Every doctor is an advocate

June 15, 2017
AOA continues to deliver when it comes to protecting patients and promoting the profession.
Andrea P. Thau, O.D.

Excerpted from page 5 of the June 2017 edition of AOA Focus.

What an honor it has been to serve as your president! My term ends at Optometry's Meeting ® in June, when the very intelligent, inquisitive, insightful and industrious President-Elect Christopher J. Quinn, O.D., is sworn in as president. He will do an incredible job on behalf of the AOA.

I will sorely miss advocating as president on behalf of this outstanding organization, its dedicated doctors and our many patients across this country. Thank you for supporting my presidency, and know that I will continue to work to further this exceptional profession and the high-quality patient care you provide every day.

Because of your support, my term has been a whirlwind of experiences. We are laser focused and have delivered staggering success in AOA's four strategic pillars:

  • Advocacy
  • Tools to help advance optometric practices and provide the best possible patient care
  • Continuing education
  • Public awareness

We're making incredible progress promoting and advocating for our profession and, most importantly, we're taking the fight directly to those who would undermine us.  

We're battling against organized medicine and ophthalmology, and we've got their Medicare-exclusion agenda and anti-patient telemedicine schemes on the run.  

We've championed the Dental and Optometric Care Access Act (H.R. 1606), confronting anti-patient, anti-competitive abuses of health and vision plans.  

We've taken the fight directly to online vision test snake-oil sellers. Thanks to the AOA, government officials are reviewing their deceptive and potentially harmful "apps" as they consider enforcement.  

We continue to push back against abusive practices of some online contact lens sellers. We've backed legislation that would force them to adhere to patient safeguards, give up robocalls and underhanded tactics, and clean up the shady internet contact lens sales industry that puts patients at risk.  

We continue to develop tools to further your practice and patient care. We've surpassed the 6,500-mark for doctors of optometry enrolled in AOA MORE (Measures and Outcomes Registry for Eyecare); published the Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline: Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination; and Georgia and Minnesota affiliates have piloted "United in Possibilities," a recruitment campaign to engage millennial doctors of optometry, which will roll out nationally this summer.  

As you read this, we are coming together for Optometry's Meeting. This year will be like no other, providing exceptional continuing education opportunities, networking events for all, including the first-of-its-kind AOA+, and the opportunity to advocate during AOA on Capitol Hill.  

Finally, we make every effort to drive awareness of the vital care doctors of optometry provide. We got the word out in national and local media, generating more than 1,000 national and local segments.  

Think About Your Eyes (TAYE) also has been on a roll, delivering optometry's exclusive message. Last year, TAYE drove 1.15 million more patients in for eye exams and this year—its biggest ever—it will drive at least 1.4 million more.  

As AOA's soon-to-be immediate past president, I will continue to advocate for optometry. Every doctor is an advocate. As I have said many times: If we don't advocate for ourselves and our patients, who will?

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