President’s Message

In 2020, the pandemic lockdown and changes to my practice model made me feel empty and lost.  I asked myself, “Is this is how I’m going to finish the last part of my career?”

Shortly after, I read a book titled “No Regrets: A Fable About Living Your 4th Quarter Intentionally”. It was about living the latter part of your life intentionally and with purpose.  The author discussed 5 keys to living and dying with no regrets.

  1. Say Yes even though it may be uncomfortable.  By stretching yourself you will find growth.
  2. Focus on your passion, talents, and gifts.
  3. Give of your time, talents, and treasure. The more you give yourself away, the happier you’ll be.
  4. Forgive those who rejected or hurt you.  Forgive yourself.
  5. Be Open to life.  Be open to what can be.

This book was partly responsible for my YES to step up and fill the vacant president-elect position for the San Diego County Optometric Society last year.  I originally joined the SDCOS immediately after graduating Optometry school over thirty years ago and served on the board for eight years in the positions of public relations and professional affairs.  I never moved up to the executive board because I didn’t believe I could. Thirty-two years later, I took a step to do something uncomfortable. No longer would I live with regrets. I wanted to give back to a profession that has been so good to my family and me.  As president-elect, I attended for the first time the House of Delegates and Legislation Day.  I personally witnessed how much work goes into the protection of our profession.  Fighting and lobbying for our profession gave me an opportunity to be heard.

As president of the SDCOS, my focus this year was to return us to an in-person format.  I always felt blessed to be part of a strong society where I could find mentorship and support from my colleagues.  The society I knew brought new and seasoned ODs together for education and for comradery.

I would love for all of you to find ways to give back to our profession.  One opportunity could be to volunteer as a delegate next year for the COA House of Delegates on Feb 9-10 or to participate in Legislative Day on Feb 24.

I am truly grateful for the support I received from our entire SDCOS board and for the opportunity to have served as your president.  I have No Regrets!

President’s Message

San Diego County Optometric Society is one the largest and strongest local societies in California.  Our first CE meeting of 2023 had over 100 in attendance.  The energy and excitement of being together again in-person felt like old times.  Being a member of our society carries with it several benefits, some of which I have listed below, but the true value of membership is belonging to a community of individuals that care about the future of our profession.

Free/Low cost CEs: The 2-Hour CEs are FREE and the 5-hour CEs are only $90.  Meals included.

Free legal advice with COA lawyers: Each month, you have access to some of the best industry lawyers for a 30-minute consultation.

Three-in-one membership: Membership in the SDCOS (San Diego County Optometric Society) automatically grants you membership to both the COA (California Optometric Association) and the AOA (American Optometric Association).

Special Value Registration: COA’s Monterey Fall Symposium and OptoWest.

Access to SDCOS website: provides local and state information with an exclusive “member only” section.

Access to more patients: Membership grants you a listing on  This is an Optometrist locator service via a toll-free number and online search that helps the public find a COA member doctor.

Exclusive deals: SDCOS sponsors offer special deals exclusively to SDCOS members.

Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy: COA’s legislative team helps protect your license and enhance your scope of practice.

Dues are tax deductible. Reduced fees are also available for new graduates.

President’s Message

SDCOS Colleagues,

This is my last message to you as President of the Society. I would be lying if I said it was easy to be in this role. It was challenging, especially in these trying times post-Covid19, but rewarding at the same time. I’m proud that together with the Board we worked hard to bring back in person our valuable CE events, and continued to care for our community through free screenings and eye exams.

I want to thank my fellow Board members for placing their trust in me to lead SDCOS during a very difficult period. It was truly an honor. It was great to serve on the Board with such outstanding colleagues – Drs. Beverly Bianes, Katherine Witmeyer, Courtney Cape, Alexandra Scovill, Andrew Fasciani, Jennifer Chin, Amanda Dexter, Melanie Langford, Ilya Volk, Richard Skay, Justin Nguyen, David Sherman, Robert Meisel, Lucia Millet, David Ardakani, and Patty Cheng. Some have been in the trenches for decades, some made a comeback, and some served on the Board for the first time – to all, “Thank You” from the bottom of my heart.

I want to acknowledge the trustees as well – Drs. Andreea Nastasoiu, Tatyana Budarina, Alyssa Pack, Kathryn Ordonez, Sloan Rajadhyksha, Erin Swift. I appreciate everything you’ve done for the Society in this past year and all the hard work you put in to ensure the advancement of our great profession.

