McALLEN, RGV – A pillar of the community in the Rio Grande Valley has won a national award from peers in his profession.

Dr. Fred Farias, a certified therapeutic optometrist and an optometric glaucoma specialist, was presented with the American Optometric Association (AOA) National Optometrist of the Year Award.

A McAllen native, Farias is CEO of 20/20 Vision Care in McAllen. He was presented with the award during the Opening General Session at Optometry’s Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

The American Optometric Association said Farias was deserving of the Optometrist of the Year Award due to his “outstanding service on behalf of the profession and the visual welfare of the public.”

Dr. Farias graduated from The University of Texas‐Austin with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. He then graduated, in 1987, from Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in Memphis, Tennessee with a Doctorate of Optometry degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a Minor in Physics. He is the immediate past president of the Texas Optometric Association, which named him its 2015 Optometrist of the Year. Additionally, he has served as president of the Rio Grande Valley Optometric Society, which he joined in 1988. He currently serves as a member of the AOA Federal Legislative Action and Keyperson Committee.

One of Farias’ favorite outreach efforts is organizing vision screenings for underserved communities in South Texas. He also sponsors such events. “Dr. Farias shares his passion for eye care by talking to teachers and nurses on the importance of vision and regular eye exams,” the AOA news release states. As part of his outreach, he supports the McAllen Lions Club. Another example of his interest in the visual welfare of the public, is his charter membership. of the Optometry Cares Society.

Farias also lectures at optometric seminars and meetings both in the United States and internationally.

Last February, Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Farias to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Gov. Rick Perry also called on his expertise, appointing him to the Texas Optometry Board from 2001-2007.

The American Optometric Association is a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations that was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA represents the profession of optometry. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S.