As Hurricane Harvey continues to pound southeastern Texas and eyes Louisiana, the American Optometric Association (AOA) asks optometrists to join in helping ODs and optometry students affected by the storm.
Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief, part of Optometry Cares—the AOA Foundation, provides immediate assistance to ODs in need following natural disasters.
“This program is open to all ODs,” says AOA President Christopher J. Quinn, OD. “You don’t have to be an AOA member to apply or to receive assistance. We encourage anyone with an immediate need to apply.”
The fund was established in 2005 to help ODs after Hurricane Katrina hit the southeastern United States.
According to Dr. Quinn, the fund helped ODs after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy as well as during 2016 flooding in Louisiana.
“The Fund for Disaster Relief been essential to a lot of people who identified themselves affected with immediate needs in their practices,” he says.
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To date, the fund has provided more than $579,600 to ODs hit by natural disasters, according to the AOA.
For ODs affected by Hurricane Harvey, help can be a click away.
Applications for disaster relief are available online or through an AOA state affiliate office.
Dr. Quinn says after an application is received, the process will move forward quickly.
“It’s a simple process,” he says, “and we pride ourselves on making quick decisions with rapid turnaround. We’re talking days. For these doctors, their immediate needs can be critical. Perhaps the grants aren’t as large as they might get from insurance, but we want this to be as immediate relief as possible.”
Due to the possibility of disrupted mail delivery during the storm and its aftermath, the AOA is coordinating alternative methods of fund disbursal. ODs are able to receive a check via a local society president or a designee who has not been affected by the disaster, for example.