Dear Fellow Optician...


Dear Fellow Optician,

I wanted to take a moment to reintroduce you to an old friend, the Tennessee Dispensing Opticians Association. We are a non-profit professional organization that is dedicated to the Licensed Optician in the great state of Tennessee. We are the watch dog for measures that threaten the licensed status for Opticians in TN. I wanted to take just a moment to share with you the importance of our existence and explain that when you choose to get your continuing education with us that your dollars go to so much more than funding continuing education.We were founded in 1951 and our Mission Statement is simple:

“To improve and promote the welfare of dispensing opticians, to protect the public against unscrupulous practices in ophthalmic dispensing, to establish proper qualifications and experience, to set up a code of standards and ethics for the conduct and guidance of dispensing opticians, to continue legislation for maintaining a State Board of Dispensing Opticians and for licensing dispensing opticians, to assist the authorities in enforcing such legislation whenever and wherever enacted, to instill mutual understanding and friendship among dispensing opticians, to inspire in the public, by appropriate means, confidence in dispensing opticians, and to further any other purposes like or similar to the aforementioned.”

Since the existence of our organization we have faced many challenges for Opticianry in Tennessee. We have seen the building of an educational program developed at Roane State Community College as well as formalization of the apprenticeship program. We have survived the possible discontinuation of our state licensing board. We met on capital hill with our legislators and in a rapidly changing political climate where Americans are demanding immediate reduction of unnecessary government spending. We continue to face present challenges daily. Today, in the state of Tennessee a license is still required to fit and dispense eye wear, and your pay still reflects its worth.

There is a definite increase in the popularity of online ordering. This changes the perception of the necessity for Opticians to be licensed at all in any state. There are many companies who would love to participate in online sales of eye wear and the elimination of licensing requirements would open the door for these efforts. Currently the Federal Trade commission is researching to see if certain policies need to be simplified for buying contacts and glasses online. Corporations have representatives who are lobbying aggressively to end licensing requirements in the state of Tennessee and across the country!

It is not a matter of pure luck that your pay still reflects the fact we are still a licensed profession in Tennessee. Many of your peers have joined the Tennessee Dispensing Optician Association where they know their dollars are being spent to protect our professional license. I know there are providers who offer lower cost continuing education, I know there are organization who cut corners on the required hours however, I also know that the dollars that are paid to the majority of them do nothing to protect your profession and our patients. There are numerous individuals and dollars out there to protect the corporations’ interest, the board of licensed Opticians exists to protect the public interests. Who is out there defending your interests?

The answer is simple The Tennessee Dispensing Opticians Association. It is our intent to stay the course and through diligence and timely response to issues and concerns take the measures necessary to do our part to protect your profession. We are the only organization who employs our own lobbyist to monitor and fight for us on capital hill.

We serve you but, we need your help. The board of your organization is made up of volunteers that donate their own time and resources to arrange your education classes, write letters and many other tasks necessary in operating a professional organization. They are donating this time directly to you. Your membership dollars go straight to education fees and protecting your profession.

Many of you have come forward and helped us with your continued membership and service. We have grown as an organization through these efforts in 2015. We are making a huge impact but we can do so much more with your help. If each and everyone of you could recruit just one new member we could double our influence on capital hill. There are currently over 900 licensed opticians and apprentices, we have around 425 consistent members on file. Many are benefiting from the efforts of a few. Think what we could do with 600 or 800 members! Won’t you join us in keeping your profession and pay a value to the people of Tennessee?

This is how you can help:

Support the organization that supports you

Explain the urgent need for others to join

Get your CE’s from TDOA.

Volunteer to help on a committee.

Jay Taylor