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In His Own Words: Philip Sutherland, OD ‘86

The following is part of an ongoing series of interviews with NECO alumni presented by the Office of Alumni Relations. This month’s installation features Philip Sutherland, OD ‘86.

Optometry is evolving with technology and scope of practice. One pushes the other. Demographics will fuel the changes.

Philip Sutherland, OD '86

Where are you currently living and practicing? 
Dr. Sutherland: My wife Ann and I reside in Andover, MA and enjoy a home with a revolving door which allows our three grown children to come and go.  Now, they mostly “go.”

I have been in practice with Nashua Eye Associates, Nashua, NH, since 1988.  I specialize in pediatric eye care, and ironically, I also treat many of my Massachusetts neighbors for glaucoma.  Additionally, I see patients at the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, serve as a NBEO Examiner, and teach at MCPHS as a clinical instructor.

Why were you drawn to a career in optometry?
Dr. Sutherland: When I was in 6th grade, my great uncle (Louis Van Otis) let me look into my father’s eyes with his ophthalmoscope. It felt like walking into Fenway Park… AMAZING.  This was followed up with my first pair of myopic eyeglasses.  We have all heard the story about trees having leaves…

Can you share some memorable moments and your most valued experiences as a NECO student?  
Dr. Sutherland: One of my biggest regrets is NOT listening on “Career Day” about not having windows in our profession.  I've learned over time that everything about Optometry is amazing.

Why is staying involved with NECO important to you?
Dr. Sutherland:  Naturally, we are a good looking, helpful and a giving brotherhood! In 2001, I was asked to serve as Alumni Association Board President. With a fun and dedicated alumni group, we accomplished a lot for the greater good.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Dr. Sutherland: I am presently serving as Conservation Commissioner in Andover, MA.  I am also an active member of NECO’s Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Do you have any words of wisdom to share with future and recent NECO graduates?
Dr. Sutherland: I have a few things to share:

  1. 1. Always remember, it is NOT a job to show up for each morning, but a career to prepare for the night before.
  2. 2. Admit what you don't know, treat all patients like family, learn from your referrals, and you will sleep much better.
  3. 3. Stay involved with the profession because too much is done by too few.

In Their Own Words, is a series of interviews with NECO alumni presented by the Office of Alumni Relations. If you are interested in being featured, please contact Margery Warren at