A big heartfelt thank you to our one and only, Nancy-Jo Sinkiewicz! She’s been the constant over all these years and the face of our Society! Thank you, NJ, for all of your hard work and dedication! You made my presidency so much easier.

Thank you to all Society members who generously volunteered their time in so many ways – going to Sacramento to talk to our political leaders about optometry on Legislative Day; all the calls and emails to our local senators and governor to support AB 2236; volunteering at LOVC, mobile clinic, and veterans’ event, recruiting new members – you were all instrumental in making this Society shine!

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for continuing to honor our profession through your membership. Your continued support says you’re invested in the betterment of our profession and our community, and in serving our patients in the end. And to take it a step further, I would strongly encourage you to join the Board of Directors in 2023! There are many reasons why you should join the board – like learning patience, how to run a meeting of people who don’t work for you, or how to ask for money, and stretching your intellectual and emotional muscles – but most of all, you will fall more in love with your organization. The closer you are to the work of your society, the more passionate you will become. And you will feel another emotion. You will feel lucky to be part of this society, organization, and profession.

I hope I will see many of you at our Holiday Brunch on December 4th at Farmer and the Seahorse. Let’s get together one more time this year, and celebrate all of our accomplishments in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Thank you for the honor of being your President. I look forward to an exciting new year with Dr. Beverly Bianes as your new President for 2023, and wish her all the best!



President’s Message

This month’s message is dedicated to our wonderful Sponsors.

San Diego County Optometric Society has been recognized for so long as one the largest and successful societies in the state of California. This recognition is, in part, thanks to our long relationship with our Sponsors, and their generous financial support to our society. Their sponsorship enables us to provide continuing education events for our members, fund our public awareness projects and advocacy efforts, memberships drives, and other SDCOS events. They also extend discounts to members for using their products and provide resources for building optometric practices.

As the tradition has it, in October we hold the Sponsor appreciation dinner. The past two years were a challenge to stay in touch with them because of mostly virtual meetings, but this year we are finally getting together in-person again. The Board of Directors, on behalf of the entire society, invited all of our sponsor to a dinner to thank them and show them our appreciation for their support. I encourage you to also extend your thanks and take time to speak with them when you see them at our continuing education events, or they stop by your clinics. It is important they feel the love and they continue to support our society.

Our society is strong and successful because of our Sponsors. I will make sure the relationship with them continues, and I hope you will do the same. They are invaluable to our society, but also to your practices, and, in the end, to our patients.

President’s Message

August marks the beginning of a new school year, and it only makes sense for us to dub it the National Eye Exam Month! I know, you heard it many times already, but it’s never enough to bring awareness even among us, the eyecare professionals, of the importance of the eye exam especially in the school-age population. As back-to-school season gets underway, now is the time to get parents to schedule their child’s comprehensive eye exam. It is a fact well known that children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life, developmentally, academically, and socially. And what’s becoming even more worrisome now is the effect of the pandemic on children’s eyes as remote learning and increased screen time was ‘the norm’ since 2020. Researchers around the world are closely watching for a potential ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic as un uptick in vision problems in children. Myopia is one of those concerning conditions. In a Jama Ophthalmology article in January 2021, it was noted that “home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to be associated with a myopic shift for children aged 6-8 years…increasing myopia prevalence up to 3 times” (Jama Ophtalmol. “Progression of myopia in school-aged children after Covid-19 home confinement”, January 14, 2021).

This statistic alone compelled me more than ever this year to promote children’s eye comprehensive examination as the new school year starts! And I hope you will do the same! The American Optometric Association has many resources helping us to educate the community on this topic. Check out their website here Children’s Vision | AOA to see how you can make it really easy to incorporate it into your practices without even speaking a word, but just with digital and/or printed content that can easily be displayed in your waiting rooms. Let’s be the best eyecare professionals out there and prevent unnecessary blindness!

On another note, I am not sure how many of you know, but COA together with AOA launched this summer, more exactly on July 1st, a membership pilot program that will test flat dues for new incoming members. After some surveys performed by COA, it was learned that the cost was the main barrier to membership, and they want to test if this is really true. Hence the pilot program. It will run from July 1st to December 31st, 2022. The COA’s pilot marketing campaign is “We’re Stronger Together”, and the main goal is to increase CA’s market share! It will also track indicators in the areas of recruitment, retention, engagement, and satisfaction. Marketing materials went out already to non-members, and there are some benefits for current members that attract new members under this pilot program! If you want more information about this, don’t hesitate to write to us at!

