AOA statement regarding White House declaration of opioid crisis a public health emergency

The 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 front lines 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 who are potentially at risk for opioid abuse or excessive use.