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2016 November eNews

November 2016    Volume 13, Issue 11
Welcome to the IOA eNews! If you would like to go directly to a certain section, use the links listed below. Or for easy viewing, you can click: View in Browser

In this Issue:
IOA President
IOA Immediate Past President
IOA Legislative Trustee
IOA Education Trustee
IOA Membership Trustee

Winter CE Lineup
IOA Associate Members
Useful Links


IOA's Mission

The Illinois Optometric Association exists to protect, promote, and advance the profession of Optometry by providing exemplary resources and support towards serving and enhancing quality patient care.


IOA's Vision
The vision of the Illinois Optometric Association is to be the primary advocate for the advancement of optometry through education, legislation, public service, and membership development by providing a unified voice for all optometrists to ensure the practice of Optometry at the highest level. 

Christine Allison, OD
IOA President

As Optometrists, we all know the risks of contact lenses, particularly when they are not purchased through our offices, but instead from a gas station or convenience store. This is a particular issue around the Halloween season.  It is a particular draw for a teen or young adult, who is dressing up for Halloween to be enticed by “trying” a cosmetic lens just one time. However, most of these consumers have never worn contact lenses before and don’t know even the basics of insertion and removal, or disinfection procedures. We have all seen the resulting damage: corneal scratches, ulcers, and allergic reactions.  Unfortunately, the public has not been aware of the dangers until now!

The IOA sent out a press release about the dangers of these contact lenses, and the Lieutenant Governor’s office picked up the piece and put together a whole press conference around the dangers. IOA member, Dr. Sandra Rafael, the Lieutenant Governor, Evelyn Sanguinetti, and I met at Fantasy Costumes in Chicago to talk to the press, specifically targeting the Spanish-speaking channels, Univision and Telemundo, to highlight the importance of contact lenses as a medical device, and stress that selling contact lenses without a prescription is illegal. The employees at Fantasy Costume were fantastic about stressing that they do not sell these lenses, and tell their customers to see their optometrist for contact lenses, but they said that almost
every day, someone comes in off the street trying to get them to sell decorative lenses from China.  I was surprised at how often this is actually happening.

Ironically, the same day as the press conference, another parent was telling me how her husband was going to get his 11 year old daughter some of these decorative lenses for use on Halloween.  I stressed what a bad idea it was, how dangerous to her daughter’s eyes, and how illegal- needless to say, she had no idea and went home to break the news to her husband.  Having that immediate follow-up stressed to me how little the public understands all that Optometrists do, and how important public awareness is for the IOA.  We hope to send more of these press releases out regularly to inform the public, and I am hoping to see many more of these press conferences to come as a result!

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Brian Plattner, OD
IOA Immediate Past President

During the recent strategic review session this fall, the IOA President’s Cabinet elected to reactivate the committee structure.  In doing so, we believe this will enable the IOA to benefit from the shared experiences of seasoned and new practitioners as we focus on common challenges.

Some of the committees include Third Party, Membership Service, Education, Communications and more. As doctors, we know all too well that there are a number of demands on your time. To address that, the IOA has made it very easy to participate and share your perspective without leaving your office.  Most committee meetings will take place through predetermined conference calls and last no longer than an hour. If you’re interested in taking an active role in the direction of your profession while growing as a leader in the organization, we hope you will consider taking this opportunity to get involved.

Through the combined efforts of volunteers, staff and leadership, the committees will address clear priories, establish attainable implementation plans and help move the organization and profession forward. For a complete list of committees and to sign up today, click here.

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Matthew Jones, OD
IOA Legislative Trustee

Our current Illinois Optometric Practice Act is scheduled to expire on January 1, 2017.  IDFPR introduced a bill that would extend our practice act and included scope of practice expansions at the same time in early 2016. As best we can tell, piggybacking on the extension of our practice act has for the most part worked to our advantage in pushing towards getting a finished bill by the end of this year. Most recently, the bill has been under negotiation talks with key health care committee legislators in the Illinois state house and senate, organized medicine, organized ophthalmology, and ourselves, among other interested parties. At this time, the final touches on the legislation are being ironed out as we expect to see a compromised bill as a final product. After months of purposeful delay on the part of organized ophthalmology, we feel that the most recent negotiations have been very productive and we are excited about what the bill may allow Optometrists in Illinois to do.  We currently expect that our updated practice act will be voted on in veto session in mid to late November. Shortly there after, Governor Rauner will need to sign it into law, before the end of the year. We have full faith that there will be no interruptions in our practice abilities and that we will be able to announce more concrete details as well as a timeline for any anticipated scope of practice changes very soon. Stay tuned and as always, "Donate to PAC."

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Deana LaBrosse, OD
IOA Education Trustee


It is great to rejoin the President’s Cabinet as your Education Trustee!  It was a joy to attend the IOA Convention in Springfield this year.  Thank you to the IOA staff for continuing to make this event one of the best state association meetings in the nation!  Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive (we look at those surveys, you know!).  We are always looking for ways to improve the member experience.  Please look forward to a separate email with a survey attached within the next week.  We want to hear from you regarding ideas for future speakers, topics, and venues.  Your responses will make next year’s Convention even more exciting!

Are you looking to get more involved in the IOA?  I am recruiting members to be part of the Education Committee to help guide the direction of our educational events and services.  Your participation would involve emails and the occasional conference call.  Please contact me for more information if interested:

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Mindy Nguyen, OD
OA Membership Trustee

Hope everyone is doing well! Now that the rush of the busy back to school has calmed down in the office, I'm hoping everyone will have a chance to look at getting more involved with the various the IOA committees. We are looking for ideas to help make IOA better and more beneficial to our members so if you have ideas or would like to see more things that IOA can do for you then you belong on one of committees!

As the membership trustee I have the privilege of working with communication and membership committees, as well as the membership subcommittee optometry school! We are still looking for someone to help chair our communications committee. If you are interested in any of these committees and would like to serve as chair or as a committee member of any of the committees, please let me know. And if you know any other IOA members that would be a good fit let me know as well, or please reach out to them.

Here is a link to the committee descriptions and I'm hoping you all will help out! We can definitely use your help and ideas!

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Announcing the 2016-2017 Winter CE Lineup!
All courses 6 hr. TQ. Registration for November course now available! CLICK HERE to register! Registration for all Winter 2017 courses will open late fall 2016.

Please visit the IOA Associate Members' Website Pages!
Click here for a full list of the IOA Associate Members.






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