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TOA Timeline



The Texas Optometric Association has been an essential advocate for Texas optometrists. Today, optometry plays a vital role in Texas's health care system. Below is a timeline demonstrating how far optometry has come since the formation of the Texas Optometric Association in 1900.

Date

Milestone

1900

TOA established

1901

First optometry law in the country passed

1903

First TOA Constitution and By-Laws adopted—W.C. McCahan elected first president

1919

A prominent Texas optometrist was charged with ‘practicing medicine’ for fitting a pair of glasses, giving renewed emphasis to the need for a Texas optometry act

1921

Governor Pat Neff signs first Texas Optometry Act

1923

Mollie Armstrong elected first female president of TOA; the second female optometrist to practice in the country.

1934

TOA Convention first offers continuing education—a complete examining room is set up on stage to demonstrate the in-depth 21 point vision analysis

1936

First ‘Save Your Vision Week’ proclaimed by Gov. James V. Allred

1943

First TOA monthly journal, “The Bulletin” is published

1952

College of Optometry opens at University of Houston; TOA pledges $100K

1963

UHCO becomes a state-supported school

1969

Texas Optometry law significantly revised and modernized with TOA support

1981

Optometry Act reviewed under Sunset for the first time, resulting, at TOA’s urging, in passage of the optometry “Bill of Rights” which contains provisions designed to prevent optical companies from influencing the professional judgment of optometrists.

1981

“Clayton Compromise” passes as an amendment to the Medical Practices Act allowing optometrists to use diagnostic eyedrops under a standing delegation order from a physician. This is made possible when Speaker Bill Clayton refused to pass the Sunset bill for medicine until a provision for optometry is added during a special session.

1987

AOA and TOA successfully lobby Congress to include optometrists as physicians in Medicare.

1989

TOA successfully lobbies to include optometrists in Medicaid.

1991

Optometrists win the right to independently administer all diagnostic eyedrops and most topical eyedrops, including topical steroids.

1993

TOA successfully defends attacks on the optometry law "Bill of Rights" during the Sunset process.

1997

Texas Contact Lens Act passes, striking a balance between patient’s rights to contact lens prescriptions and doctor’s concerns for public safety.

1999

TOA lobbies the legislature to allow optometrists to prescribe oral medications and treat glaucoma.

2001

Optometry law profession united by eliminating reference to different optometry associations.

2001

Law is passed to allow optometrists and physicians to practice in partnerships.

2001

TOA successfully fends off attacks from 1-800CONTACTS to weaken the Texas Contact Lens law.

2003

TOA passes ‘Eyecare Savings Bill’ which requires insurance medical panels to accept optometrists who are on that company’s vision panels.

2007

TOA passes Medicaid "Direct Access" bill, allowing Medicaid patients to see optometrists without referrals from primary care physicians.

2009

TOA passes contact lens bill to insure that optometrists can prescribe, dispense and sell medical contact lenses to patients.

2009

TOA passes bill for optometrists to authorize Handicap Parking Permits.

2011

Bill prohibits insurance plans from requiring an optometrist to accept a particular vision plan in order to join or remain on the company's medical plan.

2013

Law passes expediting credentialing of optometrists on managed care plans.

2013 Law prohibits managed care plans from requiring discounts on non-covered services and products.
2015 Law repeals the $200 'Occupations Tax' assessed on optometry licenses.
2015 Law Prohibits insurance companies from controlling optometry, employing optometrists, or requiring specific labs or materials.
2015 Law allows optometrists who join an existing practice to join that practice's insurance plans.