The American Optometric Association (AOA), 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. Find a doctor of optometry near you for more information on eye health and vision topics.
Vision and mission
Vision: The American Optometric Association is the acknowledged leader and recognized authority for eye and vision care in the world.
Mission: Advocate for the profession and serve doctors of optometry in meeting the eye care needs of the public.
The AOA has developed AOA-related entities to provide the best resources to meet the needs of doctors of optometry. These entities include:
Click on the links to learn more about each of the entities and partnerships and how they support our members.
Jon Hymes, an experienced association executive and health care policy and political strategist, was appointed executive director of the AOA on July 29, 2014.
Over a 25-year career in Washington, D.C., Hymes has held senior-level policy and management positions on Capitol Hill, in Congressional campaigns and in the private sector. For nine years, he managed the AOA's Washington, D.C., office, the base of operations for its widely recognized federal, state and third-party advocacy teams.
Hymes joined the AOA in 2005 as Washington office director, and was the organization's top lobbyist and advocacy strategist through a period of significant activity in health care policy and notable legislative and regulatory wins for optometry. The AOA has been a strong force for patient access to care and patient safety legislation, including key provisions of the 2010 health care overhaul law. In 2012, the AOA was recognized in a survey of Washington, D.C., insiders for having one of the most effective and respected advocacy operations in the nation's capital. At the 2013 AOA House of Delegates meeting, Jon accepted an award on behalf of his staff colleagues presented by the Southern Caucus that cited the AOA's "tremendous" advocacy achievements.
Hymes spent a decade on Capitol Hill as a Congressional chief of staff and legislative and strategic communications aide. For five years, he advised Rep. Norman Lent of New York, then the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the U.S. House panel with wide-ranging jurisdiction over health care policy. Hymes was selected as a Senator John C. Stennis Congressional Staff Fellow, and chosen to be a leader of Congressional staff delegations on official visits to the Republic of China and the State of Israel.
A native of Lido Beach, New York, and a former Long Beach Patrol lifeguard, Hymes holds a degree in economics from Syracuse University, where he was a member of the Big East Conference champion swimming team. He resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, Kim, and three children, and is a volunteer for local youth sports programs. He maintains memberships in the New York Congressional Chiefs of Staff Alumni Group, the U.S. House Chiefs of Staff Alumni Association and the American Society of Association Executives.
As contemporary optometry evolves, opportunities will open up for doctors of optometry to expand surgical procedures in their practices. A series of courses on these office-based procedures will be offered at Optometry’s Meeting®.
A limited-time, members-only course offers an introduction to professional advocacy as optometry’s advocates gear up for Virtual AOA on Capitol Hill, May 23-25.