Advocating for the Retail Optical Industry Since 1959
The National Association of Optometrists and Opticians (NAOO) was incorporated in 1959. Its founders established an organizational structure dedicated to promoting regular, high quality and convenient eye care from all segments of the industry in an environment free from unnecessary regulation. Over the years the Association has enhanced its impact by developing a series of proactive projects aimed at increasing access to eye care and supporting technological developments in the industry.
NAOO members represent in excess of 9,000 retail optical stores operating in every state in the country. Eye care professionals in those locations treat and help identify serious eye and chronic disease, such as diabetes and hypertension, and provide eye wear for more than 48 million Americans annually. Optical stores employ tens of thousands of workers and operate fabricating laboratories on the premises of certain co-located stores and at regional and central fabricating facilities.
The National Association of Optometrists and Opticians combines the unique strengths of both professions to serve the public well-being by:
- Actively making high-quality, cost-efficient eye care widely and conveniently available to all people
- Aggressively defending the public’s best interest by promoting fair, vigorous competition and alerting lawmakers and the general public to the dangers of special interest attempts to restrict or inhibit competition
- Affirmatively promoting education programs to constantly improve the association members’ ability to deliver superior levels of care
To carry out the Association’s mission, the NAOO undertakes a number of programs on an ongoing basis. These include cooperation with educational institutions to offer in-office training and co-ops to optometric and optician students, promoting continuing education for graduates, promoting the benefits of regular eye care, supporting advances in the industry and opposing unnecessary new regulation designed to limit practice opportunities and care modalities.
Retail Optical Stores Nationwide
Americans Treated Annually
Ongoing efforts by our Government Relations and Telehealth Committees and focused project work serve as the backbone that allows the Association to effectively pursue its mission. Each promotes the work and visibility of the NAOO and provides critical information and decision-making tools to its members, legislators and regulators. Both also provide opportunities to move on projects that enhance the reputation of the Association and optical retail sector as well as protect the strides made over the last few decades.
NAOO Letter To CA Board of Optometry re: Regulating Ocular Telehealth
NAOO encourages the Board to consider its Ocular Telehealth General Principles for regulating in the public interest.Read Full Letter
NAOO Letter Opposing Florida SB 1526 Telehealth Bill
NAOO requests Florida State Senator Rob Bradley and the Senate Appropriations Committ resist all efforts to limit the use of telehealth for ocular patients and prescriptions to protect consumers.Read Full Letter
NAOO SUPPORT FOR OPTOMETRY
Improving Clinical Practice
- The NAOO promotes and supports the right of optometrists to use their professional judgment in deciding on the appropriate use of telehealth as part of a comprehensive eye examination.
- The NAOO has, when requested by optometric associations, supported increases in scope of practice for optometrists. At no time has the NAOO ever opposed such efforts.
- The NAOO has supported requirements on contact lens sellers to ensure the ease and completeness of the verification process for the prescriber by requiring sellers to make such requests in clear, legible, plain language, and (for oral communications) delivered in a cadence and volume that a reasonable person could understand.
- NAOO members have worked with affiliated optometrists (employees, sublessees, licensees, and franchisees) to develop and promulgate practice management programs, tested instrumentation & equipment, identified methods for optometrists to use delegation to assistants wisely, provided patient education and recall tools and facilitated support groups to help affiliated optometrists grow their practices profitably and ethically.
Industry and Professional Promotion
- The NAOO supported the right of optometrists to make truthful advertising about ophthalmic goods and services – expanding the market opportunities for ODs -and ending public and private restraints on such advertising. We continue that support.
- The NAOO has served as a committed participant in various efforts to grow the industry and help optometrists by building demand for eye care and eyewear.
- Through recruiting and sponsorships of optometrists for numerous national and international charitable programs, NAOO members have provided worldwide experiences for optometrists and an opportunity to bring the gift of sight to many thousands around the world. That work continues.
- The NAOO supported opening state law to all forms of business relationships for optometrists, again, opening up business opportunities. That work continues.
- The NAOO has supported reform of state laws that limited the number of offices that an optometrist could own.
- The NAOO has supported and continues to support anti-discrimination laws, seeking to allow optometrists to fully participate in insurance vision care and medical panels.
- The NAOO has advocated for numerous ways for prescribers to comply with the FTC CL Rule, making compliance easier for all optometrists.
Professional Continuing Education
- The NAOO worked issues related to privacy and security of patient health information and provided free HIPAA training materials and tools to optometrists.
- The NAOO and its members have and continue to offer numerous optometric continuing education programs, often at no cost to the attendees.
- NAOO members have developed leadership and management skills for many optometrists and have often promoted optometrists into leadership roles for eye care services and optical retailing.
- NAOO members have worked with the AOA in the past to educate optometrists who are affiliated with the member companies about the benefits of AOA membership. NAOO-affiliated optometrists have held leadership roles in some AOA state affiliate organizations.
- NAOO members provide scholarships, sponsor externships, and employ optometry students in eye care assistant and optician roles as they study to become licensed ODs.
"The NAOO has consistently been a strong advocate for consumers and competition; its efforts have allowed innovative eye care professionals and ophthalmic industry members to grow the category, offer a variety of quality products and services at a wide range of prices and improve access to eye care and eyewear in the US. The NAOO has supported changes in laws in order to allow doctors, opticians and retailers to advertise the price and availability of eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses.
The organization was instrumental in making sure that patients get their prescriptions for eyewear so they can shop where they choose. The NAOO has helped reduce unfair and unreasonable limits on eye care availability in retail locations, including malls and department stores. Today, the NAOO is a leader in ensuring that ocular telemedicine is available as a valuable tool for doctors and a great benefit to consumers."
Wallace W. Lovejoy
Optical Industry Executive, Pearle Vision, LensCrafters/Luxottica, 1983-2011
Principal, Lovejoy Eyecare Consulting since 2012
"The optical industry is unique in its mix of industry participants and business models, regulations and economic turf issues. The NAOO, over the decades, has proven to be a unifying force in the retail optical segment, which has been under frequent attack from the disparate segments of the industry. The old saying of “United we stand…” has proven so true in the industry and the NAOO has been a reliable source of information about and support for our segment of the industry over the decades."
Franklin D. Rozak
Optical Industry Executive, Cole Vision, 1971-2015
Become a NAOO Member
NAOO members represent in excess of 9,000 retail optical stores throughout the United States. Through the Association, those organizations are advocating for fair competition, expanding patient access and ensuring that optometrists and opticians can deliver superior care without regulatory burden.
How can your organization contribute to our important mission?