Optometrists Take to Washington DC to Protect Patient Rights

Thousands of optometrists, paraoptometrics and optometry students took to Washington DC for the annual Optometry’s Meeting. The event, which lasted from June 20-24th was sponsored by the American Optometric Association, and included a rally on Capitol Hill, primarily attended by students, where several Senators- including Tammie Duckworth and Lisa Glen Rochester- spoke out about major healthcare concerns and Optometry’s importance as a primary care provider. 

 In addition to the Rally, Optometry’s Meeting included continuing education lectures, workshops, and exhibitions by vendors. The event took place primarily at the Washington Convention Center with several detours- including the Capitol Hill Rally. 

The event also marked the launch of AOA+, a new advocacy program that targets students and new graduates with a focus on advocacy, networking, and career starter tips. AOA+ is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson which has been a major partner to the profession of Optometry. The event garnered over 2300 students and new physicians. 

Among the issues was HR 1606, dubbed the DOC or Dentist and Optometric Care Access Act, a new healthcare reform that has recently been introduced as a Bill. If passed, the changes can seriously effect both Optometry and Dentistry in the future.

In addition to advocacy, the meeting also provided continuing education courses for practicing doctors of Optometry in the most recent new technologies and procedures.