The American Optometric Association Urges Visionary Companies to Make 2020 the Year of the Eye Exam

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ST. LOUIS—As part of its #2020EyeExam initiative, the American Optometric Association (AOA) is urging visionary companies across the country to join the 2020 Employer Pledge program, which affirms the importance of caring for the overall health and well being of employees and their families by reminding them of the importance of an annual comprehensive eye exam, according to an announcement from the organization. "Comprehensive eye exams are one of the most important, preventive ways to preserve vision and overall health," said AOA president Barbara L. Horn, OD.

"We have engaged more than 30 employers to join our pledge. Through them, we will reach more than 300,000 employees with the message that it's more important than ever to ensure a comprehensive eye exam with an AOA doctor of optometry as part of their routine, primary health care. We are encouraging all employers to join in this movement and make 2020 the year of the eye exam.

According to the AOA, employers are the gatekeepers to health care for about 49 percent of Americans. Through AOA's #2020EyeExam Pledge, employers large and small have the opportunity to uphold the eye health of their employees and promote high-value care by fostering awareness and encouraging everyone to get their annual, in-person comprehensive eye exam.

AOA’s American Eye-Q consumer survey revealed many people aren’t paying enough attention to their eyesight and are unaware of how vision impacts overall health. Only 53 percent visit an eye health professional at least once a year and one-third of those surveyed lacked an understanding of how to take care of their eyes and vision.

Eye health and vision problems may develop without any obvious signs or symptoms. In-person, annual eye exams with a doctor of optometry can detect early signs of visual system diseases such as glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness. In addition, eye exams safeguard overall health by enabling the doctor of optometry to detect more than 270 serious health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases and cancers.

As with many systemic diseases, most eye diseases, if detected early, can be treated before detrimental effects to health and vision take place. If a problem is detected, doctors of optometry can help patients and their families navigate the right prevention plans or the next steps in official diagnosis and treatment.

Participating organizations will also be highlighted through a year-long communications program reaching the public and AOA's more than 44,000 doctors of optometry, optometric professionals and students.