New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA)


Imagine a world where:

  • Opticians could refract

  • Reimbursements for ocular procedures received by optometrists were half of that received by ophthalmologists

  • It would be the norm for insurance companies to discriminate against optometrists

  • Optometrists could not treat a wide range of ocular conditions such as glaucoma or an infection of the eye

Without organizations such as the NYSOA, this world would most certainly be a reality.  That’s why we need your involvement!               


What is the NYSOA student society?

The NYSOA student society is the student chapter of the NYSOA.  The NYSOA or New York State Optometric Association was founded in 1895 which has the primary role in the ophthalmic community of promoting the profession of optometry in New York State from representing optometry legislatively in the state assembly to publicly through different community awareness and education programs.  Other roles of the NYSOA include organizing continued education, addressing current professional concerns, mediating relationships between doctors and ophthalmic companies, and promoting ways to include care of excellence to all of its members.
If you are a student at the State University of New York’s College of Optometry, then you are already a member of the NYSOA student society, dues are included in the student activity fee.  If you are not a SUNY Optometry student and would like to become a NYSOA student society member, you may do so online at the NYSOA’s website. 

Apply Online

The NYSOA student society is one out of sixteen chapters of the NYSOA, see below a map of New York State to obtain a clearer idea where all the societies are located.

What is the relation between the NYSOA, AOSA and AOA?


Just as the NYSOA has sixteen chapters, the AOA (American Optometric Association) at a national level has 50 state chapters, the NYSOA is one of those chapters.  As a student at the SUNY State College of Optometry, you will automatically be a NYSOA student society member and an AOSA member.  As students, we are part of the AOSA, which is branch of the AOA.  It is not until we become licensed optometrists that we become a direct AOA member.  You cannot be an AOA member without belonging to your local state optometric society, so in reality, the organizations go hand in hand.

The AOA’s purpose is to represent the profession of optometry at a national level, while the state optometric society like the NYSOA represents optometry at a state level.  The distinction between the AOSA and the AOA is that AOSA’s purpose is to represent the opinion of the students to the AOA at a national level.  The NYSOA student society does much of the same to the NYSOA at a state level.







Summer OFTF Lunch Event: July 10th at 12:00pm in room 206

Class of 2012 Student Orientation:  August 2008

Fall quarter NYSOA Student Society meeting / DN Orientation: September 2008

DN follow-up meetings: September 2008

Student / Representative Connection Day: Late September 2008

Fall OFTF Lunch Event: September 18th at 12:00pm in room 206

PAC support Raffle: October 2008

Winter quarter NYSOA Student society meeting / DN Orientation: December 2008

DN follow-up meetings: December 2008

Winter OFTF Lunch Event

Spring quarter NYSOA Student society meeting / DN Orientation: March 2009

DN follow-up meetings: March 2009

Spring OFTF Lunch Event: Late March 2008

Vision Expo East Student Q&A even: Mid April 2009

Democracy in Action Day orientation: Late April 2009

Democracy in Action Day: Late April 2009

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an OFTF lunch event?

An OFTF lunch event stands for “opportunity for the future” lunch event.  An OFTF is a time when a professional from the ophthalmic community comes into our school and talks to us about what to expect post graduation. 

They are great events to come to absorb as much as you can while getting an idea of what the post graduation world as an optometrist is like.

What is the Doctors’ Network (DN)?

The doctors’ network is a group of NYSOA doctors in New York State willing to take the time to have a SUNY State College of Optometry students shadow their practice.  This is a great way to see where and how you as an optometrist someday want to practice.  The state of New York covers a very diverse range of communities, perfect for students to gain appreciation for each type.  Currently, VSP has generously given the NYSOA a grant to allow students shadow doctors in the doctors’ network with all expenses paid from hotel fees, meals to travel expenses.  Please talk to your student NYSOA representative for more information.  

What is Democracy in Action Day?

Democracy in Action day is an opportunity for students and doctors in the spring to travel to Albany and talk to our state legislature representatives from senators to assembly men and women about current bills concerning optometry.  For example, currently in New York State the orals bill has still not become law.  New York State is one of the last states in doing so.  Our diligence and encouragement to our legislature on Democracy in Action day will hopefully help optometry in key bills like the orals bill.

Do you still have a question unanswered?

If you have a question about the NYSOA student society or any of their events?  Please email them to the Student Society President.  Thank you

Meet the Leadership Team


Paul Heeg
Student society president and NYSOA trustee

Paul grew up near Albany, NY and received a B.S. in Economics from SUNY Albany.  Currently he is a third year student at SUNY optometry.  Paul hopes to do a residency upon graduation but has not made plans as to where to practice someday.  Paul is eager to serve the student society as president and plans to promote the NYSOA as much as possible to the student body.



Daniel Kirchheimer
Student society president-elect NYSOA trustee-elect

Dan is Native to the Binghamton area in NY and attended SUNY Binghamton where he received his B.A. in Biology.  Dan plans on returning to the Binghamton area upon graduation and start practicing.  Dan is very excited to be the next NYSOA student society president in 2009 and hopes to make a lasting impact on the future optometrists of New York State.



Elaine Lin
Class of 2011 and 2012 liaison

Elaine grew up northwest of New York City around the Spring Valley area.  Elaine received a B.A. in Chemistry from NYU and is currently a second year student who is in addition to obtaining her doctorate of optometry, is obtaining her masters of science in vision from SUNY Optometry.  Elaine is happy to help the first and second years with any questions they may have with NYSOA related events and activities.