The AOA announced plans at Optometry's Meeting® 2019 for a national public awareness campaign—#2020EyeExam—on the essentialness of annual, in-person, comprehensive eye examinations with an AOA family doctor of optometry.
The multi-channel initiative aims to engage patients, government officials, providers, employers, the public and media.
"2020 is coming and the AOA is ready," said AOA President Barbara L. Horn, O.D., of the AOA initiative during her inaugural address in St. Louis. "We have taken the time to ensure that we are bringing 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 will spotlight optometry's essential primary health care role and propel 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," Dr. Horn said. "Hopefully, this isn't the first time you have seen this message and it certainly won't be the last."
Key components of #2020EyeExam are:
AOA 2020 Employer Pledge
Employers are the gateway and a key influencer when it comes to employees choosing their health care options. The AOA has developed a pledge program to encourage leading employers across the country to remind employees about their vision benefits and the essentialness of annual, comprehensive eye examinations with AOA member doctors of optometry.
Future Practice Initiative
The AOA Future Practice Initiative, which was launched in 2018, continues to support affiliates in their efforts to modernize state practice acts to expand patient access, ensure continuity of patient care, and keep the practice and profession of optometry on the leading edge.
Colleague to Colleague
To build new, patient-focused collaboration with a range of other health professionals, the AOA has developed resources that encourage doctor-to-doctor collaboration and educate patients about the importance of eye exams with AOA doctors.
AOA 2020 Media Advocacy
The AOA's 365-days-a-year media advocacy will engage the public, across various media, with messages on in-person, comprehensive eye exams and making time to schedule their own and loved ones' appointments with doctors of optometry (The "Start with Eye" campaign).
The AOA's website is undergoing a significant transformation to enhance the member and patient experience. The new-and-improved website will include multimedia content, easy-to-find resources, more patient resources on eye health and vision care, and a more intuitive search.
Think About Your Eyes is heading into next year with strong momentum. The national advertising initiative, centered on optometry's message to get an annual eye exam, has generated more than 8 million new eye exams since its launch.
"2020 is not just an epic moment," Dr. Horn said. "It's a tipping point in the awareness of the care that we provide and the importance of a comprehensive eye exam."
Over three dozen Opportunities in Optometry grants have been awarded since 2021, helping traditionally underrepresented minority groups within the profession apply for optometry school.
In June, the AOA House of Delegates approved changes to the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education that increased the number of members on its board from 11 to 13. The council also announced the passing of the baton to new leadership.
AOA partners with actor, producer, singer and gamer, Jordan Fisher to bring awareness to healthy screen time practices and encourage patients to be seen in person by an AOA doctor of optometry for quality eye care.