Politically savvy

Politically savvy

Fred Farias III, O.D., portrays an incomparable level of political acumen that makes him the backbone of optometry's advocacy efforts in The Lone Star State.

As an AOA Keyperson for more than 20 years, he has the ear of some of the state's most influential politicians—and Dr. Farias makes sure optometry's message doesn't get lost in the political noise resounding in the Texas State Capitol.

It's part of a role he cherishes and fosters on AOA's Federal Legislative Action and Keyperson Committee. Among his noteworthy contributions, Dr. Farias was instrumental in helping enact first-of-its-kind vision plan legislation that inspired countless other state associations nationwide to follow suit.  

Dr. Farias-a former president of the Texas Optometric Association (TOA), which named him its 2015 Optometrist of the Year-was appointed to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in 2015, responsible for promoting access, quality and cost efficiency in the state's higher education institutions. It's his second gubernatorial appointment after former Gov. Rick Perry appointed him to the Texas Optometry Board from 2001-2007. Certified as a therapeutic optometrist and optometric glaucoma specialist, Dr. Farias is CEO of 20/20 Vision Care in McAllen, Texas.  

In an excerpt from an interview with AOA Focus, Dr. Farias talks about his professional passion for patient care and an insatiable determination to advocate on behalf of optometry. 

What motivated you to become such an active advocate for optometry?

I was a student leader in optometry school as an American Optometric Student Association trustee, and I knew then that I wanted to be a part of moving our profession forward. I started the Texas State Club in optometry school at Southern College of Optometry, and I was its first president. It's great to go back to state day and see the club doing so well years later. I later became a student member of the TOA during optometry school.

Learning the history of optometry and those who have done so much for the profession before, that is what motivated me to become an advocate for the profession. We all should get involved and do our part.

Is there a particular advocacy moment that stands out for you?

There are many advocacy moments that stand out for me, personally, but really I enjoy getting involved in all of optometry's advocacy issues. To me, listening to our membership and building relationships with national and state leaders is what makes our optometry team work.  

You're also involved in VISION USA and InfantSEE® initiatives, as well as outreach programs in your local community. What drives you to help underserved populations?

I have been brought up by my wonderful parents to give back to the community. My work on the AOA VISION USA committee and as an InfantSEE provider is an ideal way of helping patients in need. These programs, and my involvement in working in underserved populations, are something I do because I see it as an obligation to help serve those in need.

Our profession has many optometrists who are so giving, and for this I am grateful to be counted among our optometry family.

January 3, 2017

comments powered by Disqus