AOA+ Survival Guide



The AOA/AOSA conference, also known as Optometry’s Meeting, is one of the premier optometry meetings that takes place each year. This year’s meeting, which runs from June 21-25 in Washington D.C. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is shaping up to be the best one yet! Optometry’s Meeting provides a premier opportunity to educate and improve ourselves to be the best clinicians possible. The conference will be filled with world-class CE lectures, outstanding networking opportunities, and unforgettable social events for all to enjoy.


Us Capitol building, Washington D.C.

AOA+ is an event taking place before the AOA meeting, designed specifically with optometry students in mind. The AOA+ “Rally on the Hill” will run from 1:00-1:45 pm on Wednesday, June 21 before the Opening Reception of Optometry’s Meeting. This rally is meant for optometrists and optometry students to advocate for our profession. After all, optometry is a legislative profession.

Below is a “survival guide” of key things students should know prior to heading to our nation’s capitol.

Dress Code

Dress for AOA+ and Optometry’s Meeting is business casual. Ladies (and gents), make sure to wear comfortable shoes for the Rally on Capitol Hill, especially if you plan on walking from the Convention Center to the Rally! Click here for a useful guide on what to pack for AOA+ and Optometry’s Meeting!


Registration for AOA+ attendees is from 8:00am – 12:00pm on Wednesday, June 21 in the Convention Center. Use the Mt. Vernon entrance, and registration is in the Grand Lobby (West end of the Convention Center). Pick up your registration badge before heading to the Rally!

Free AOA+ t-Shirts!

Get your AOA+ t-shirt on Saturday, June 23, from 8:00am – 12:00pm at AOA Central in the Exhibit Hall. Better yet, there will also be an espresso machine. Is there anything better than free shirts + espresso?

Don’t Be Late!

Make sure you make it to all AOA+ required events (see below) on time to get credit for attending and receive your travel grant. DO NOT SKIP A REQUIRED EVENT!

It takes about 10 minutes to get to the Rally from the convention center via Uber/Lyft/taxi. There is a circle drive that you can be dropped off/picked-up in (see map below). It’s also an easy walk, taking approximately 15-30 min.

Please realize, there will be nearly 2,500 people JUST FOR OPTOMETRY on Capitol Hill on June 21. So if you plan on taking an Uber/Lyft/taxi, there could be hundreds of others doing the same. In other words, make sure to plan ahead…walking may be a better option than using a vehicle.

Claiming Your Travel Grant

You will have to be checked in to all required events. Travel grants will be distributed during the Leadership Link event on Thursday June 22, 2017. Bring registration badge and photo ID (driver’s license or school ID). Would you rather skip the line and have your check mailed to you? Complete this short form (, and your check will be mailed out right after the meeting!

If you have not attended Optometry’s Meeting before as a doctor of optometry, you are eligible for a $250 gift card.  Just follow the same criteria listed above and you will receive your gift card onsite during Leadership Link.

Required Events (muy importante!)

WEDNESDAY June 21, 2017

Registration / Badge Pick-up

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Grand Lobby – West End (Enter through Mount Vernon Entrance)

8:00 AM – 12:00 PM


Rally for Optometry

West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol

10 minute Uber/Lyft/Taxi or 25-30 minute walk from the Convention Center

1:00 PM – 1:45 PM


New Doctor Panel Discussions & Keynote Speech from Alexa Von Tobel

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Ballroom AB 

2:30 PM – 4:30 PM 

Opening General Session featuring Dara Torres

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Ballroom AB

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM


THURSDAY June 22, 2017

Leadership Link

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Ballroom AB Foyer

11:30 AM – 2:30 PM


AAO_ 2016_UHCO students-1223

About Chris Lopez

A fourth year OD/MS student at the University of Houston College of Optometry, Chris holds multiple positions with Director of Academy Relations, Executive Editor, and Executive Journalist. He is President of Beta Sigma Kappa, Past-National Liaison of the American Optometric Student Association, and is completing his thesis on new diagnostic tests for ocular surface disease. In his personal time, Chris enjoys playing guitar and spending time with his wife Samantha.


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