Please note that our next LIVE event is Sunday, August 21st, for our first 5-hr CE in over two years! You can still register here SDCOS 5-Hour IN-PERSON August 21, 2022 – Diego County Optometric Society. The Sponsors are also eager to reconnect with the optometric community, so I hope I see lots of you on Sunday the 21st!

Enjoy the rest of the summer season!


President’s Message

Welcome New Graduates!

It’s June, and every year two things really mark this month: beginning of summer season and graduation! Graduation is an exciting time – it marks both an ending and a beginning; it’s warm memories of the past and big dreams for the future. In the United States, twenty-three schools of optometry will graduate around two thousand or even more new optometrists this year. As they make the transition from being a student to being a full-fledged doctor, one cannot help but feel extreme joy and anxiety at the same time. For many graduates and residents finished with their training, the feeling of excitement may give way to some feelings of anxiety as the reality of finding a new job and impeding student loan payments set in.

This is where the organized community of optometry comes in to help. The California Optometric Association (COA) offers free membership for the new graduate until the end of the graduating year. COA has a wealth of information for new graduates through their CA OD Resource Guide. There is an entire section titled “step-by-step for new ODs” with a checklist on how to get the state license, DEA number, NPI, become a provider for difference insurance plans, and getting started in a practice. Additionally, COA offers classifieds and job matching services to connect those looking to hire an OD or sell a practice with those seeking employment or a new practice.

At a more local level, San Diego County Optometric Society (SDCOS) is also a resource for new graduates. Our Society’s Optometric Relations Liaison, Dr. David Sherman coordinates local doctors seeking full or part-time positions and fill-in work, as well as those interested in purchasing, partnering, or selling a practice. Please contact Dr. Sherman if you would like his assistance ( Furthermore, Dr. Jennifer Chinn ( and Dr. David Ardakani ( serve as Society Membership Liaisons – they can also help with networking and connecting new members with current SDCOS members. The COA and SDCOS are here to help!

I will end with the quote from Nelson Mandela that stuck with me since my own graduation… “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

So, let’s congratulate the 2022 Optometric Graduates! And so the adventure begins!


President’s Message

Healthy Vision Month is celebrated every year in May to stress the importance of the health of our eyes. This month was established by the National Eye Institute in 2003 and aims to spread awareness and educate people about the risks of ignoring the health of their eyes.

Promoting the importance of healthy vision and regular eye examinations is a daily undertaking for doctors of optometry, but it’s a message that’s especially strong in May.

Here are just a few interesting historical facts about the eye.

The first record of the treatment of eye disease dates back to the Ebers Papyrus from Egypt in 1550 B.C. Another early medical text that had extensive info about eye treatment was the “Sushruta Samhita,” an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine and surgery that is considered one of the pillars of Ayurveda, dating back to the 6th century B.C. The Ancient Greeks also made key advances in the understanding of the human eye. The Middle Ages saw the use of the microscopes and lenses to examine the eye and its structure.

In the early 1800, Georg Joseph Beer, an Austrian ophthalmologist, is credited with introducing a flap operation for treatment of cataracts, as well as popularizing the instrument used to perform the surgery. In 1931, Vladimir Petrovich Filatov became the first person to perform a successful corneal transplant. Charles Schepens founded the Retina Foundation in 1950 (now known as Schepens Eye Research Institute). Ioannis Pallikaris, a Greek surgeon, performed the first Lasik surgery in 1989.

All this proves how steady research was in the field of the treatment of the human eye. And more remains to be discovered. According to a survey conducted by the National Eye Institute, more than 23 million Americans aged 18 and above have never undergone an eye exam. And the reason is that most think they don’t have an eye problem. This attitude can have consequences in the future. Surveys further suggest that by 2030, approximately 4.2 million people will have glaucoma, 11.5 million will have diabetic retinopathy, and 2.8 million will have age-related macular degeneration.

