Latinos En Optometry, also known as LEO, has launched to support Latinos in eye care and those who serve Latino communities. Diana Canto-Sims, OD, CEO and founder of La Vida Eyewear and co-owner of Buena Vista Optical in Chicago, and Lawrence Chavez, founder and CEO of EveryDay Contacts, Inc., founded Latinos En
Optometry in 2021 to support Latino optometry students, provide resources and communications for Latinos in optometry and the eye care community who serve the Latino community, to be a conduit between the Latino community and the eye care industry, and to provide continuing education to all of optometry.
“We are excited to begin building Latinos En Optometry and sharing the resources and connections that will help better address the eye care needs of the Latino community and especially the doctors who serve the Latino community,” says Chavez. “We are committed to creating generational change to better serve the needs of Latinos now and 20 years from now,” Chavez added.
GROWING LATINO COMMUNITY
The Latino community continues to grow as a percentage of the U.S. population, representing 19% as of the 2020 Census and according to U.S. Census Bureau projections, Latinos are expected to be 21% by 2030. According to the National Eye Institute, the Latino population has some of the highest rates of vision loss and blindness caused by eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. This represents an ever-increasing need for Latino doctors of optometry, opticians, other eye care professionals and products that specifically address the needs of the Latino community.
“LEO will be a vibrant, engaging, growing organization to support you as you develop your optometric practice, your career, your life. We are planning our 2023 events now and are open to ideas that will support, develop, and serve our membership, the Latino community and the eye care industry,” says Dr. Canto-Sims, OD. “We are planning an introductory event at Vision Expo East in March and hope you will join us.”
The Latinos En Optometry Board
Other board members are Howard Purcell, OD, president and CEO of the New England College of Optometry; Hector Santiago, OD, PhD, professor and director of research activities at Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry; Glenda Aleman-Moheeputh, OD, founder and CEO of OK Love Myopia Control Experts, Karen Carrasquillo, OD, PhD, senior vice president clinical and professional affairs at BostonSight, and Diana Shechtman, OD, FAAO, Optometric Retinal Society.