World Council of Optometry

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) is an international membership-based non-profit organization for individual optometrists, industry professionals and optometric organizations.

Our vision is of a world where optometry makes high quality eye health and vision care accessible to all people.

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.

WCO's Concept of Optometry

Optometry is a healthcare profession that is autonomous, educated, and regulated (licensed/registered), and optometrists are the primary healthcare practitioners of the eye and visual system who provide comprehensive eye and vision care, which includes refraction and dispensing, detection/diagnosis and management of disease in the eye, and the rehabilitation of conditions of the visual system.

The WCO could not continue to make the impact we do in the development of global optometry without the support of our members!

Our members:

  • allow us to advance optometric education and legislation around the world
  • support us in providing resources in areas where optometry is still developing
  • enable us to provide assistance to countries regarding regulatory and scope of practice issues
  • provide support for us to maintain positive relationships with global health care organizations and our six world regions

We hope you will join us in as we promote eye health and vision care as a human right. To learn more about how you can become a member, please click here.

We thank all of our dedicated members for enabling us to support global optometry. Looking to learn more about WCO and our work? Click here to review a list of current projects our committees are focused on.

Our History

The WCO’s originated as the International Optical League (IOL) in Berlin, Germany in 1927. Shortly after, the IOL office moved to London, England. In 1969, the IOL was renamed the International Optometric and Optical League (IOOL) to reflect the evolution of optometry.

In 1995, the organization was renamed the World Council of Optometry (WCO) and in 1997 the office headquarters moved to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in the United States. From 2008-2015, the College of Optometrists in the United Kingdom hosted the WCO office.

In 2015, the WCO moved to the USA and the American Optometric Association graciously offered to house us in their offices located in St. Louis, Missouri. The past 90 years, the WCO is proud to serve our members and ensure that patient care is at the center of all we do.

Our Logo History

Our Past Presidents

The WCO expresses its deepest appreciation to the following WCO presidents who have served.

  • Mr. John H. Sutcliffe (UK) 1927-1940
  • Sir William Champness (UK) 1947-1953
  • Mr. George Giles (UK) 1953-1965
  • Mr. Reginald Goode (UK) 1965-1971
  • Mr. George A. Wheatcroft (UK) 1971-1980
  • Dr. David Pickwell (UK) 1980-1986
  • Dr. G. Burt Holmes (USA) 1986-1992
  • Mr. Peter Roost (Switzerland) 1992-1994
  • Dr. Roland Des Crosseillers (Canada) 1994 -1996
  • Mr. Manfred Muller (Germany) 1996-1998
  • Mr. Peter Stevenson (New Zealand) 1998 -2000
  • Dr. Scott Brisbin (Canada) 2000-2002
  • Mr. Damien Smith (Australia) 2002 -2004
  • Professor DD Sheni (SA) 2004-2006
  • Dr. Vic Connors (USA) 2006-2007
  • Mr. Bob Chappell (UK) 2007- 2009
  • Professor George Woo (Hong Kong) 2009-2011
  • Mrs. Tone Garaas – Maudalen (Norway) 2011- 2013
  • Dr. Susan Cooper (Canada) 2013-2015
  • Dr. Uduak Udom (Nigeria) 2015- 2017
  • Dr. Scott Mundle (Canada) 2017-2019


Please contact us with any questions.