Utah Lions Eye Bank
Dr. Amy Lin was born into a science-minded family. Her father was a physician and her mother a pharmacist, so they always encouraged Amy’s scientific interests and emphasized the importance of academics and doing well in school. Both parents were immigrants; wanting Amy to have every opportunity to succeed, they knew staying ahead of the curve with her studies was key.Amy considers her mother to be her first role model. She came to the United States from Taiwan to attend pharmacy school. Looking back, Amy has a great appreciation for her efforts and calls her a “trailblazer.”
Always interested in science, Amy’s high school friend-group included other girls with similar focus and work ethic. She remembers a high school physics contest at a local amusement park she entered with her girlfriends, and their all-female team won! Amy realizes she was lucky to go through school feeling fully supported in her goals; she never sensed that she couldn’t or shouldn’t do something because she was a woman, but knows that wasn’t the case for everyone.
Entering college at Northwestern, she knew medicine was a logical option for a career path. Amy explored other options, but kept coming back to medicine. She says, “I’m happy I decided to pursue medicine; being an ophthalmologist is the greatest job in the world.”
When it came to choosing a specialty, ophthalmology was always in the back of her mind. “Maybe it’s because I wore glasses?” she laughs.
Amy got into eye banking in the early years of her residency and practice, partially from mentors like Marian Macsai, who she considers “one of the earliest champions” of her career. She credits the EBAA Physician Leadership Program in 2015 for really getting her invested in eye banking. Once Amy arrived in Salt Lake City, Mark Mifflin encouraged her to take over his role as Medical Director at the Utah Lions Eye Bank.
Today, Amy recognizes that there are plenty of women who struggled in the past to give her such a clear path to her career goals. She says, “You should do what your heart desires—now it’s a lot easier to do that. There used to be so many more barriers, and it would have been a lot harder to do what I do now, 50 years ago.” Some of the individuals she most greatly admires are physicians who are also mothers. “There are a lot more men in leadership positions in ophthalmology, but that is slowly changing. Some of the greatest and most dynamic leaders in cornea and eye banking are women that have kids at home. I don’t know how they do it; they are the greatest role models.”
Amy is excited for what the future holds for eye banking as technology continues to change and innovate the field. She says that’s part of what draws her to eye banking; the fact that it is constantly evolving, and she encourages others to explore its possibilities. For young women, she advises them to keep their eyes open for any opportunity that comes along, saying, “Don’t close any doors. You never know what will come along, or what will interest you. Later in life, you can say no and be more picky, but in the beginning – keep your options open.”