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House honors Keefer’s work for InfantSEE®, profession

August 1, 2012

The Vision Care Institute President Phil Keefer, at left, is shown with InfantSEE® Committee Chair Glen Steele, O.D., at a reception for Keefer at Optometry’s Meeting®.

The AOA House of Delegates passed two resolutions at Optometry’s Meeting®  recognizing The Vision Care Institute™ President Phil Keefer’s contribution to the AOA and Optometry Cares®-the AOA Foundation InfantSEE® program.

Following a distinguished 23-year career with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care and more than 40 years in the eye care industry, Keefer announced his decision to retire, effective Sept. 1, 2012.

“Mr. Keefer was a stalwart supporter of optometry and the ophthalmic industry at various companies, including Allergan, CooperVision, Optical Radiation Corporation and Polymer Technology,” one resolution reads. “Mr. Keefer was instrumental in providing initial and ongoing funding from The Vision Care Institute™, a Johnson & Johnson company for InfantSEE®; and… Mr. Keefer guided the development of InfantSEE®, which has resulted in the free comprehensive vision assessments for countless thousands of babies ages 6 to 12 months.”

Keefer said he first heard about the idea for InfantSEE® from past AOA presidents Pat Cummings, O.D., and Vic Connors, O.D., more than a decade ago.

Without them even asking, I said how about Vistakon as a sponsor?” he recalled.

He thought it was a great idea for patients and also saw InfantSEE® as “a huge opportunity for optometry to be recognized by the general public as the first line of vision care.”

Keefer was influential in drumming up support for the program and helping it reach a critical mass of volunteers so it could have a solid foundation upon which to build.

“My hope is that the numbers of InfantSEE® volunteers will continue to grow, but even more so than that is for the AOA to take a very proactive stance to get the word out to the public,” said Keefer.

Keefer joined Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in 1989 as executive vice president of sales, marketing, professional affairs and strategic planning, where he oversaw the initial launch of the Acuvue® Brand and helped grow the product line to its current leadership position. In 1993, Keefer was appointed vice president, new business development, where he created and implemented global strategic plans that included the international expansion of the vision care franchise. He served as managing director/president of multiple regions, including Asia Pacific, the Americas, Latin America and Japan.

Keefer is currently president of The Vision Care Institute, where he conceived and implemented a professional education strategy that resulted in the creation of 15 Vision Care Institutes and nine satellite centers around the world. He has also served as an active member of the Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Global Management Board for his entire 23-year career.

In addition to his job responsibilities, Keefer chaired the Contact Lens Institute Board of Governors and also served on several boards, including the American Optometric Foundation, VisionWeb, Inc., the National Boards of The Vision Council of America and Prevent Blindness America, and the Florida Board of Prevent Blindness America.

In 2009, the American Academy of Optometry presented Keefer with the Honorary Fellowship Award for his distinguished contributions to the science and art of optometry.

Before joining Johnson & Johnson in 1989, Keefer held positions of increasing responsibility across multiple eye care companies, including Allergan, CooperVision, Optical Radiation Corporation and Polymer Technology Corporation, where he was instrumental in taking the company from start up to global distribution and worldwide success.

Keefer said he was humbled by the unexpected recognition by the AOA and views it as a lifetime achievement honor. “I’ve always believed you do the right thing and good things will happen.”

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