Who are you? AOA is letting America know
Healthy vision should never be left to an apathetic algorithm or chance, which is why the AOA’s annual public health observance reiterates that Americans deserve in-person, comprehensive eye care as part of their overall health care.
This Save Your Vision Month, the AOA reminds patients to prioritize their eye health and vision care in 2021 by scheduling their families’ in-person, comprehensive eye exams. Considering many patients postponed eye care due to pandemic lockdowns in 2020, the AOA emphasizes that doctors of optometry continue to adhere to federal, state and local health directives to ensure the uninterrupted safe delivery of essential eye care and, consequently, patients shouldn’t resort to subpar alternatives or forgo their eye care altogether.
“Safeguarding our patients is our top priority,” says William T. Reynolds, O.D., AOA president. “If patients have not been seen by their doctor of optometry within the past year, our members are ready, willing and able to provide the level of eye care that you need, whether it’s time for a comprehensive eye exam, new contact lenses or eyeglasses, or an urgent care need.”
Save Your Vision Month reaffirms how doctors of optometry, America’s primary eye health and vision care providers, deliver essential health care that goes beyond a vision correction prescription and should be a critical component of patients’ preventive health regimen. As patients settle into a ‘new normal’ in this pandemic, the AOA warns it is more important than ever to be aware of products that mistakenly give the impression that eye health and vision needs are met.
‘Calling out the catfish’
Unfortunately, some companies preyed on patients’ pandemic anxieties in 2020 to assert their online vision tests and apps as an alternative to an established doctor-patient relationship. Although eye care providers and even companies themselves acknowledge that these apps do not provide the same level of high-quality care afforded by an in-person, comprehensive eye exam, many Americans still fell prey to advertisements that sell convenience at the expense of eye and vision health. The AOA is providing doctors with the tools to combat these undermining messages.
Coinciding with March’s Save Your Vision Month public education, the AOA will introduce a digital, online search and social media initiative with a series of targeted, dynamic digital and social media ads that will deliver the truth to consumers: they deserve more than to be treated by a computer.
These “calling out the catfish” ads will run across online channels and drive people to information reinforcing the importance of in-person eye health and vision care while also offering the option of finding a local doctor of optometry for their care needs. Because after all, Americans do deserve more when it comes to their eye health—a message the AOA is proud to rollout as part of its overall See and Be Seen public affinity campaign.
Under this platform, a 2021-specific campaign called Eye Deserve More will get the public to see the value of taking care of their eye health with an AOA doctor by building affinity for doctors of optometry. Stay tuned to the AOA’s communications channels as this campaign comes to life in the weeks and months ahead.
Access the Save Your Vision Month toolkit
Throughout March’s Save Your Vision Month, optometry practices nationwide are encouraged to get involved in spreading this message about the importance of comprehensive eye health care with a family doctor of optometry. Consider downloading the AOA’s Save Your Vision Month Toolkit with easy-to-use resources and reference materials for effectively communicating this initiative, including:
- Core messaging about Save Your Vision Month.
- Suggested social media posts and content for your practice pages.
- Template patient newsletter with information reinforcing the importance of optometric care.
Want to get involved? Share compelling patient care stories
To help ensure the public awareness campaign successfully delivers that message about the criticality of primary eye health care provided by doctors of optometry, the AOA asks members to share their powerful patient care stories. Again and again, the profession celebrates moments of lifechanging diagnoses and life-altering treatments that reaffirm the importance of optometric care—and the AOA is eager to partner with doctors and patients alike to tell these stories.
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Given the doors that were once closed and are now open to women and people of color in society, it might be expected that the faces of optometry would reflect the changing demographics of the nation. And with the nation’s reckoning over social injustice in 2020 stirring anew concerns over diversity and inclusiveness, the profession is asking whether optometry reflects the nation’s changing demographics—and why should that matter?