January 1999 was celebrated throughout the United States as National Opticians Month. Gary R. Aiken of Minnetonka, Minnesota, was president of the Opticians Association of America, which sponsored the observance. I believe he addressed Mr. Bill Clinton, the president at the time with this moving statement.
Nearly all Americans aged 65 or older require some help to see their best and sixty percent of Americans wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. Opticians, skilled in fitting and dispensing eyeglasses and contact lenses, provide the expert assistance we need to make the most of our vision. Technology has brought us literally thousands of possible combinations of eyeglass frames and lenses and an array of contact lenses. Dispensing opticians play a pivotal role in guiding eyewear customers to the combination which exactly fits their need. Through formal education programs, voluntary national certification and mandatory licensing in many states, and programs of continuing education, dispensing opticians acquire the skills and competence to correctly, efficiently and effectively fill eyewear prescriptions. At the same time, retail opticians are an important part of our nations small business community and provide the competitive balance which keeps eyewear affordable for all Americans. It is a pleasure to acknowledge the important role of dispensing opticians as they assist us all in making the most of our precious eyesight. I commend them for their efforts and congratulate Gary Aiken and the members of the Opticians Association of America for their accomplishments.-Mr. Grams, Minnesota Senator
Thank you Mr. Gary Aiken, your words have inspired me and many other optical professionals to provide our patients with the best eyecare we can give them.