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Become a Fellow

Why Become a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO)?

In qualifying for and maintaining fellowship, individuals are evaluated against the highest standards of professional competence. The letters "FAAO" (Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry) after an optometrist's, scientist's or other qualified person's name signify to colleagues and patients that rigorous qualifications for fellowship have been met.

Fellowship is open to the following professionals who demonstrate that they meet Academy standards:

  • Optometrists who are licensed or accredited to practice at the highest level permitted by law in their jurisdiction, and
  • Scientists, educators, librarians, administrators, and editors who have accredited themselves and optometry by their contributions to optometry or vision science. 

Academy membership consists of Fellows (including Emeritus, Honorary and Life Fellows), student members, and candidates for fellowship. Although other categories of membership may have similar benefits, only Fellows may use the "FAAO" designation.

Member Benefits


  • Use of the FAAO distinction
  • Inclusion in the Academy’s online directory of Fellows

Annual Meeting Benefits

  • Significantly discounted Academy meeting registration fees
  • Stay on top of the latest in scientific research
  • The best in Continuing Education (CE)
  • Access to over 250 exhibits
  • Special and reduced-cost access to previous meeting session recordings and the option to earn COPE-approved distance learning credits in Academy Online.


  • Optometry & Vision Science, a monthly journal containing papers on the clinical and basic science aspects of optometry and vision science
  • Access the AVSL-AAO Information Resource Hub with a helpful search tool to locate journal articles, books, and other useful resources to support your research endeavors. 
  • Eye-Mail® Monthly and science-based news alerts
  • Eye-Mail® News Brief, a monthly email featuring optometry related news items

Professional Camaraderie

  • A place where you can learn from others and share your own experiences
  • Access to local chapters make it easy to keep in touch through social functions and study between regular Annual Meetings
  • Ability to join one or more of the Sections and Special Interest Groups devoted to various areas of focus