October 10, 2022

What is ARBO?

What is the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO)?

ARBO represents the national and international regulatory arm of the optometric profession. ARBO serves the regulatory agencies responsible for initial and continued licensure. Those regulatory agencies (State and Provincial Boards of Optometry) are responsible for protecting a very specific subset of the general public – that being the public that the profession serves – optometric patients. These regulatory agencies do not protect or advocate for the profession, the doctors, the educators, or the students – these entities have their own organizations that advocate for them. In order for state and provincial regulatory boards to be effective and responsible for their mission and their public, it is important that there is a well-defined line between advocacy groups and the regulatory boards.

The ARBO is a 501(c)3 corporation. ARBO’s mission is to serve its member regulatory boards. ARBO’s only interests are those of the member boards and of the laws that the boards are charged with enforcing.

ARBO serves to protect its members by acting as a watchdog for regulatory capture. That does not mean that we work against various professional advocacy organizations. We are a proud profession and our professional organizations understand the importance of excellent patient care and protection. In many ways, we fight the same battles for providing quality care for patients. Still, as noted, our roles in the optometric profession are distinctly different and must remain distinctly separate organizations.

ARBO’s purpose is stated in our bylaws (ARTICLE II):

The purpose of this Association shall be to exchange information and engage in programs and joint activities relating to the professional education, licensure, and continuing education of optometrists, to improve reciprocal relations and help in solving the mutual problems of the member Boards, and to engage in other activities as the Association may determine, for the purpose of improving the standards of the profession, the delivery of health services and the services of the regulatory licensing agencies, all for the welfare and protection of the general public.