ASCO Broadens Public Awareness of Optometry with New ‘Optometry Gives Me Life’ Campaign

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ROCKVILLE, Md.—The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is launching a national public awareness campaign, “Optometry Gives Me Life,” to address concerns among ASCO and its optometric institutions about “a troubling decline, in recent years, of qualified applicants to each institution’s first-year class,” according to an announcement this week. “Applications to optometry schools have declined somewhat in recent years, as is true for many other health profession institutions,” ASCO president Dr. David Damari said in the announcement. “At the same time, there are studies showing the need for services doctors of optometry provide will increase in the coming years, especially as the population continues to age. Doctors of optometry are vital to the health care landscape and we need to not only ensure we have enough highly-qualified students graduating from our institutions and offering vital healthcare to our citizenry, but that we are promoting all the wonderful aspects about the career to young people who are deciding which career path to take.”

The Optometry Gives Me Life campaign, which features three young and successful ODs, is utilizing a “new, lively, and vibrant website, futureeyedoc.org,” as well as other related materials, in the initiative. “Campaign materials show what a wonderful career optometry is [and] how it offers an enviable work/life balance, an excellent salary, the various settings one can practice optometry in, the many ways doctors of optometry can give back to their community and positively affect the lives of others, and so much more,” the announcement noted.

The Optometry Gives Me Life campaign is designed to reach college-aged students who have expressed an interest in a STEM or health profession, yet may not be considering optometry as an option, ASCO noted. In addition to the website, outreach to the target audience includes “significant specialized and targeted social media outreach, publications and ancillary promotional materials, emails, and direct mail,” ASCO said.

ASCO noted that Luxottica, National Vision and VSP Global are sponsors of the new campaign.

“Optometry is a wonderful career that so few consider when deciding which choice to make,” ASCO’s chairman of the campaign Lewis Reich said in the announcement. “We need to be more proactive about the public’s awareness if we want to remain competitive with other health professions in recruiting the best and brightest to optometry. The Optometry Gives Me Life campaign is ASCO’s effort to help the profession attract those star students to optometry.”

Among the components of the campaign are Video profiles of the three featured ODs –
Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Dr. Muriel Martinez, and Dr. Miki Lyn Zilnicki. There also are downloadable materials such as posters and a brochure available here and here.

In addition, an Optometry Gives Me Life podcast is available here: https://optometriceducation.org/podcasts.

The Optometry Gives Me Life campaign has been designed to provide resources to all those involved in the optometry community to participate. Those interested in receiving any of this printable materials should send an email to Paige Pence, ASCO’s director of student and residency affairs at ppence@opted.org.