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The Big survey

ECPs See Parallels Between Themselves and Moses, Gandhi and Benjamin Franklin

2021 INVISION Big Survey asked eye pros to reveal a little about themselves.




ASKED WHICH HISTORICAL figures they most identify with and ECPs’ choices skewed towards great founders, the misunderstood and those who were under-appreciated in their time. And also those who wore glasses. The question was part of the “You, the ECP” section in our recent 2021 INVISION Big Survey in which we asked a clutch of questions designed to allow vision pros to reveal a little about their personalities. The answers to this particular question mostly fell in six broad groups — Dead presidents, religious figures, inventors & scientists, those who fought against injustice or for freedom, and the modern. Following are those groups and some of the ECPs’ explanations as to why they felt an affinity for the historical figure they chose:


  • American presidents topped the list, led by the founding fathers, with Benjamin Franklin the most commonly cited, because many ECPs apparently related to his interest in eyewear or as one respondent put it, “Because he dispensed multi-focals daily.”
  • Ben was followed by Abraham Lincoln (“His idea of equality for all”), George Washington, John Adams (“Because I feel underappreciated”), Teddy Roosevelt, FDR (“He taught us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”), JFK (“His stunning good looks!”) and Ronald Reagan (“He had a heart for people and this country.”)


The second most common group was made up of religious leaders, in particular those who saw the error of their ways or suffered for what they believed in.

  • Jesus — “I strive to be more like Him.”
  • St. Paul — “He changed his ways for the good.”
  • Francis of Assisi, BEFORE he became a “saint”. — “I suffer his dismay, his discouragement, and his degradation; but I have not been graced with his strength and composure, to remake myself.”
  • Joshua. — “He was persistent.”
  • Moses. — “It took him 40 years to find the only place in the Middle East that didn’t have oil. Took about that many years to learn how to make a fine living as an ECP.”
  • “Moses breaking the 10 commandments because the people were parting and didn’t appreciate what he brought down from the mountain.”


  • At the top of this group were the usual heavyweights, led by Albert Einstein who one respondent credited with being “The first man to invent light” and Madame Curie (“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”) as well as Edison and the Wright Brothers (“It’s pure worship”).


  • ECPs obviously see parallels, with a not insignificant number naming figures such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Boudicca (“Freedom is important to me, too.”)
  • Among the others: Mahatma Gandhi — “Fought against the British and we are fighting against insurance companies.”
  • Madame CJ Walker — “A visionary African American entrepreneur. I am an African American woman trying to excel in an industry that does not always welcome me.”


This group included those who sought to expand healthcare, such as Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, as well as more general trailblazers in their fields such as

  • Josephine Baker, Adam Smith, Henry Ford, and Annie Oakley.

Among the others:

  • Anne Sullivan – “I want to help my low vision and multi-impaired patients function at their highest level.”


  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg was named by a handful of ECPs, who expressed admiration for her commitment to her principles. “RBG – she was an amazing fighter for what she believed in and still was a great mom to her kids.” Others included
  • John Lennon (“Sensitive, caring, and didn’t care what others thought”, David Bowie (“Because he was very unique”), Princess Diana (“Always trying to show compassion”) and for a contrarian choice, Rhodesia’s Ian Smith (“He took on the world.”)

The 2021 Big Survey was carried out between September and October, attracting nearly 400 anonymous responses from owners and managers of independent vision businesses across the United States. The full results were published in the November issue of INVISION and are available online.


Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at


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