Important News & Announcement

News from World Council of Optometry

Call for abstracts for the First World Congress in Medellin, Colombia August 2015!

09 January 2015

Dear WCO supporter,  

WCO and Federación Colombiana de Optómetras (FEDOPTO) have put the call out for abstract submissions for The First World Congress taking place in Medellin, Colombia from 14-16 August 2015.

Optometrists, vision scientists, optometry educators, researchers and students can present their work on current clinical and basic science advances, research and education. There is a limit of three abstracts an individual may submit as main author but no limit as a co-author. Members of WCO and FEDOPTO are particularly encouraged to apply.

The structure of the Congress includes: lectures and short presentations, poster presentations and clinical workshops. Videos and photography will complement the programme with a separate call for submissions for these categories.

The posters will be displayed during the Congress and authors will be required to be present at their posters on the day and times specified. The organisers seek to individually accredit high quality posters submitted.

The deadline for abstracts submission is Monday, 2 March 2015. For further information, please visit our website where you can download our abstracts guidelines.

With best wishes,

WCO Governing Board meeting to take place in Trinidad and Tobago

The next WCO Governing Board meeting will take place in Trinidad and Tobago as part of the XXII Latin American Congress of Optometry and Optics 2014.

The congress runs from 31 October - 2 November at the Hyatt hotel in Port of Spain. The WCO is one of the four organisations hosting the congress. The other organisations include The Caribbean Optometrists Association (CARIOA), Trinidad & Tobago Optometric Association (TTOA), Asociación Latinoamericana de Optometría y Óptica (ALDOO)  alongside.

The WCO Board meeting will take place 30 - 31 October.

WCO President wins Women of Achievement Award

28 November 2013

Dr Susan Cooper, WCO President, has been recognised as a Women of Achievement for contributions to Health science and technology by the Zonta Club of Brampton-Caledon, Canada.

Each year, the Zonta Club recognizes the work of women who exemplify traits of enterprise, leadership and community service. Eight nominees were selected from all walks of life for being role models and for inspiring other women.

Susan was recognised as a role-model for those wanting to pursue a career in optometry and for her tireless efforts as President of the WCO and collaboration efforts with the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness. She was praised for her work to empower women around the world and for being part of the Canadian Optometrist Bridging Program designed to help internationally trained optometrists integrate into the profession in Canada.

Susan said: “It was always instilled in me that it’s important to give back,” she said, adding her children are now doing the same.

“There are so many areas in the world that need vision care. So much of it is avoidable blindness. A lot of my work as President of WCO involves meeting with optometrists and government officials in the various countries with the goal of improving the scope of practice and education.”

Susan was one of four women to receive an award at the ceremony which took place at the Pearson Convention Centre last week.


Brien Holden honoured with inaugural Optometry Giving Sight Humanitarian Award

5 November 2013

Professor Brien Holden has been awarded the inaugural Optometry Giving Sight Humanitarian Award in recognition for his outstanding contribution in support of global efforts to help eliminate avoidable blindness and impaired vision and reduce the disability, poverty and lack of opportunity associated with vision loss.

Professor Holden received the award at a dinner held in Seattle, USA, where he also announced that he would be stepping down as Executive Chair of Optometry Giving Sight after 10 years.

“I am delighted to receive this award from my friends and colleagues at Optometry Giving Sight,” said Professor Holden. “I have immensely enjoyed the challenge of getting Optometry Giving Sight established as optometry’s international charity of choice. I have enjoyed seeing the dedication of the excellent people that work for the organization and the wonderful response of the eye health community around the world. Colleagues in the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and World Council of Optometry have been extremely supportive.”

“Most importantly, I have been highly moved by the outstanding work Optometry Giving Sight has done in stimulating the eye health community to contribute enormously and effectively to the efforts to eliminate avoidable blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error.”

Professor Holden said that while he would stay on the Board, it was now time for someone new to take on the role of Chair. He announced that the Directors have elected Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon to succeed him as Chair of Optometry Giving Sight.

“I can think of no one more worthy to take on this role than Dr. Aragon,” said Professor Holden. “He has an outstanding track record in mobilizing support for education projects related to optometry and contact lenses; is well respected in the profession and industry; and has helped mobilize significant support personally and professionally for Optometry Giving Sight.”