In support of Healthy Vision Month in May, the American Optometric Association is encouraging everyone to take charge of their eye health and preserve their sight by following some simple tips. Here are just a few:

  • Get regular dilated eye examinations from an eye care professional
  • Live a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritious foods, abstaining from smoking, and manage chronic conditions.
  • Know your family history because many eye diseases are hereditary.
  • Use protective eyewear to prevent injuries on the job, while playing sports or doing simple chores around the home.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

How to observe Healthy Vision Month

  • Share the message on social media. The NEI provides a number of social posts – for both Facebook and Twitter – that can be used by doctors, practices and organizations. Graphics – infographs and infographics – and videos are also available for distribution on the NEI website. Use the hashtag #HealthyVision or #HealthyVisionMonth.
  • Use your organization’s communication power – if your practice has a newsletter, blog or website, use pre-drafted email newsletter content (also found on NEI resource page) or drop-in article to spread the message.
  • Host an event. Get active about promoting healthy vision in your community. Maybe at you kid’s soccer game, or at the church you go on Sundays.

These messages about the importance of eye health are significant to doctors of optometry and the AOA all year round. Many patient education materials supporting the pillars of Healthy Vision Month—such as booklets on nutrition and the importance of proper sunglasses—are available through the NEI website and the AOA marketplace.

For this Healthy Vision Month, let’s take care of our eyes to make them last a lifetime.

Thank you for reading the newsletter. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at with any questions you may have!

Best wishes,


President’s Message

April has traditionally been that time of the year that we, as an organization, gather at the Capitol in Sacramento to discuss with our local lawmakers the bills we are working on for the year. And we are finally ready again to meet in person with our lawmakers, this time on June 27th! Previously thought it will be virtual once again, we are finally back in person. And we need your support more than ever as this is also an election year, and also, as I learned recently at the most recent Presidents’ council meeting, an unusual high number of influential lawmakers are leaving the Capitol this year, either because they are retiring, or running for higher office. Therefore, we need to be there in great numbers to put the face to our profession, and either strengthen or build new relationships with lawmakers. We don’t think often about this, but legislation has always been an important part of how we, as optometrists, are able to practice to the full scope of our training while increasing access to patients who benefit from our clinical expertise.

As with previous years, COA has put together an agenda outlining which bills it supports and how we, as primary eye care providers, can engage with our local legislators.

Here is a summary:

Scope of practice expansion (AB 2236) – For more than 20 years, patients in other states can go to their local optometrist to get the latest glaucoma treatment using lasers and remove small non-cancerous lesions from around the eye. COA is seeking legislation to allow optometrists to perform these procedures in California. We have a shortage of physicians that is getting worse because of the pandemic. A report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects that the United States will face a shortage of between 54,100 and 139,000 physicians by 2033. At the same time, a higher percentage of people are over the age 65 and will need more eye care. We are extensively trained and can help elevate the doctor shortage if state law restrictions were removed.

Medi-Cal reimbursement rate increase – Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for optometric services have not been increased in over 20 years. In addition to the impact of inflation, optometrists have experienced increased costs because of the pandemic. As much as they want to, many optometrists can’t continue to accept Medi-Cal patients when reimbursement is far below the cost of providing care. Even though we live in a state with some of the highest overhead costs, California has the third worst Medicaid reimbursement rate for eye exams in the nation. The Medi-Cal reimbursement for a new patient exam and refraction is $47 where the national Medicaid average is $105. The average cost of an eye exam for a new patient with no insurance in California today is about $200. That is a significant difference that can’t be made up in volume.

PIA Eyeglasses (SB 1089) – The Prison Industry Authority (PIA) which fabricates eyeglasses for Medi-Cal recipients has had pandemic related closures at its prison facilities. As a result, an already significant turn-around wait time of 4-6 weeks has been more than doubled in some areas. The requirement to use the PIA to obtain eyeglasses is causing optometrists to stop accepting Medi-Cal because of the hassle involved. Poor children deserve timely, quality eyeglasses that are consistent with community durability standards. This new legislation would give patients an option to get their eyeglasses outside the PIA system.

Waiver of licensure fees for military personnel (SB 1237) – SB 1588 (Atkins) was signed into law in 2012 to require state licensure boards to waive the renewal fees, continuing education requirements, and other renewal requirements of any licensee who is called to active duty as a member of the US Armed Forces. The fee waiver has been interpreted by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to apply only if the licensee has had a “temporary” change in assignment to a remote location. DCA has ruled that “military personnel that have orders to serve in a permanent, career position at a base are not ‘called to active duty’ within the meaning of the exemption in AB 1588.” The COA is sponsoring SB 1237 (Newman) to waive the license renewal fee for any active-duty military licensee who is stationed outside of California, not just someone who was “called to active duty.” It’s unfair to require someone in the military to pay for a license that they must maintain, but can’t currently use. While fees are waived, no private practice of any type would be permitted. This bill would save optometry service members that are permanently stationed outside of California $425 every two years in renewal fees. We need to make sure our optometry military service members are not paying for a license they can’t use!

