#2020EyeExam: AOA turning a moment into a movement
Welcome to 2020, the "Year of the Eye Exam" with AOA doctors of optometry. As we ring in this most propitious new year, the AOA is charging into 2020 with an ambitious, multi-pronged awareness campaign centered on the essentialness of routine eye care from doctors of optometry.
Through the collective power of AOA doctors, students and affiliate organizations, AOA is leveraging this landmark calendar year not only to mobilize the profession around 2020 as the year of the eye exam but also to encourage all Americans to schedule their in-person, comprehensive eye examination with an AOA family doctor of optometry.
With up to 16 million Americans struggling with undiagnosed or untreated vision impairments, it's more important than ever to increase public awareness about the essential role doctors of optometry play. That's where AOA's #2020EyeExam campaign is making a difference. This laser-focused, multi-channel initiative is engaging Americans, from patients and the greater public to elected officials and fellow providers, to ensure that eye and vision health are components of routine, primary health care.
"2020 is here and the AOA is ready," announced AOA President Barbara L. Horn, O.D., during her inaugural address at Optometry's Meeting® 2019 . "We have taken the time to ensure that we bring to life an initiative that we can use to not just mark the once-ever moment of 2020, but really create a movement into the future.
"We are spotlighting optometry's essential primary health care role and propelling the public into action with a singular, clear and ownable message: Make 2020 the year to get your in-person, comprehensive eye exam with an AOA family doctor of optometry. Hopefully, this isn't the first time you have seen this message and it certainly won't be the last."
Below are key components of the AOA's #2020EyeExam campaign:
Activating employers to drive people to get their #2020EyeExam
Employers are the gateway and key influencer when it comes to employees choosing their health care options, which is why the AOA has joined forces with visionary employers to expand understanding and support for eye health and in-person eye exams provided by AOA doctors of optometry.
In the months leading up 2020, the AOA kicked off communications to enlist strong groups and employers to join the pledge, including a Dec. 18 press release calling for employer participants. Currently reaching more than 300,000 employees, more than 30 employers, including Johnson & Johnson Vision, Dominos and ZocDoc, have pledged to remind their employees about their vision benefits and encourage them to receive an annual, comprehensive eye examination with their family doctor of optometry. Moreover, the optometric community is encouraged to reach out to employers to recruit new sign-ons throughout the year.
Educating professionals about the important care doctors of optometry deliver
As health care continues to move to a model of coordinated care, it's more important than ever that health care providers connect and understand the different types of care that each provides, as well as work together to enhance the care they deliver.
To build new, patient-focused collaboration across a range of other health professionals, the AOA produced outreach materials and resources to help foster physician-to-physician connections and highlight the important primary eye health care that doctors of optometry deliver. Ultimately, these efforts will help build new patient-referral relationships in communities that will benefit from robust, integrated care.
Launching new AOA.org
Critical to providing Americans with timely, actionable information about routine eye health and vision care is a discernable online presence, which is why the AOA's website is undergoing a significant transformation to enhance not only the public and patient but also member experience. This new-and-improved website will include multimedia content, easy-to-find tools and resources, patient education and a more intuitive search functionality.
Importantly, the AOA is creating a completely redesigned space to engage with doctors and patients through an enhanced, state-of-the-art "Find a Doctor" locator feature that augments the 2020 campaign.
Closing the gap between state laws and contemporary optometric practice
Launched in 2019, the AOA's Future Practice Initiative is a proven, winning partnership with state affiliates to eliminate outdated, unnecessary barriers to patient access and fully recognize the new, advanced procedures that reflect modern optometric education and training. Even after a string of legislative successes this past year, the Future Practice Initiative is poised to do even more with states throughout 2020.
Through its advocacy and communications operations in St. Louis, Missouri, and Washington, D.C., the AOA is providing a range of resources to boost state affiliate efforts and help produce legislative wins that will define eye health care delivery and support optometry's essential and expanding primary care role well into the future.
Driving public awareness of doctors of optometry
Throughout 2020, AOA is actively engaging with online and traditional media sources to remind Americans about the important primary eye care services that doctors of optometry deliver. As part of that media outreach, the AOA's partnership with Think About Your Eyes will continue to remind Americans to take action.
"2020 is not just an epic moment," Dr. Horn says. "It's a tipping point in the awareness of the care that we provide and the importance of a comprehensive eye exam."
In a virtual kick-off, the AOA launches Leadership Institute with 130 doctors of optometry from across the country. A project of the AOA Leadership Development Committee, the Institute is a yearlong program designed to grow and support the next generation of leaders in the profession.
At the 2021 Leaders Summit, AOA-member volunteers set priorities for the year and launched new initiatives to lead the profession forward.