AOA honors FDA optometrist for sight-saving efforts

(From left: Michael Duenas, O.D., AOA chief public health officer; Beth Fritsch, RPh, deputy director, FDA Office of Health and Constituent Affairs; Matt Willette, AOA staff; Helene Clayton-Jeter, O.D., health programs coordinator, FDA Office of Health and Constituent Affairs; Heidi Marchand, PharmD, associate commissioner, FDA Office of External Affairs, Office of Health and Constituent Affairs; and Jon Hymes, AOA Washington office director.)

Thanks to AOA member and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) optometrist Helene Clayton-Jeter, O.D., more Americans know the potential dangers of decorative contact lenses. To recognize her leadership on this issue and others, the AOA honored Dr. Clayton-Jeter with the prestigious AOA Leadership in Public Health Award.

The AOA Leadership in Public Health Award is our highest public health service award.

The AOA's Washington office Director Jon Hymes and Chief Public Health Officer Michael Dueñas, O.D., presented the award on behalf of the nearly 39,000 AOA members at an official ceremony held Nov. 18 at FDA headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.

"The AOA Leadership in Public Health Award is our highest public health service award and is reserved for one national leader who is successfully working to advance innovative and effective solutions to help safeguard the eye and vision health of the American people," said Dr. Dueñas.

The AOA has long warned of the dangers of illegal contact lenses. Dr. Clayton-Jeter's leadership on a new Decorative Contact Lens Campaign is helping build critical partnerships and will extend that message.

The campaign is a collaborative effort between the AOA, FDA and the Entertainment Industry Council (EIC). It aims to better inform the general public, especially younger Americans, about the dangers of using decorative contact lenses without the supervision of an eye doctor and without a prescription.

The campaign, to be released in spring 2014, features an edgy, Hollywood-sourced PSA, targeted for online video-streaming services.

It will be produced and distributed in part because of additional support from the TearLab Corporation.

"Dr. Clayton-Jeter's personal commitment and dedicated leadership on the Decorative Contact Lens Campaign—as well as her important contributions to a host of other important projects—clearly illustrates her superior abilities to bring together patients, patient advocates, health professionals and health professional organizations," Dr. Duenas said.

November 22, 2013

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