Optometry’s Meeting Highlights Strength of the American Optometric Association and Announces New Advocacy Awareness Network

June 21, 2024
Attendees were briefed on the association’s membership growth, new advocacy partnerships, and children’s health initiatives

Nashville, Tennessee – June 20, 2024 – Optometry’s Meeting kicked off day two with a report on the strength of the association, citing over 300 new doctors joining AOA in the first six months of 2024. Executive Director Jon Hymes also shared that 75 percent of Americans indicate trust in an AOA-member doctor of optometry, a finding from a recent survey indicating the AOA’s brand is stronger than ever. 

“We are growing in size, clout and effectiveness and are well prepared to continue to do all that it takes to safeguard optometry’s essential and expanding role in health care and support the practice success of our doctors,” Hymes told attendees during House of Delegates.  

Legislative Wins and New Advocacy Partnerships  

During his House of Delegates report, Hymes also noted expanded work with the American Dental Association (ADA), including filing a U.S. Supreme Court brief seeking to block vision and dental plans from issuing the ERISA statute to avoid compliance at a state level.  

Additionally, Hymes shared AMVETS, a well-recognized Veterans Service Organization, joined the call for full recognition of optometric scope in the VA health system. 

Further building relationships with like-minded organizations, Hymes announced that the National Consumers League, the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy group, supports AOA’s efforts to crack down on plan abuses and federal legislation to ban “robocalls” in the contact lens marketplace. 

“We’ve made clear over the last year that we’ll do whatever it takes to always stand up for optometrists’ rights and fair treatment,” said Hymes.  

Citing the AOA’s concerted, tenacious vision plan advocacy, Hymes shared the success of the AOA’s Health and Vision Plan Action Report, which keeps a running tally of member-reported challenges and complaints with health and vision plans, as well as the steps AOA advocates are taking to resolve these issues on members’ behalf.  

Further speaking to the success of the AOA’s advocacy efforts in 2024, Hymes shared that 10 states defeated so-called ‘not-a-doctor' legislation, 12 states recognize optometry’s authority to provide laser procedures, five states enacting tough laws reigning back vision benefit managers (VBMs) and two congressional panels actively investigating VBM abuses. 

Building Momentum with Children’s Vision  

Following the call for the national pediatric vision and eye health mobilization at Optometry’s Meeting ® 2023, AOA Trustee Curtis A. Ono, O.D., provided the House of Delegates with an update on how the initiative harnessed children’s vision experts from across the country to drive action.  

With AOA’s support, the Early Detection of Vision Impairments in Children Act was introduced this May. The legislation would improve the vision and eye health of children across the U.S. by providing resources to states and communities to establish or improve systems of care for children’s vision.  

Additionally, The Myopia Collective, powered by AOA and CooperVision, is slated to set a new standard of care for children with myopia.

Dr. Ono acknowledged there is still much work to be done to ensure children have access to the care they need. He urged doctors of optometry to join InfantSEE®, an initiative of the AOA Foundation that provides no-cost, comprehensive eye assessments to infants between the ages of 6-12 months regardless of family income or access to insurance coverage. 

AOA Advocacy Awareness Network  

In today’s environment of dynamic media and multiple points of connection, it is critical to get important and timely information into the hands of doctors and the optometry community at large. Introduced this year at Optometry’s Meeting, the AOA Advocacy Awareness Network is a foundational collective of influential experts in optometry who collaborate to further the profession and break through the media noise to connect with doctors of optometry.  

Joining the network as its first member is Alan Glazier, O.D., pioneering social media influencer, founder of FluoreSCENE Media and ODs on Facebook. While live onsite at Optometry’s Meeting, Dr. Glazier discussed leadership, AOA priorities and the AOA Advocacy Awareness Network during a podcast on the EYETalks Stage.  

Spotlighting Paraoptometric Award Recipients  

Two events brought together paraoptometric attendees at Optometry's Meeting®. The Paraoptometric Awards Luncheon Celebration, supported by Alcon, is the annual celebration of AOA associate-member paraoptometrics, honored for their outstanding and significant contributions to the profession. 

This year’s Paraoptometric Award winners were recognized for their outstanding dedication to the profession. Following the celebration was the Paraoptometric Idea Exchange, where attendees networked and discussed practice challenges and opportunities and generated ideas on how to grow AOA associate membership. 


About Optometry’s Meeting® 

Optometry’s Meeting, the annual meeting of both the AOA and AOSA, aligns optometric and industry professionals for a four-day experience to advance optometry and engage the association’s official business. Optometry’s Meeting renowned educational program supports every member of the care team with progressive continuing education and professional development opportunities. Simultaneously delivering an impactful conference experience, Optometry’s Meeting promotes networking and connection through the expansive exhibit hall, as well as a dynamic program of special events.  

About the American Optometric Association 

The American Optometric Association (AOA) is the leading authority on and advocate for quality eye health care, representing more than 49,000 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.