Optometry Alum Designs Frames for African-American Facial Features
placed here only to preload the colorbox scripts
Skip to Main Content

Optometry Alum Designs Frames for African-American Facial Features

When asked where she gets her sense of style, Nwamaka Ngoddy, OD ‘12, answers “from the school of life.”

“I like things to be fancy and fun,” she said.

anwuli eyeware pic1Her years in the Philadelphia area while attending graduate school at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University, she believes, helped her individualize that style. “The Philadelphia fashion market was a lot more varied than in the South where I grew up,” said Dr. Ngoddy, who is originally from Atlanta.

It’s that style awareness that has helped Dr. Ngoddy expand her professional horizons. After years of practicing in retail optometry, she opened Anwuli Eyewear in 2019, where she designs frames specifically with African-American facial features in mind.

After graduating from PCO/Salus and completing an Ocular Disease Residency, Dr. Ngoddy began her practice EyeServe in a retail setting. It was there that she would try on frames and find that she couldn’t find any that fit quite right.

“I have a large African-American demographic and the more I was in practice, the more I would hear patients with similar complaints, that many of the fashionable frames didn’t fit well,” said Dr. Ngoddy.

She consulted with opticians to see if there were any major “pain points” they noted when fitting. What Dr. Ngoddy identified was that quite a few African-American patients had issues with the temple length of the frames being too short; that the bridge sizes were ill-fitting; and that the lens sizes were too small, not wide enough to fit across the entire face. With that information, she decided it was time to develop and create frames with those three features in mind.

And, Anwuli Eyewear was born. Anwuli is Dr. Ngoddy’s middle name and it means “joy.”

She consulted closely with some manufacturers, eventually developed a prototype and injected her sense of style and fun into an eyewear line. Her debut collection is called the Royal Collection, and features eight different styles of frames in a number of different colors, which resulted in a 38-piece collection. It’s available directly to consumers on her website, www.anwulieyewear.com and in optical locations all over the U.S., which are listed online. There are a couple in New Jersey.

anwuli eyeware pic3​“I decided to figure out how to create frames that made a statement without speaking and that fit well,” said Dr. Ngoddy, who still maintains her retail practice. The feedback so far has been positive. The brand is not only stylish, but it fits properly, according to her customers.

Not only that, but the relationships she made while she was at PCO/Salus have helped Dr. Ngoddy advance her business.

“The network that I created from PCO has definitely been pivotal in me being able to get into opticals. I have a couple of classmates who have brought the collection into their practices and I’ve also had people refer me,” said Dr. Ngoddy, who was involved in the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA) chapter during her time at PCO/Salus. “So, I’m very grateful for the network I was able to create at PCO. A lot of the faculty and staff were very supportive in that environment.”

Moving forward, Dr. Ngoddy is working to develop her business to offer more inclusive styles and sizing.

“We’re also working on getting more optical partners because we believe fitting expertise really helps patients get styles they love,” she said. “We’ve also found that patients really like to try the glasses on.”