Temporary License Expansion (SB 509) – SB 509 (Wilk) was an urgency bill that was signed into law in 2021 to create a “temporary license” that allows an optometry school graduate to practice under the supervision of an optometrist or ophthalmologist if the graduate is unable to immediately take the required examination for licensure due to COVID-19. This new legislation would expand SB 509 to other declared state of emergencies beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The intent is to allow a pathway to licensure in case of a future disasters that could cause the closure of the only testing site in Charlotte, North Carolina. SB 509 had no opposition and passed without any “no” votes.

Please consider joining us for Legislative Day, even if it is your first time! Every doctor makes us stronger! COA will walk you through all critical legislation beforehand. We will cover your travel costs for this day trip to the capitol. If you feel intimidated by the idea of discussing legislation with your local lawmakers in person, you can help via email. COA has on their website letters for each bill, ready to be personalized and sent out. Just log in to, and follow the links under Government Affairs > Contact Your Legislator.

Ready to win one for optometry? Feel free to contact me at to learn how, and become a key to COA’s ongoing legislative success!

President’s Message

2022 California Optometric Association House of Delegates Report

The 2022 COA House of Delegates met for its annual meeting on February 10th and 12th. Although originally scheduled to take place in person in San Diego, in the end it was decided to be held virtually once again due to a rise in cases of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron. Hopefully, this will be the last time when it will be held via Zoom.

First off, I would like to congratulate our own Dr. Amanda Dexter for becoming the next COA President! We thank her for the relentless efforts and support to our local society, and now at state level. Well done, Dr. Dexter! We’re looking forward to your leadership!

Here are the highlights of the meeting.

On Membership – the pandemic took a toll on our revenue in 2020. As you are aware, dues were waived for all members for 2 months in 2020. In addition, over 300 dues waivers were applied in 2020. The good news is that dues grew nearly 3% in 2021, meaning we are starting to bounce back, and approach pre-pandemic levels. One aspect that you might not be aware is that maturing membership base and retirements cause a decrease in membership revenues. On the flip side, the ascending scale allows more new graduates to be retained and lead to full dues-paying membership.

The COA is working hard in engaging the students and the young ODs. In 2021 a few virtual events were created for them (i.e., New Grads, Careers and Networking, Town Hall, ODs on Finance) where close to 100 participants were present at each event. COA offers support to the young ODs with dedicated staff and student relations team. Outreach is achieved in numerous ways through student hub, OD resource guide, free COA events, and a student community on the COA app. And if you were not aware yet, yes, there’s in app for COA available now in the app store! COA member community will provide engagement opportunities for societies, teams, and subcommunities!!

COA will also start some pilot programs this year to better understand the market, conduct an analysis on members and non-members, and learn how it can provide more tangible benefits to increase market share. Measuring the CA OD market, we will hope to answer some questions on what is the perception of COA in the marketplace, and what benefits do CA ODs value and want.

Stay tuned for this survey coming out Spring/Summer 2022. Please participate in it, as it will have an impact on how COA moves forward.

On Advocacy – some important legislation was passed in 2021. AB 407 extended the scope of practice by eliminating the restrictive list of “allowed” drugs and conditions, and also authorized treatment of anterior segment conditions and IPL. Another law, AB 1534, prohibits now corporations that contract with physicians’ groups from interfering in an optometrist’s professional judgement. Law AB 691 was passed as well authorizing ODs to administer COVID-19 vaccines and perform CLIA-waived COVID-19 testing. And finally, SB 509 allows optometry school graduates to temporarily practice under supervision if they are unable to take NBEO Part III because of COVID-19.

In 2022, the COA’s advocacy will continue with priorities in scope expansion, Medi-Cal reimbursement rate increase, PIA-lab choice under Medi-Cal, and military personnel fee waiver.

On Health Care Delivery System – COA maintained relationships with VSP, EyeMed, and IEHP; it developed new relationships with Versant and Envolve; addressed billing issues of COA members; conducted membership survey on medical optometry. The priorities in 2022 are to develop more relationships with health plans, and communicate the value of optometry integration.

