The group represents over 200K optometrists.
(Press Release) The World Council of Optometry (WCO) was originally founded in Cologne, Germany, in 1927 as the International Optical League—Ligue Internationale d’optique. In 1970 the name was changed to the International Optometric and Optical League (IOOL) and it was based in the UK. In 1996, the IOOL became the WCO and is now headquartered at the American Optometric Association offices in St. Louis, MO. This year marks the 90th year anniversary of the WCO.
The WCO is the only global optometric body in official relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners with many eyecare organizations.
Today, the WCO’s 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.
The WCO collectively represents over 200,000 optometrists in almost 60 countries through over 200 affiliate, associate, corporate and individual memberships across six world regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Latin America and North America.
Past WCO presidents have come from countries all over the world including Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Norway, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Switzerland and the U.S.
“Next to life itself is the gift of vision,” said WCO President Uduak Udom. “The beauty all around, which just amazes us, comes through vision. Most of our learning comes through vision. For these and many more reasons, optometrists around the world are committed to the cause of a world where high-quality eye health and vision care is accessible to all people.”
Along with celebration of its 90-year history, this is an exciting time for WCO as it looks forward to hosting the Second World Congress of Optometry being held in Hyderabad, India, from Sept. 11-13, 2017. The Congress is an initiative of the WCO in partnership with the Asia Pacific Council of Optometry (APCO) and the India Vision Institute (IVI). The central theme of the meeting, Accessible, Quality Vision and Eye Health, complements the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan of Universal Eye Health with a goal of universal access to comprehensive eye care services.