Optometry students can now apply for help.

(Press Release) ST. LOUIS — Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation announced that it has received a record number of donations from both industry and members of the American Optometric Association. And because recent natural disasters have affected some schools of optometry, disrupting optometry students’ lives, Optometry Cares is offering a new program to help support optometry students affected by natural disasters.

As of early October, Optometry Cares has received requests from more than 80 optometrists who have been affected by the recent hurricanes and thus far, are reporting damages totaling over $11.7 million.

"The AOA stands by all those affected by hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, and is reaching out to optometrists and optometry students, offering messages of unity and support, while encouraging all members to help colleagues in need," said Allan Barker, O.D., president of the foundation’s Board of Directors. "Optometry Cares works as a catalyst between corporations and AOA members to assist optometrists affected by any type of natural or man-made disaster."

The foundation has received donations or other support from:

  • Essilor of America- $50,000.
  • Luxottica Wholesale - $75,000 + 100 percent of sales from one of its particular frames.
  • CooperVision - $50,000.
  • PERC+IVA , Vision West Inc. and EyeCare Partners – encouraging members/employees/vendors to donate.
  • The Vision Council – contacted Vision Expo West attendees encouraging donations.

American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) members, who are automatically members of the AOA, may now apply for assistance by visiting aoafoundation.org/ofdr/ and submitting an online application. “We are grateful to Optometry Cares for now including optometry students for disaster relief assistance. Many of our friends, classmates, and colleagues were displaced and lost personal possessions as a result of the storms,” said Andy Mackner, president of the AOSA.

Contributions are tax deductible and may be made online or by mailing a check to Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief, 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141.

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