AOA President Christopher J. Quinn, O.D., on the opportunities and challenges that AOA members overcame in 2017, and how that positions the profession advantageously for tomorrow.

Advancing optometry’s priorities, now and into the future

Excerpted from page 39 of the January/February 2018 edition of AOA Focus.

If actions speak volumes about character, then this past year further accentuates the AOA as optometry's determined champion.

It's a trait reflective of the careful attentiveness and acumen that come from accomplishing our priorities together. Throughout 2017, we've worked jointly to move optometry forward through our continued patient and professional advocacy while facing those unyielding threats to our practice and doctor-patient relationships head on.

We saw those challenges manifest themselves in the repeated attempts to circumvent the necessary, quality care afforded by an in-person, comprehensive eye examination. Some of today's so-called "telehealth" advances aren't designed with patient care and safety in mind. The AOA successfully fought back these efforts to unnecessarily expand unproven app-based technologies that seek to sever a refraction from an eye examination.

We also continued to inform state and federal officials about the importance of compliance with essential contact lens safeguards. And this year, the AOA remains steadfast in its advocacy against a detrimental U.S. Federal Trade Commission proposal to require contact lens patients to sign a prescription acknowledgement form.

In 2017, our participation in the Think About Your Eyes campaign grew more than ever, alongside other public awareness opportunities to reinforce the value of optometric care. We're building upon the 2016 National Academies' "Making Eye Health a Population Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow" report that underscored an eye health vacancy in America that optometry is willing and able to fill. Furthermore, our newest clinical practice guideline, Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination, supports the recommendations found within that landmark report and demonstrates optometry's primary care role.

This past year, AOA doubled-down on its commitment to membership by unveiling a new membership initiative, while at the same time, launching a wholly successful and energetic AOA+ student and new doctor experience in Washington, D.C. It's truly been a year of excitement and accomplishment for optometry.

This year, we also have joined our state affiliates in new efforts to expand scope of practice to better reflect the education and training of doctors of optometry in the U.S. Antiquated laws that preserve a medical monopoly on care must be revised to allow doctors to practice to their full scope of training, improving patients' access to the critical care they need.

For a look back on the opportunities and challenges that AOA members successfully overcame together in 2017, check out the January/February 2018 edition of AOA Focus.

February 16, 2018

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