Published in Business

Latinos En Optometry unveils new branding

This is editorially independent content
5 min read

The non-profit corporation Latinos En Optometry (LEO) has unveiled the launch of its newly-redesigned website and updated domain name to members of the Latino- and Spanish-speaking eye care community.

Sounds exciting! Let’s start with some background on LEO.

Founded in 2021 by Diana Canto-Sims, OD, Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO, and Lawrence Chavrez, LEO provides resources and continuing education (CE) for Latino optometry students and eyecare professionals (ECPs).

Taking it one step further, the nonprofit is working to offer support to these ECPs for developing their optometric practice, career, and lives.

Any optometrist members I may know of?

Perhaps! Aside from Drs. Canto, Purcell, and Chavrez, LEO’s Board includes:

  • Hector Santiago, OD
  • Glenda Aleman, OD
  • Karen Carrasquillo, OD, PhD
  • Diana Schechtman, OD
  • Lina Arango, OD

See here for background on each member.

Tell me more about the Latino community in the U.S.

According to the 2022 U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 63.7 million Hispanics lived in the U.S.—a record high representing up to 19% of the nation’s population.

And by 2060, the Hispanic population is expected to increase by an average of 26%, compared to a projected decline in non-Hispanic Whites (by 14%).

Even further: The National Eye Institute has reported that Latinos/Hispanics have “some of the highest rates of vision loss and blindness caused by eye disease,” and that those rates are only increasing.

How about from an optometrist’s standpoint?

Though small (at 5.2%), the number of U.S. Latino/Hispanic optometrists has been noted as steadily increasing in the U.S. over the last decade, after accounting for just 3.6% in 2014.

Comparatively: Whites account for 73%; Asians for 17%; and Blacks/African Americans for 1.4%.

Interesting … so what’s new with LEO?

We’ll start with the new website:

Featuring new information and resources for both current and future optometry students, the site offers a series of archived/upcoming free webinars with LEO Board members sharing their experience and advice regarding entering the optometric field.

Note: The webinars are supported by Transitions Optical.

Talk more about these.

We’ll do you one better: Here’s a list of the most recent webinars aired, including one on May 1, 2024, featuring Dr. Schectman on co-management with ophthalmologists.

Next up in the series: Helping patients restore their vision.

Air date: Wednesday, July 10, 2024 (8 pm to 9 pm EST).

Featured speaker: Karen G. Carrasquillo, OD, PhD, FAAO, FSLS, FBLCA, senior vice president of clinical and professional affairs at the Massachusetts-based nonprofit BostonSight.

Register here.

Why offer these webinars?

Per Dr. Purcell, LEO’s focus is on future Latino optometrists—today’s students and aspiring ODs.

“We need to expose more students to potential careers in optometry so they can see how it might fit into their passions, interests, skills, and lifestyle and career aspirations,” he stated.

And what’s the importance behind this?

It all comes down to cultural competency, according to Dr. Canto-Sims.

This is key for eyecare professionals (ECPs) seeking to provide services for Hispanic patients  and grow their practices, she noted.

To help with this: LEO offers a “Find an Eye Care Professional” section on its website to allow patients to search for ECPs in their local area.

  • As an added bonus: Patients can see if the ECPs or their staff speak Spanish.

Go on …

Plus, a “Patients & Caregivers” section includes general info and resources for common eye problems reported among the Hispanic and Latino patient population.

These include:

  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration

Nice! Now let’s talk membership details.

LEO memberships are free for the following individuals:

  • Students interested in an optometry career or related profession
  • Those currently enrolled in a certified:
    • College of optometry
    • Allied health profession
    • Education
    • Rehabilitation program
    • Optometric residency or fellowship program

And what about for non-students?

Professional memberships are available at a low cost, with discounts accessible for first-year practitioners and retired ECPs.

For 2024: Memberships run through December 31, 2025.

Click here to join LEO.

How would you rate the quality of this content?