World Council of Optometry Relocating to American Optometric Association Headquarters in St. Louis

St. Louis, Mo. (May 20, 2015)—The American Optometric Association (AOA) and the World Council of Optometry (WCO) announced that the WCO, a global advocate for eye health access and the profession of optometry, will move its offices from London to the offices of the AOA located in St. Louis, Missouri. The organization, with a membership of 90 organizations representing more than 200,000 optometrists in 54 countries, works to facilitate the development of optometry around the world and supports optometrists in promoting eye health and vision care as a human right through advocacy, education, policy development and humanitarian outreach.

David Cockrell, O.D., president of the AOA Board of Trustees, noted that the AOA's location will offer the WCO an excellent opportunity to continue its work. "This is a big win for our profession and the unity of our leading organizations. The World Council of Optometry—which has a vital global humanitarian, scientific and education mission—often looks to the advocacy and public health successes of our AOA and state associations for inspiration and guidance. The work WCO leaders do is important and is aimed at making a difference in countries still lacking access to essential eye health care services."

According to Susan Cooper, O.D., president of the WCO, sharing space with the AOA will be mutually beneficial and will allow the WCO to continue its mission of improving the quality and availability of eye and vision care worldwide.  

"The WCO and the AOA share a collective determination to make eye health and vision care accessible to all communities, and the WCO looks forward to sharing a working environment with the AOA," said Dr. Cooper. "The WCO has made great strides in developing a stronger and more responsive organization. The enormity of the challenge in meeting global eye care needs and in expanding the role of optometry in many countries across the world could be daunting. However, we know collaboration and joint action can take us a long way and provide positive results." 

"Welcoming the World Council of Optometry to St. Louis is great news and a great fit," stated U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.). "St. Louis is a world class city and Missouri has world class expertise in optometry. Missouri is a great place to start a business or to relocate a renowned association. I look forward to working with the WCO." 

The organizational principle of the WCO is defined as "membership by countries, governance by world regions." Its goals are:

  • The enhancement and development of primary eye and vision care by optometrists. 
  • The promotion of high standards of education and practice by optometrists including by the promotion of international co-ordination of optometrists. 
  • The provision of support to aid programs directed at the provision of eye and vision care to societies in need. 
  • The promotion of the advancement of the science of optometry.

The move will also include the fundraising arm of the WCO, the World Optometry Foundation (WOF).  The WOF is a partner in the Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) program, which sponsors World Sight Day. 

The relocation is expected to be completed in the fall of 2015. 

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit aoa.org

About the World Council of Optometry (WCO): WCO
The World Council of Optometry (WCO) is an international organization dedicated to the enhancement and development of eye and vision care worldwide via education, policy development and humanitarian outreach. WCO's vision is to make 'high quality eye health and vision care accessible to all people.' It has 90 member associations from over 54 countries across six world regions: Africa; North America; Asia Pacific; Europe; Latin America and Caribbean; and the Eastern Mediterranean. Collectively, these organisations represent over 200,000 optometrists around the world.