Dear Colleagues:

The work of organized optometry - more specifically, the RIOA and AOA - has always been critical to the profession and our patients. As RIOA members, we know the importance of ensuring first-class eye care remains the norm in our state. Our patients deserve nothing less!  

To be certain, threats to the profession are constant and come from all sides. Some threaten the all-important doctor-patient relationship, some seek to undervalue the service, training and importance of optometric care...  All are designed to undermine you and your practice.  

Indeed, a strong and robust RIOA is more than important. It's a must! Dr. Parks

If you are an RIOA member, thank you for your support.  You're a part of an organization dedicated to you and your success and it's deeply appreciated.  If you've yet to join, please consider joining today.   

Now is the time to strengthen our organization and bolster our ranks! 

There's tremendous value that comes from an AOA/RIOA membership; there's plenty of information contained on these pages to prove that.   

For me, however, the importance and impact the RIOA has on its members is evident everyday I practice optometry.  The relationships I have with my patients and the great reward of providing first-class eye care via strong practice act is tangible. It has helped define who I am today.  

Our relationship with our patients is what it's all about!   

Still, it's important that we share news of the impact we, as an organization, have made.  

The recent announcement that Visibly (formerly Opternative), which offered an online vision screening test, has been recalled due to action U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a great example of who we are and what we do.   

This recall is a direct result of the AOA pressuring the FDA over the past few years about the efficacy of the online eye test and the company's lack of approval for, among other things, its safety.   

It's a tremendous win for first class eye care.  Click here to access a recent Optometry Times article on Visibly's recall.      

Locally, I can report that the Consumer Protection in Eye Care Act gained momentum in 2019.  It did not, however, become law.  Despite the RIOA doing everything in its power to codify important standards in online eye tests available in Rhode Island, the proposal remained in the House's Health, Education & Welfare Committee at the time the Legislature recessed.   

2019, if anything, has taught us one thing:  The legislative process in Rhode Island can be stubborn.  Out-of-state companies are well-funded and have proven effective in stalling CPEC's passage.    

We know it takes time when battling the powerful and well-funded.  We also know persistence in support of good public policy is key.  It's our responsibility and one we will never take lightly.   

To be certain, some good came out of this year's effort to turn CPEC into law - namely, a strong, working and committed relationship between the RIOA and the Rhode Island Society of Eye Physicians President, Dr. Richard Bryan. We worked together to build a consensus proposal that garnered the support of optometrists and ophthalmologists in our state. With the state's eye care provider groups in full agreement, lawmakers will be expected to act. We remain steadfast - threats to standards of care must be addressed. 

2020, perhaps fittingly, will be our year!   The measure, if/once passed into law, ensures: 

•       Providers using online eye tests are held to the same standard of appropriate practice as in-person settings.

•       A patient cannot use an online exam for their initial contact lens prescription, or the first renewal of their contact lens prescription.

•      A patient must be seen for a complete in-person eye health examination at least every 24 months to be eligible to use the technology.  

These are worth fighting for!  We remain resolute towards maintaining standards of care. 

As a volunteer-reliant organization, the RIOA builds a team within its ranks of committed and talented individuals.  We have a great team! I'd like to thank the Board of Directors for their commitment to our shared profession and for making my job as President easier.  Thank you!

Volunteerism within the RIOA offers a unique opportunity for anyone interested in making a difference in our chosen profession.  The friendships created a real and meaningful. Help us collect accomplishments. 

Click here for a list of current needs and contact the RIOA to become involved today!

Finally, we are all indebted to Legislative Committee Members Drs. Maria Jablonski, Stephen Montaquila and Paul Zerbinopoulos.  These volunteer doctors routinely attend committee hearings and meetings to ensure Rhode Island continues to place a high emphasis and value on first-class eye care.   Thank you for all that you do!


Bob Parks Signature

Robert J. Parks, OD

RIOA President

P.S.  P.S.   Hope to see you at the Nose to the Grindstone CE weekend next March!