AOA Statement Regarding White House Declaration of Opioid Crisis as a Public Health Emergency

October 26, 2017

Media contact:
Deirdre Middleton, 703.837.1437

The American Optometric Association (AOA) today informed the White House that the more than 44,000 doctors of optometry serving thousands of communities across the country are ready, willing and able to help address the public health emergency declared today by the President. The AOA will cooperate with and assist Federal agencies in the mobilization to fight the epidemic of opioid abuse plaguing our nation, and support the safe expansion of access to essential health care services that is needed. 

This is an important moment for every doctor in America, and our profession is up to the challenge of doing more to make our patients, our communities and our country safer and healthier. Doctors of optometry are physicians on the frontlines of patient care, delivering the highest quality eye health and vision care and helping to safeguard overall patient health through the early diagnosis of systemic diseases and life-threatening conditions.  

The AOA will immediately begin working to help Federal officials shape and implement the actions the President outlined today, and we will keep our member doctors informed. In addition, Christopher J. Quinn, O.D., AOA president, directed the AOA Health Policy Institute to immediately develop clinical recommendations for all eye doctors to be able to recognize, identify, intervene and refer individuals that are potentially at risk for opioid abuse or excessive use.

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association, founded in 1898, is the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation's health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry (O.D.), optometric professionals and optometry students. Doctors of optometry take a leading role in patient care with respect to eye and vision care, as well as general health and well-being. As primary health care providers, doctors of optometry have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage ocular disorders, diseases and injuries and systemic diseases that manifest in the eye. Doctors of optometry provide more than two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For more information on eye health and vision topics, and to find a doctor of optometry near you, visit