ST. LOUIS— Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief (OFDR), a program of Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation, is providing urgent and immediate relief to doctors of optometry impacted by severe weather and other natural disasters. With critical support from industry partners, including renewed commitments from EssilorLuxottica and CooperVision in 2022, OFDR is often the first place optometry turns on the road to recovery.
“As a close-knit profession, being able to provide such critical support demonstrates the power of AOA, industry partners and the entire optometric community working together to support each other and weather unimaginable challenges,” says AOA President Robert C. Layman, O.D. “We are thankful for the generous donations from individuals and industry alike that are critical to help Optometry Cares ensure OFDR is always poised and ready to help doctors get back to doing what they do best.”
Even after committing generous aid to OFDR in the wake of natural disasters earlier in the year, EssilorLuxottica and CooperVision recommitted their support of another $100,000 and $20,000, respectively, after seeing the immediate toll of this past December’s 193 confirmed tornadoes—more than doubling the previous record of 99 in 2002.
2021 was a record year for natural disasters, including the deadly Hurricane Ida that upended the lives of thousands, forcing residents to flee to safer havens while others elected to stay put amid widespread, prolonged power outages. Throughout recovery efforts, OFDR remained a valuable resource for helping expedite doctors’ ability to return to practice and provide critical care to their communities’ most vulnerable populations. In all, OFDR provided nearly $100,000 in support to doctors whose practices and homes were damaged by Ida, enabling them to cover their most urgent needs during recovery.
Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief has changed the lives of many optometrists by providing immediate financial relief for critical and urgent needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. The monetary support is available to doctors of optometry affected by natural disasters with an aim toward helping cover necessary expenses and expediting doctors’ ability to return to practice and resume care to their communities.
“Our industry support at times of disaster is unmatched and it is refreshing to have industry partners reach out even before being asked,” says Peter Kehoe, O.D., past president of Optometry Cares—The AOA Foundation in response to the EssilorLuxottica and CooperVision donations. “Thank you to all of our industry supporters who take our call and step up to help our profession at this significant time of need.”
To learn more about the fund and see how you can get involved, visit aoafoundation.org/OFDR/.
About The American Optometric Association (AOA)
The American Optometric Association (AOA) is the leading authority on and advocate for quality eye health care, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and optometric professionals. As the sole primary eye care provider in many communities across America, doctors of optometry are often a patient's first entry point into the health care system, and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat, and manage disorders, diseases, and injuries that affect the eye and visual system. Through a nationwide public health initiative, AOA's Eye Deserve More campaign is fostering awareness of the importance of eye health and vision care and the overall health benefits of in-person, comprehensive eye examinations with AOA doctors of optometry for all Americans.
About Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation
Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization working to expand eye care awareness, education and research and access to eye health and vision care within the United States in order to enhance human performance and qualify of life. To learn more, please visit aoafoundation.org/.