Sen. David Heitmeier, O.D., Optometrist of the Year Award

David Heitmeier acceps award

David Heitmeier, O.D., who serves as a Louisiana state senator, is the 2015 AOA Optometrist of the Year. Dr. Heitmeier graduated with honors from the University of Houston College of Optometry. He founded Heitmeier & Armani Medical and Surgical Eye Care Center and the Nautical Optical Laboratory in New Orleans.

Dr. Heitmeier became the first OD elected to serve in the Louisiana State Senate. Among his legislative accomplishments, he serves as chair of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee and has authored numerous pieces of legislation, including legislation allowing optometrists to prescribe pharmaceutical contact lenses. Dr. Heitmeier is also known as the driving force behind Louisiana's historic 2014 scope of practice bill that reinforced the power of the state board of optometry and allowed doctors of optometry to perform ophthalmic laser and lid surgeries and administer injections.

Ensuring optometry has a seat at the table in Louisiana health care, Dr. Heitmeier supports his fellow doctors of optometry and helped ODs get appointed for the first time ever to numerous boards, including the Louisiana Medical Advisory Board and the Louisiana Emergency Response Network Board.

Dedicated to promoting the importance of quality vision care, Dr. Heitmeier championed InfantSEE® Week in Louisiana, has served as a volunteer with the Special Olympics Opening Eyes Program, and appeared as a face and voice of optometry in more than 700 TV PSAs raising awareness of glaucoma, InfantSEE and the profession of optometry.

Dr. Heitmeier received the Optometry Association of Louisiana's Optometrist of the Year Award in 2009 and Statesman of the Year Award in 2012.