Optometry's Meeting® 2018 kicks off in Denver, Colorado.

2018 Optometry’s Meeting® opens with warm welcome, award winners and professional pride

Keynote speaker Aron Ralston, an experienced climber and avid outdoorsman, captivates attendees during the Opening General Session of the 2018 Optometry's Meeting®.

Organizers of the 2018 Optometry's Meeting® went the extra mile to welcome attendees to the Mile-High City on Wednesday, June 20.

Christopher J. Quinn, O.D., outgoing AOA president, welcomed colleagues during the Opening General Session of the 121st Annual AOA Congress & 48th Annual American Optometric Student Association Conference. Dr. Quinn talked about the many opportunities, from top-notch continuing education (CE) to a professional-shaping AOA business agenda to invaluable networking.

Take advantage of all there is to offer, he added.

"More than anything, however, standing here this evening fills me with a strong sense of pride in being a doctor of optometry," Dr. Quinn said. "I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve our great profession as AOA president over the past year. It's been my privilege and a great honor to have been entrusted to lead the American Optometric Association.

"Providing essential health care to our patients and maximizing what is universally recognized as the most precious sense-sight-truly is a privilege," he added. "It's also a tremendous responsibility and that responsibility to our patients is paramount. Your AOA is working tirelessly to ensure that we can do that, every day. We face challenges on multiple fronts, but dedicated leadership, volunteers and staff work hard to protect our ability to practice, and to protect our patients from sub-standard care."

Optometry's Meeting continues today with another full schedule of CE, the call to order of the House of Delegates and grand opening of the Exhibit Hall-including the ePoster sessions-sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision.

Honoring the best and the brightest


After a day of CE, the evening was dedicated to recognizing those who give so much to the profession.

"This evening is about recognizing and celebrating your fellow optometrists who have given so much of their time and talent to advocate for our profession and serve the public," Dr. Quinn said. "The individuals we honor this evening are an inspiration to all of us to give back to our profession and to our communities, because that's exactly what they've done."

Award recipients were:

Optometrist of the Year:
David Redman, O.D., of California, for outstanding service on behalf of the profession and the visual welfare of the public.

Young Optometrist of the Year
: Matthew Jones, O.D., of Arkansas, who demonstrated remarkable leadership when serving the profession, patients and community.

Paraoptometric of the Year
: Carol Lovell, CPOT, CPOC, of Wyoming, for her significant contribution to paraoptometry.

Optometry Educator of the Year:
Mark Swanson, O.D., of Alabama, for outstanding service on behalf of the profession, optometric education and the visual welfare of the public.

Distinguished Service:
Joseph Mallinger, O.D., of California, for his unusually significant contributions to the profession of optometry

Featured speaker


Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision, the opening session also featured keynote speaker Aron Ralston, who captured international headlines in 2003 after a canyoneering accident left him trapped between two boulders in a remote location for more than five days.

Attendees walked away with a true appreciation for the power of the human spirit and the value of relationships to overcome life's challenges, no matter how large or daunting one's "boulder" may be.

"Everyone has boulders in their lives," Ralston said. "Think about how your boulders could be a blessing.

"It is only through adversity that we find out what we're truly capable of."

Connect with Optometry's Meeting daily

Couldn't make it to Denver? Catch up with all the profession's news that came out of Optometry's Meeting. Visit aoa.org/news for a daily news roundup, and follow all the excitement at #OM2018 and AOA's dedicated social media page. 

June 21, 2018

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