Get moving

November 6, 2019
Make 2020 the year the eye exam takes its rightful place in Americans’ health care.
Barbara L. Horn, O.D.

Not long ago, I moved. Belongings were packed up and unpacked. Utilities and mail addressed. Furnishings found a new home.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the move was watching the pieces fall into their rightful places. I've got that same sense of excitement, just heightened, regarding the AOA's 2020 initiative-#2020EyeExam. This supercharged, multichannel initiative has a simple but powerful message to America: Make 2020 the year you get an in-person, comprehensive eye examination with an AOA family doctor of optometry.

The pieces have come together for what will be an epic 2020 for optometry, as we engage in a meaningful conversation with the country about eye health and vision care. We're enlisting visionary employers across this country to pledge their support for raising employee awareness about the importance of a comprehensive eye exam. We will use the year to reach out to other health care professionals to identify collaboration opportunities that will benefit patients. We'll be all over the media and have identified through AOA research that caregivers, whether parents of children or grown children caring for their elderly parents—or those doing both—are a key audience and opportunity for optometry. Our "Start with Eye" media initiative urges these caretakers to take care of themselves, so they can take care of their loved ones. We will double our efforts to expand scope opportunities state by state under the Future Practice Initiative and redesign our website to include an enhanced user interface. We will continue our dialogue with members to gain insights into the care we provide and how we can do it better. Our national advertising campaign, Think About Your Eyes, has committed to joining us in 2020 and is poised to have yet another phenomenally successful year.

Everything is falling our way.

The AOA's 2018 American Eye-Q® Survey provided a snapshot of the public's frame of mind when it comes to their eye care. It is gratifying that the public puts so much faith in their AOA doctors of optometry. Seventy-five % of respondents say they trust us to safeguard their eye health as opposed to nonmember doctors of optometry.

We also asked the survey's respondents to rank their priorities on a weekend day. The good news is that taking their children to a doctor for a comprehensive eye exam came out on top. The opportunity? Getting groceries was a greater priority for respondents than getting their own annual comprehensive eye exam.

It's moving day for the AOA. Let's work together to move the needle and make 2020 the year that the eye exam takes its rightful place in Americans' health care.

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