Dear AFOS Membership,
COVID-19, aka the coronavirus, is a stark reality for our society. From DoD travel restrictions, to USPHS officer deployments, to VA Hospitals preparing and currently treating patients with COVID-19, we have never experienced a pandemic like this in our lifetimes. The future is uncertain. Timelines are muddled at best.
At this point, AFOS has weathered the impact of COVID-19 very well. We just completed our highly successful AFOS/SECO 2020 Meeting and 50
Anniversary Gala. We did not have to cancel or reschedule our yearly business meeting. Because of this and the constant support of our dues paying members like you, AFOS does not expect to have any major monetary changes to the budget presented at our business meeting.
AFOS realizes that COVID-19 will have severe economic impact on our private sector members (retired military, reservists, etc) as well as our non-governmental colleagues. We also realize this will impact state and local optometric societies and most likely the AOA as a whole.
Yesterday, the CDC issued
advising all eye doctors to suspend all routine eye examinations. In the past few days, the California, Washington, New York and Ohio Optometric Associations have issued guidance strongly urging all optometrists to limit or cease all non-emergent patient care to prevent the spread of COVID-19. More states will likely follow suit and further guidance and/or restrictions are imminent.
During this time, if you become aware of any legislation being proposed that impacts optometrists in AFOS or in the private sector, i.e. tax relief, loan forgiveness, please let AFOS leadership know. AFOS can review proposed legislation to evaluate the potential of supporting such proposals with a letter of endorsement or support at the city, county, state and national level. There may be some ill-advised proposals we need to provide guidance on as well. So, we ask that you help keep us abreast of the developing efforts that may impact our profession. While the focus on our members is the priority, support for our private sector colleagues is critical.
We would also encourage all optometrists, AFOS and otherwise, to help spread credible information about COVID-19. This might be the most important thing we can do. Up to date information can be found on the
. Information on this site is compiled from experts in epidemiology and infectious disease, many of which are our uniformed service brethren in the USPHS. An informed public might be one of the greatest deterrents of COVID-19’s spread.
As optometrists, we are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, AFOS encourages all of our optometrists to stay safe, wash your hands, spread valid information about COVID-19, and continue to follow the guidance of your assigned governmental entity.
In Health and Wellbeing,
Chris Cordes (AFOS President)
Emily Sprague (AFOS President-elect)
Greg Smith (AFOS Vice President)
Justin Sandholm (AFOS Secretary-Treasurer)
Jason Hales (AFOS Immediate Past President)