by Satina Richardson

On November 7, 2020, Day Eye Care celebrated an epic milestone—100 years of providing eye and vision care. It was on this day in 1920 that Frances J. Day, Sr., OD, received his reciprocity license in Alabama allowing him to open the optometry practice.

Howard Day, OD, UABSO class of 1987, is Frances Day’s grandson. He shared that obtaining the license wasn’t easy. However, during the 1920s Birmingham was booming.

“Things were great until the depression came, and I have letters where he had to work out payments with equipment suppliers to stay afloat,” he said.

Next, World War II began, and Frances Day was diagnosed with hypertension. He passed away in 1945 at 50 years old. His two sons, however, were able to sustain the family business. F. J. Day, Jr., OD, had joined the practice after serving as an optometrist in World War II. Not long after in 1950, Jim H. Day, Sr., OD, joined as well.

Howard Day has worked at the practice since childhood and owns the practice today.

“As I like to say, I grew up working on the family farm,” he said. “I've done every job at the office: painter, plumber, optician, etc., so it was natural for me to always want to be an optometrist and follow in my father's footsteps. My father was very much a mentor and inspiration for both my brother, Jim H. Day, Jr., OD, and myself.”

While reflecting on how optometry has evolved since 1920, Howard Day said that the profession of optometry has changed significantly, but has remained the same when it comes to patient care. Optometrists still practice at the highest level their license allows, using the latest technology.

Day Eye Care has grown to include five optometrists and an MD. Howard Day’s wife, Sharon Day, OD, UABSO class of 1987, is one of the optometrists on staff. The two met as students at UABSO and have been married for 33 years. They remain involved with the school in a number of ways. For instance, the couple has endowed the Day Family Endowed Scholarship in Optometry and sponsored some of the new school renovations. Sharon Day is currently the Alumni Association’s president-elect.

“The many ways that Drs. Howard and Sharon Day support our students and our school are appreciated beyond measure,” said Dean Kelly Nichols. “It is clear the family is passionate about optometry. They live in the present while preparing for their future and the futures of others.”

Howard Day said the future is bright for optometry.

“Never before has there been such need for our services,” he said. “Visual requirements will continue to expand with computerization of just about all aspects of our lives. And the technology to help our patients will grow as well. For my fellow and future optometrists, my father would say, ‘Treat your patients like they're friends and family and they'll send you their friends and family.’ I know my grandfather would be proud of optometry today.”