AOA and OAA Announce SUN Initiative To Empower Practices to Educate and Prescribe

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Kicking off the SUN Initiative at Vision Expo East in March are (l to r) John Lahr, OD, EyeMed Vision Care; Mark Mattison-Shupnick, Jobson Medical Information LLC; Ed Greene, The Vision Council; Shirley Earley, Opticians Association of America; Dori Carlson, OD, American Optometric Association; and Andrea Dorigo, Luxottica USA.
NEW YORK— The COPE and ABO-approved free educational series, Protect, Prescribe and Present has been launched by the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Opticians Association of America (OAA) as the centerpiece of their SUN initiative, a new comprehensive program created to help eyecare professionals deliver “a lifetime of outdoor eye protection” to patients, according to the program’s developers. The three-part educational series, sponsored by Luxottica and The Vision Council, is now available digitally on the AOA website and the OAA website.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Opticians Association of America (OAA), with sponsorship from Luxottica and The Vision Council, formed a SUN alliance in March, a program designed to empower practices and businesses with the training and information needed to educate and prescribe appropriate sun protection for every patient.

“We’ve joined together in this outstanding industry alliance to confirm that sun protection is not optional,” said Dori Carlson, OD, AOA president.

Added Shirley Earley, OAA president, “We are confident that the optician’s emphasis on quality protection will go a long way in ensuring a lifetime of good sight and eye protection.”

 
 The SUN Initiative’s Digital Education Series kicks off.
In kicking off the major new initiative, Andrea Dorigo, president of Luxottica USA, said, “We believe this program is vitally important to the safety and eye health of every patient and consumer, as well as the growth and success of the optical industry. This is an actionable program that can truly make a difference in preventing sun-related eye diseases among people young and old. Luxottica is honored to support this industrywide SUN initiative.”

Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council, noted, “Much of our research with the consumer underscores how much really needs to be done to educate consumers about the harmful effects of UV and the ways they can protect their eye health.”

The SUN alliance’s courses and education plans are the results of months of collaborative work among experts from the AOA, OAA, The Vision Council, Jobson’s Opticianry Study Center and Luxottica.

Part 1, titled Protect, describes the health issues resulting from UV and High Energy Visible (HEV) radiation exposure, delivering a set of actionable steps for the practitioner to ensure that all patients understand the importance of quality outdoor eye protection. Part 2, titled Prescribe, develops an action plan for the optometrist and the optician. For the doctor, this course delivers examples of how to discuss the research that proves the need for sun protection. For the optician, this segment clearly defines how to set goals and identify the best protective products. And Part 3, called Present, teaches one of the most difficult areas for many offices to master—the language and methods to visually merchandise outdoor eyewear to every consumer/patient. This segment presents methods to easily communicate the benefits of prescribing and dispensing outdoor eyewear.

To get started, go to AOA.org or OAA.org or go directly to the SUN website at www.sunpresent.com.

—Marge Axelrad