AOA 2016 General Election Report

Dear Colleague,

I'm writing to assure you that our AOA is well positioned to work with the new President and the new Congress to stand-up for our patients, our practices and our profession.

Speaker Paul Ryan with Dr Loomis and DeVleming

I want to assist thousands more doctors and students by the thousands in advocating for optometry in Washington, D.C., in 2017 as part of Optometry's Meeting and AOA+.

First, here are some post-election night highlights we can all be proud of:

AOA-PAC is on track to raise an all-time record $2 million dollars in the 2015-2016 election cycle, with a record number of Visionary Investors, to support the re-election of pro-optometry candidates. Although fewer than one in 10 O.D.s contribute to the AOA-PAC, those that answered the call this year gave with more enthusiasm and determination than ever before and put us over the top.

AOA-PAC and our Federal Keyperson program achieved a 90% election success rate nationally, supporting 354 U.S. Senate and House candidates, most who celebrated wins last night and will be serving in the new 115th Congress.

All of the lead sponsors of our two optometry-specific bills will be returning to Congress, including our colleague, the Honorable John Boozman, O.D., re-elected last night as the senior U.S. Senator from Arkansas.

AOA-backed legislation and regulatory efforts will continue to be based on a bi-partisan approach and will maintain a laser-like focus on strengthening the doctor-patient relationship at a time when it's under fierce attack by insurers, plans and tech profiteers, including: 

Dental and Optometric Care ("DOC") Access Act—U.S. House bill, also supported by the American Dental Association, to ban abusive policies of health and vision plans.

Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act—U.S. House and Senate bills to crackdown on unscrupulous online contact lens sellers who ignore patient safety and the prescription verification laws.

Federal Investigation of "Online Vision Testing" Claims—Based on an extensive AOA complaint and concerns raised by key members of Congress, federal investigators are looking into products falsely claiming to provide "eye exams."

With the stakes never higher in the fight over health care's future, we must recognize the need for each of us to do even more in the year ahead, if we are to safeguard the full recognition we've gained and build greater support for our priorities. We know that groups and interests with an anti-optometry agenda will be as active as ever and—as always—we will need to outwork them.

We can do this and here's how you can be a part of it:

Optometry's Meeting—our profession's national gathering—is set to be held in Washington, D.C., June 21-25, 2017. It's a perfect moment for us to be on Capitol Hill to educate and inform those just elected and remind those re-elected about our essential and expanding role in health care. This is our opportunity to put our profession in the spotlight in the nation's capital as never before and advocate in historic numbers for changes in thinking about us and how what we do is truly needed. 

To get started, to take on a leadership role or for more information, feel free to contact me at

- Doctors, I'll immediately connect you with our 2017 AOA Advocacy Team in Washington, D.C. and follow-up with the information you'll need to register and plan your visit.
- Students, I'll provide you with information about AOA+, a first-ever event designed for the profession's next generation of leaders. Plus, I'll let you know how you can apply for a travel grant.

I look forward to hearing from you, answering questions and talking with you more about what will be optometry's largest advocacy event ever. Together, for our patients, our practices, and our profession, we'll achieve great things in 2017 and beyond.


Andrea P. Thau, O.D.
President, American Optometric Association