About SAOA


SAOA Historical Overview – a Tradition of excellence

The SAOA celebrated its 90th birthday in 2014.
Since its inception in 1924, the SAOA has undergone significant transformation, representing the majority of practicing optometrists in South Africa and boasts an impressive list of achievements which include:
  • The SAOA was instrumental in establishing the Witwatersrand School of Applied Optics at the Witwatersrand Technical College.
  • The SAOA drafted the curriculum of the three year course conducted by the Technical College and faculty teaching staff, and the examining body fell within the auspices of the SAOA.
  • The candidates sat for the first supplementary examination from 21 to 25 July 1934 (of its kind to be held in South Africa) where seven candidates were awarded a pass, and three were referred.

Other achievements include:
  • The SAOA developed the tariff codes for reimbursement from medical schemes for SAOA optometry and continues to own and update the codes
  • The SAOA has partnered with the optical supply industry to host bi-annual conferences which included trade and exhibition shows. Such events have included the hosting of WCO and AFCO delegations on at least two occasions.
  • The SAOA entered into a partnership with the Department of Transport for members of the public to have obligatory eye screenings by optometric practices prior to the issue driver’s licenses.
  • The SAOA negotiated with regulatory bodies and Government which resulted in the acceptance of a pricing model to ensure the viability of practices in accordance with the Reference Price List legislation at the time.
  • The SAOA partnered with local police where ‘warnings’ were issued by the police officers to members of the public have regular eye examinations.
  • The SAOA continues to engage with policy makers to protect the rights of optometrists