful person?
There is something that resonates with me and I’ve held close to me in life so far: it’s to do what you can, with what you have, to the best of your ability, and try to do it every day.

Even the biggest moments in life are really an accumulation hard work, effort, disappointments, and moments of resilience. It’s the integrity with which you strive that really gives the greatest satisfaction and fulfilment, no matter the outcome.

Last indulgence?
A $12.00 bunch of carrots from an organic grocer in Vancouver’s Yaletown… I love vegetables but in hindsight I’d classify that as an overindulgence.

Tell me something few people know about you?
I’m first generation Australian (and very proud). My mother is Indian but born in Malaysia and my father is English.

I ate pies and rice for dinner often as a child. I’ve been very fortunate to grow up surrounded by people who were curious, embraced my differences and opened my eyes to their perspectives.

This mentality of humanity, openness and embracing diversity is something I carry with me, and something I’d like to champion more and more as I live my life.

What is one thing you own that you should probably throw away but never will?
I have a lucky scrunchie that has been with me since my first year of high school. It was around my wrist in every exam I took during high school and has been with me through lots of major milestones in my career.

It’s purple with sequins (hideously kitsch) and in my handbag pocket right now.

I’m not at all superstitious but I do make a point of ensuring I keep it close!