February 6, 2019

ARBO: Celebrating 100 Years

2019 is a landmark year for ARBO as we commemorate our 100th anniversary!  ARBO is one of the oldest continuously operating organizations in optometry and our mission of assisting licensing boards hasn’t changed since we began.  For 100 years, we’ve provided our members with programs and services to assist in evolving the effectiveness and competence of the licensing boards.  In this day of high-speed technology, it seems that companies come and go all the time.  One hundred years is not just a milestone birthday, but an indicator that this organization is well-grounded and necessary. 

During these past 100 years, the thousands of people that have been involved with ARBO have provided great insight and leadership for optometry.  ARBO began as the International Association of Boards (IAB) in 1919. The early leaders had a vision—to create a venue to bring boards of optometry together to create uniformity, share knowledge, and advance optometric regulation for the benefit of the public.

Our name was changed to the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) in 1999, but our focus remains the same.  Regulatory boards today continue to be presented with many challenges, and experience is a great teacher.  For 100 years, ARBO has served its member boards well by developing programs to help ease the burden on regulatory boards and by being a conduit of information regarding licensure and regulation. 

ARBO can look to its history and view many instances of great wisdom.  In many cases, the issues that were raised by ARBO leaders were ahead of their time, and ahead of the thinking of the majority of the profession. Today, the possibilities for the future of optometry remain as exciting as our early leaders envisioned.  However, efforts at deregulation and ever diminishing resources in governmental budgets and all of health care will continue to have an impact on our future progress.

We will look to the next century as a great challenge for optometry and ARBO must keep advancing as well to protect the public we all serve.  To commemorate ARBO’s past accomplishments and its historical significance to present-day optometry, we invite you to attend our 100th Annual Meeting, June 16-18, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.  Please join us for our centennial meeting as we look back, see ahead, and work together to create a 20/20 vision for the next century of ARBO.  We look forward to seeing you there!