AOA Center for Independent Practice (CIP)

Launched in fall 2022, the mission of the AOA Center for Independent Practice (CIP) is to fuel a passion for and create a foundational knowledge base to excel in the management of today’s independent practice of contemporary optometry. This center of excellence will help students and practitioners develop strong partnerships, optimize practice resources, create business strategy and utilize the fundamentals of professional practice advocacy.

AOA Center for Independent Practice (CIP)
Center for Independent Practice

Welcome home, independent doctors

The AOA has long been the voice of independent doctors and we want to help you succeed. Independent practice is thriving—whether you are practicing independently, want to learn more about it or want to find opportunities, the Center for Independent Practice (CIP) is your home.

This is your one-stop hub for resources to help advance your professional skills. Revisit often to find more information and tools to help you grow as the AOA fights for broader scope, recognition and opportunities for doctors of optometry.

Foundational Partners

The AOA thanks Southern College of Optometry and Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry for their visionary partnership and leadership in the CIP and independent practice of contemporary optometry.

The Southern College of Optometry and the Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry have the highest rate of AOA membership among students who graduated from 2011-2021, and the highest rates of faculty membership in AOA among all schools and colleges of optometry.

EyeLearn: Professional Development Hub

The AOA’s member-exclusive, centralized education portal, EyeLearn, offers an expanding online catalog of educational modules, webinars and resources to help advance clinical proficiencies, the practice of contemporary optometry, and practice management for doctors of optometry, future doctors of optometry and paraoptometric staff. When accessing EyeLearn, members log in with the same username and password used to login to the AOA website. There is a user guide offered for quick reference as well.

Practice Management courses for student and doctor members are available in EyeLearn for easy access. A sample of those valuable courses are listed below and can be searched in the content search bar or through specific course catalogs in EyeLearn.

Coding & billing

Federal law requires doctors of optometry and other physicians to use standardized codes in health care transactions. The AOA has important resources and guidance for practicing doctors, especially as state licenses expand to include more services and procedures.

Legal tips

When starting, joining or expanding an optometry practice, doctors often need legal counsel to best protect their rights and interests. AOA can help doctors find legal assistance, and also provides information on hot topics.

Practice Success

The AOA Board has prioritized practice success tools and resources.

Build independent practice at Optometry’s Meeting®

Optometry's Meeting

An array of educational opportunities to support independent practice is planned for Optometry’s Meeting ® in Washington, D.C., June 21-24, 2023, such as "Conflict Management in the Office," "Contract Negotiation for New and Soon-to-Be Optometrists," "How to Establish a Specialty Care in a Day-to-Day Practice" and "Maximizing Practice Success." You can stay up to date with Optometry’s Meeting news, registration alerts, and continuing education and professional development by visiting the Optometry's Meeting website.


AOA member doctors, students and staff have access to tools and other benefits to thrive in independent practice through AOA Excel®. For example, with AOAExcel’s partners provide information and discounts for several types of insurance every doctor of optometry should have. AOAExcel also offers financial planning tips and resources. The CIP seeks to draw more attention to AOAExcel’s Career Center, as well as to help students, new graduates and anyone interested in independent practice to connect with established practitioners. The CIP will also promote mentoring opportunities that have long helped independent doctors succeed.

CIP Committee

AOA President Robert Layman, O.D.
AOA Secretary-Treasurer Jacquie Bowen, O.D.
Southern College of Optometry President Lewis Reich, O.D., Ph.D.
Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry Dean Douglas Penisten, O.D., Ph.D.
Tara DeRose, O.D.
Aaron McNulty, O.D.
Erick Henderson, O.D.
AOA CIP Executive Director Rodney Peele, JD

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