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.


The AOA Thanks Southern College of OptometryNortheastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry, The Ohio State University College of Optometry, University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry, and Western University 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 five CIP partner schools have the highest rates of faculty membership in AOA among all schools and colleges of optometry.

Build Independent Practice at Optometry’s Meeting®

Optometry's Meeting

CIP will hold its 2024 Symposium for students and doctors in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, June 20, from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m., free for all attendees at Optometry’s Meeting. Location and topics will be announced soon. For more information, contact Rodney Peele at

The 2023 CIP Symposium, supported by Johnson & Johnson Vision, was held in Washington, D.C. The Symposium featured keynote speaker Tom Bowen, founder and CEO of THRIVE Practice and Life Development, on opportunities to be successful in independent practice, followed by a conversation with leading optometrists about their experiences in independent practice.

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 log in to the AOA website. There is a user guide offered for quick reference as well.

CIP webinars on Practice Matters are available for CE credit in EyeLearn for easy access for student and doctor members of AOA

Additional AOA EyeLearn courses can be found in the content search bar or through specific course catalogs. For example:

Independent Practice Resources

Corporate Transparency Act (CTA): Federal law requires optometry practices and other businesses with fewer than 20 employees and less than $5 million in receipts to report certain ownership information to the Department of the Treasury. The AOA is advocating for a broader exemption for legitimate health care practitioners.  The AOA CIP has developed resources and guidance for practices to comply with the law in 2024.


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 of Trustees has prioritized practice success tools and resources.

AOAExcel ®

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.

CIP Committee

AOA Immediate Past President Robert C. Layman, O.D., chair
AOA Vice President Jacquie M. Bowen, O.D., vice chair
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.
The Ohio State University College of Optometry Associate Dean for Research Jeffrey Walline, O.D., Ph.D.
University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry Dean Renee Reeder, O.D.
Western University College of Optometry Founding Dean Elizabeth Hoppe, O.D., M.P.H., Dr.PH.
Tara DeRose, O.D.
Aaron McNulty, O.D.
Erick Henderson, O.D.
AOA CIP Executive Director Rodney Peele, J.D.

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