Our mission is to facilitate the development of optometry around the world and support optometrists in promoting eye health and vision care as a human right through advocacy, education, policy development and humanitarian outreach.

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2019-2020 WCO Accomplishments

As you can see by the list below, WCO has had a very positive, productive and busy year!  Your continuing support as members allows us to continue to develop optometry and the delivery of vision and eye healthcare around the globe!

3rd World Congress of Optometry

  • Held a very successful WCO3 in partnership with the American Academy of Optometry in October 2019.
  • Co-hosted the Global Summit on Optometric Education with the Association of Schools and Colleges (ASCO) and AAO which brought together Optometry educators from all regions to discuss educational issues and to network.
  • Combined attendance of over 7000 with over 200 hours of continuing professional education.

Education Committee:

  • Offered financial assistance through the Fellowship Program to support the development and advancement of Optometry.
  • Maintained the Curricular Support Elements for an Optometry Program, which is a guide to help schools, colleges and universities intending to start or upgrade an optometry program with a basis for designing their curriculum.
  • Continued to provide the online continuing education through a partnership with World Continuing Education Alliance (WCEA).

Legislation, Registration & Standards Committee:

  • Catalogued a human resource situational analysis for 37 countries.
  • Developing a legislation tool kit to assist members in developing regulation, legislation or scope of practice.
  • Assisted, when requested, countries and organizations regarding advocacy and legislation.
  • Assisted the National Center for Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation, a WHO Collaborating Center for the Prevention of Blindness and Vision Rehabilitation, by providing feedback on the development of the competency-based curricula for vision rehabilitation providers.

Membership Committee:

  • Continued to consider benefits that would be valuable to our members.
  • Continuing to current methods of determining fees.
  • Conducted a membership needs assessments and satisfaction survey.

Public Health Committee:

  • Hosted a successful Advocacy Program in partnership with the BHVI. The course consisted of an online program and a capstone project. Participants represented all 6 WCO regions.
  • Worked with BHVI to complete a Global Optometry Mapping Study.
  • Continued development on the Pediatric Development Toolkit.
  • Participated in WHO’s Technical Advisory Group for eyecare.
  • Provided input for the World Health Organization’s World Report on Vision.
  • In process of developing a World Report on Vision PowerPoint that will be available to be delivered by our members to others in their communities and around the world.

WCO Collaboration with Global Eye and Healthcare Organizations

World Health Organization (WHO):

  • After the launch of the World Report on Vision, Dr. Alarcos Cieza, along with Sandra Block, OD, WCO Public Health Chair, and Kovin Naidoo, OD presented the American Academy of Optometry plenary.
  • With continued participation in working groups, WCO is continuing to promote public awareness to vision and eye health problems that are linked to increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, including diabetes, child development and other WHO priorities included in the World Report on Vision.

International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB):

WCO is a Group A member of the IAPB which allows WCO to help drive the work of IAPB and influence global eye health policies through representation on the IAPB Board of Trustees, the key decision-making body of IAPB.

  • WCO is represented on IAPB work groups including Diabetic Retinopathy, School Eye Health and Gender Equity.
  • WCO has a representation as a Co-chair the Refractive Error Work Group.
  • Also, WCO is represented on the Refractive Error Coalition to find ways to improve collaboration on refractive error among different sectors with the goal that by 2050 everyone has access to the eye care and glasses they need.

Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC):

  • WCO hosts GMAC, which promotes public awareness of childhood myopia as a treatable disease through direct to consumer channels and awareness with governments, NGOs and other health care associations
    • Worked to develop a social media influencer campaign entitled “Vision Mission” to encourage fun, silly, meaningful, or challenging dates with their tween which centered around visiting their eye doctor to asking about new treatment options for myopia.
    • ‘Vision Mission’ campaign included 49 total influencer posts across social media channels. Campaign posts received 357.2K Instagram story views, and 595.2K impressions on all posts across social media channels.
    • Developed a campaign regarding kid’s screen usage. GMAC is currently working with parenting and gaming influencers to spread awareness about myopia through gaming on digital screens and recreating games in real life.

WCO Administration

  • Launched our new website with additional features including:
    • COVID-19 news page
    • Event calendar
    • Advocacy page
  • Launched a membership management system to better serve our members.
  • Continues to look for ways to assist and support our members to expand optometry and promote the best patient care.