Fellowship Programme

Fellowship Programme – General Information

World Council of Optometry (WCO)

The WCO is the worldwide organization for optometric professionals, their associations and institutions. The WCO collectively represents over 200,000 optometrists in almost 60 countries through more than 200 affiliate, associate, corporate and individual members across six world regions. The WCO is the first and only optometric organisation in official relations with the World Health Organization and maintains the highest level of membership in the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.

The WCO’s mission is: To facilitate the enhancement and development of eye and vision care worldwide via education, humanitarian outreach and policy development.

The WCO defines Optometry as follows:

“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 World Optometry Foundation (WOF) supports the World Council of Optometry Fellowships. WCO Fellowships are intended to support the goals and objectives of WCO (see the WCO Strategic Plan). The highest priority for fellowships are innovative projects which result in long-term sustainable results. Areas of priority are education; advocacy; public health; standards; and policy and legislation.

Support can be for the cost of carrying out a project which may include travel. Typical maximum amount of funding is $2,000 U.S. although for high priority projects the funding may be more. Projects which may lead to other sources of funding are encouraged. In the case of high priority projects as determined by the committee multi-year projects may be considered.

Travel bursaries for the purpose of attending a meeting or for short term “mission” or “eye camps” for vision screenings are not considered a high priority.

Preference will be given to applications from developing and middle income countries (according to the World Bank classification) and applications to do studies and /or travel to developing and middle income countries to enhance education, for public health studies, advance the optometric profession or related topics.

Past Fellowship Reports:















Vietnam – Coming Soon


  1. Applicant must be an optometrist, optometric educator or a student in an optometric program.
  2. Applicants must be a member of a WCO member organizations (if one exists in their country). To view a list of WCO members, click here.
  3. Only one fellowship application can be made at any one time by an individual, group or organization.
  4. Preference will be given to applicants who have not received WCO fellowships in the past.
  5. Evidence must be given in the application of how the proposed funding would contribute to the development of eye and vision care locally and/or worldwide.
  6. Applicants must indicate what other sources of funding are available or have been applied for.


  1. Applications can be submitted at any time.
  2. All applications must be made on the Fellowship Application form and additional information may be requested by the Fellowship Committee and/or the WCO.
  3. Receipt of applications will be acknowledged.
  4. The WCO Fellowship Committee will review applications and notify the Executive Committee of the successful candidates. The final decision for fellowships will be made by the Fellowship Committee.
  5. All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application by the WCO.
  6. All successful applicants will be required to provide a written report and acknowledge WCO/WOF in all publications or publicity regarding the project.
  7. All applications are to be submitted below. Please email garryn.marlen@worldoptometry.org for more questions.


A written report is expected within three months after completion of the programme. The report should include: The title of the project, a summary of work undertaken and outcomes.