The Vision Conservation Institute of Pennsylvania (VCI) is the public information arm of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association. VCI is a 501(c)3 organization affiliated with and supported by POA. All licensed doctors of optometry who are practicing in Pennsylvania and who are members of POA are also members of VCI. Any individual interested in the purpose of the corporation may also enroll as a member.
The Pennsylvania Association for the Blind is a statewide organization dedicated to helping people prevent, prepare for, and manage vision loss. POA is involved with collaborative projects with PAB in the area of low vision rehabilitation.
CHIP is Pennsylvania's program to provide health insurance to all uninsured children and teens. There are a lot of reasons kids might not have health insurance - maybe their parents lost a job, don't have health insurance at work or maybe it just costs too much. Whatever the reason, CHIP may be able to help.
PPA promotes the ideals of optometry and maintains the ethics and moral obligations of this health profession. Much of the activity of this group is directed toward continuing education of the paraoptometric. PPA publishes a newsletter, Paraeyes, three times per year for its members. It also provides access to a Reference Resource Library which includes many educational study books and manuals to assist in the preparation for taking the AOA Assistant’s/Technician’s certification exam. PPA has published a Paraoptometric Reference Manual, which can be purchased by members and is an invaluable tool for the entry level staff person or the seasoned veteran.
American Optometric Association doctors of optometry are highly qualified, trained doctors, on the frontline of eye health and vision care, who examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. In addition to providing eye and vision care, optometrists play a major role in an individual's overall health and well being by detecting systemic diseases. Doctors of optometry have the skills and training to provide more than two-thirds of all primary eye care in the United States. The American Optometric Association represents more than 34,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians in nearly 6,500 communities across the country.
The goal of the American Academy of Optometry is to maintain and enhance excellence in optometric practice by fostering research and the dissemination of knowledge in both basic and applied vision science. Academy Fellows represent all facets of the profession. In qualifying for and maintaining fellowship, individuals are evaluated against the highest standards of professional competence. The letters “FAAO” (Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry) after an optometrist’s, scientist’s or other qualified person’s name signify to colleagues and patients that rigorous qualifications for fellowship have been met.
APHA is an Association of individuals and organizations working to improve the public’s health and to achieve equity in health status for all. The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health influencing policies and setting priorities in public health for over 125 years. The Vision Care Section, established in 1979, has introduced 16 APHA policy resolutions that were passed into policy and led to strong support of optometry, such as providing testimony before Congress in 1985 in support of including optometric services under Medicare, sending a resolution to state legislator supporting optometrists’ use of TPAs in 1990; and sending a resolution supporting optometry’s role in glaucoma diagnosis and management to national health associations in 1997. APHA has supported optometry through the years and it is important that optometrists support APHA by becoming members.
The mission of the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry is to represent and assist member licensing agencies in regulating the practice of optometry for the public welfare. ARBO provides an OE Tracker card to licensees that can be used to track continuing education credits and thereby assist licensees to know their continuing education renewal status and outstanding hours needed to renew their license(s).
The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an international membership association of eye care professionals including optometrists, optometry students, and vision therapists. Established in 1971, COVD provides board certification for eye doctors and vision therapists who are prepared to offer state-of-the-art services in Behavioral and developmental vision care; Vision therapy; Visual rehabilitation. These specialized vision care services develop and enhance visual abilities and correct many vision problems in infants, children, and adults.
COPE is a national clearinghouse for all CE courses of a statewide, regional or national scope, created to remove these duplicative efforts by state boards, instructors, and program administrators. Organizationally, the COPE is a committee of the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO), which is the association that currently represents 50 United States optometry boards, four United States territories/ jurisdictions, and two Canadian boards.
The mission of the NBEO is to serve the public and the profession of optometry by developing, administering, scoring, and reporting results of valid examinations that assess competence. They provide comprehensive information about the National Board of Optometry exams and can answer questions and assist in preparation for the licensing examinations in the various states.
The NRHA, and its state counterpart, the PRHA, are nonprofit member organizations that provide leadership on rural health issues. Their mission is to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education, research and leadership. Their membership is made up of a diverse collection of individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health.
Pennsylvania is fortunate to have the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) within its boundaries. POA and PCO have worked closely over the years to enhance the profession through its combined interests in keeping optometrists in the Commonwealth up to date with education.
The State Board of Optometry is responsible for regulating the practice and licensure of optometry in Pennsylvania. The Board grants initial licensure to qualified optometrists and certifies eligible licensees in the use of certain therapeutic drugs. The Board also investigates complaints against practitioners and is responsible for imposing disciplinary sanctions against those who violate the Optometric Practice and Licensure Act. The Board has further promulgated regulations concerning professional and business practice standards, continuing education and licensure requirements.
The job opportunity service at the Irving Bennett Business & Practice Management Center of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University was developed to provide a job placement service for all eye care professionals. It is a free service.