As a teenager, Elizabeth Congdon had a clear vision about her future.
“I knew in high school that I wanted to be an optometrist,” Congdon says. “I know that’s really young to know … but when you go through it for so many years, you’re like, ‘I can totally do this. I can make a difference.’”
Congdon kept her career plan in sight. Her interest in optometry grew with every visit to the eye doctor. She wanted to “help other kids,” she says.
Today, she’s an optometrist with BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists.
“You can make a big difference in a child’s life,” Congdon says. “Especially if you catch some of these conditions that can only be fixed when they’re young … you’re fixing their sight for the rest of their life.”
Pediatric eye conditions include but are not limited to: Vision problems, strabismus (misaligned or crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), pediatric cataracts and pediatric glaucoma.
Congdon joined BayCare Clinic in 2016. She treats adult and pediatric patients in Green Bay.
She earned her undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Shortly after, she worked for an optometry practice. It’s where she first laid eyes on her future husband, Andrew.
“He also worked at the practice, but he was a year ahead of me in school. We started dating before I even got into optometry school. Then we actually got married my fourth year of optometry school.”
Congdon and her husband graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, Illinois.
She completed part of her externship at Loyola Medical Center, where she worked with Dr. Eileen Gable, an optometrist who treated pediatric patients. Gable would influence Congdon’s interest in pediatric optometry.
“She had such a big impact on me” Congdon says. “She mainly worked with pediatrics … kind of what I do now. It’s cool that I almost became the woman that I idolized.”
As a mom with two young children, Congdon understands “how nerve-wracking it can be for kids to come to the eye doctor.” That’s why she helps her patients feel comfortable when they see her for clinic visits.
“I’m not a scary person. I’m a person like everyone else. I don’t want them to be scared when they come to the eye doctor and I don’t want kids to be scared. I want it to be fun.”
When Congdon isn’t treating patients, she enjoys spending time outdoors with family, camping and riding on the family’s pontoon boat.