Dr. Aragon is currently Chair of Optometry Giving Sight’s Global Development Board and Senior Vice President, Global Professional & Clinical Affairs, CooperVision.

“It is a great honour for me to take on this role,” said Dr. Aragon. “Optometry Giving Sight has grown considerably over recent years and now funds sustainable eye and vision care projects in more than 40 countries. I applaud Professor Holden’s inspiring vision in helping to establish the organization; his relentless efforts over the years in ensuring its continued growth and development; and the incredible impact that our profession and industry are having in the global efforts to give sight and hope to those in need.

“I look forward to working with all my colleagues in the industry and profession, as well as the current management and staff, fellow Board and Committee members, and our donors and sponsors, to ensure that we continue to mobilize the resources necessary to help eliminate refractive error blindness and low vision.”

Optometry Giving Sight is the only global fundraising initiative that specifically targets the prevention of blindness and impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error – simply the need for an eye examination and glasses. It was created in 2003 as a means of mobilising resources from the global optometric community to fund the development of sustainable eye and vision care projects in communities where these do not currently exist. To date it has provided funds to more than 67 projects in 38 countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Brien Holden wins inaugural OGS award

Global CEO, Mr. Clive Miller (left) congratulates incoming Global Chairman, Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon (right) as he awards Professor Brien Holden with the inaugural Optometry Giving Sight Humanitarian Award.


Vision Aid Overseas: UK optometry students help improve lives in Zambia

26 November 2013

Two UK optometry students have successfully completed a coveted placement in Zambia with international development charity Vision Aid Overseas, thanks to a bursary scheme set up by Irvine Aitchison, one of the founders of Dollond & Aitchison.

Working alongside qualified optometrists, Ciara Hankin, 23, and Janaka Sasitharan, 26, spent their time providing much-needed outreach services in rural local communities, including training local nurses and dispensing glasses to patients. Ciara is currently studying at Cardiff University, while Janaka is based at City University in London.

The Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund (IAMF) was set up in 1997 specifically to promote optical education opportunities, and gives second-year optometry students the chance to volunteer with Vision Aid Overseas, enabling them to experience eye care work in developing countries, encourage their team building skills and increase their optical knowledge.

Since it was established, more than 36 students have benefited from the IAMF bursary, while last year (2012), 41 students applied to the scheme – the highest number yet.

Speaking of her experience, Ciara said: “After my two weeks in Zambia, I can now appreciate just how valuable our optical services are here in the UK. I saw pathology not seen at home, gained a better understanding of treatments and developed my dispensing skills – if you can give somebody the correct glasses in 40 degree heat without a shared language, you can do it anywhere.”

Janaka added: “Working with Vision Aid Overseas has been a wonderful experience. My project lasted two weeks, with ten days working in different villages across Zambia, and it was a great opportunity to share skills in a completely new and different environment, to people who need it most. “

Visit the Vison Aid Overseas website for further information about the Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund (IAMF). 

Watch a recap of the VOSH International annual meeting


25 November 2013

Videos of the key sessions presented at the VOSH International annual meeting are now available to watch on the organisation’s website. The meeting took place 9-11 October in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The key sessions provide critical new information whilst reviewing past accomplishments and new initiatives including VOSH Corps, supported by the Brien Holden Vision Institute. VOSH Corps aims to build capacity and sustainability in the countries where the organisation provides support.

The following sessions were recorded and can be viewed on the website:
• Welcome and President's Report
• Humanitarian of the Year
• VOSH Corps
• Eye Teach and Mentoring

All of the videos are downloadable, visit for more information.


Fellowship programme to fund eye care projects around the world

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) is set to hand out US$20,000 to optometrists around the world as part of our Fellowship programme.

Half of the funds available will be used to support innovative projects around the world that will improve vision and eye care, and optometric initiatives that tackle WCO’s priority areas: education; legislation, registration and standards; and public health.

The remaining US$10,000 will be allocated as travel bursaries to help optometrists and students attend optometric events or visit eye care institutions in other countries.
convocation invitationconvocation invitation.pdf
Date: 21/01/2015