On Children’s Vision – The mission of COA Children’s Vision Team is to ensure children receive regular comprehensive eye exams. A social media campaign is being promoted as it’s a quick and easy way to spread the word about the importance of children’s eye exams. COA has created social media images for you to share with your patients. COA is also creating a directory of COA member optometrists who provide vision care to children. We plan to make this list available to parents and other health care providers. If you would like to be included, please complete the questionnaire on the COA website. And let’s not forget about the InfantSee program by Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation. It is designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an integral part of infant wellness care to improve a child’s quality of life. Consider joining this program as well.

The priorities for 2022 are to create a children’s vision directory, and the launch of “Little Eye Pods” podcast. Stay tuned!

On Public Vision League – in 2021 COA reviewed the health plan contracts for legal compliance; intervened in litigation to ensure ODs can choose a fair and neutral arbitrator in disputes with health care plans; answered over 300 legal questions from COA members.

2022 priorities are looking for opportunities to advance and protect optometry through litigation.

On California Vision Foundation – COA continued the partnership with helping Healing California organization by providing optometry and staff volunteers at free clinics across the country. If you’re not aware already, Healing California is a non-profit organization that provides free, quality dental, medical, and vision care to those in need in California. For vision services, they set up complete vision exam stations and a lens lab where volunteer optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians, and lab techs provide full exams and fabricate custom prescription eyeglasses on-site. Please consider volunteer.

On a last note, the COA finance team together with the COA board of trustees made the decision to sell the COA office building – 2415 K St, Sacramento. The team found that the income projections for leasing the building against the costs to maintain and service the building were not substantial enough to warrant keeping the building as an asset. The team recommended the board to consider creating a task force to oversee the sale of the building, including financial options, and the appropriate allocation of the proceeds from the sale.

The next COA event will be Legislative Day on June 13 – 21 as a virtual program. I encourage as many of you to participate as possible as there are many optometric issues of the day to be discussed with our elected legislators. COA will teach us about the issues in the morning, supplying us with talking points regarding bills that could potentially threaten our profession, as well as bills that would allow us increased freedom of practice. Being virtual, it will be even easier to participate. Please let me know if you are interested!

Thank you for reading the newsletter. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!

Best wishes,


President’s Message

February is usually the month when California Optometric Association (COA) holds the House of Delegates (HOD) meeting. COA represents more than 2,500 optometrists in the state, plus more than 1,000 students of optometry. The association is governed by its members — doctors of optometry like you — who are elected to leadership on the board of trustees, and who are appointed to statewide committees. Local society members convene annually at the COA House of Delegates meeting to represent their society membership and to conduct association business.

I would like to share my personal story how I first became a delegate, and how that later got me involved with the SDCOS board and finally became its President.

I have been practicing optometry since 2004, and I have been a member of AOA and of local societies at state levels since then in NY, NJ, and finally CA. But I have never been involved more than paying my dues. If I’m honest, I think I even lapsed in paying dues on time a couple of times! I did not have the time nor the desire to get more involved. But I just knew, for whatever reason, that I do have to be part of organized optometry, even in a passive way.

Then 2019 came. It was January, we were at the Handlery Hotel for the two-hour CE night, and I remember Dr. Grazian, the President at that time, making an announcement that he has a few more spots open for the House of Delegates, and if anyone wishes to join the list, to let him know. I raised my hand. Next thing I knew I was in San Francisco holding a name tag with my name that had attached to it a beautiful red ribbon saying “delegate”.

Why all of a sudden, I was interested to get more involved in organized optometry? Well, for one, I had more time on my hands. After a few years of struggling health issues, and finally a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease that was ravaging my body, I had to give up practicing optometry, at first, full time, then, part-time, then, the occasional fill-in until I started to feel disconnected from the profession. And that’s when I decided to re-connect with it in a different way. First, I raised my hand to become a Delegate which, in turn, made me join the Board for SDCOS as a trustee, and shortly after, join the Executive Board. I turned an adversity into an opportunity.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “delegate” as “a person acting for another; a person who is chosen or elected to vote or act for others”. I took my role very seriously. I was representing SDCOS! I was voting on behalf of the other 200+ members of SDCOS! That’s when I also learned that our association was one of the largest in the state, and therefore having a large number of delegates representing it. And that is an important fact because that means we, SDCOS, have weight when it comes to vote for the COA trustees to further become executive officers that will shape the future of optometry in California. And so, it dawned on me that we have a loud voice in the governance of COA!

So, I challenge you to raise your hand! Join the board, learn how and why organized optometry is important, have a voice. Turn your adversity into opportunity. You’ll be surprised at what you might discover.