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Tuesday / July 16.
HomeminewsCompetency Framework for Global Optometry Launched

Competency Framework for Global Optometry Launched

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) has introduced a revolutionary resource aimed at harmonising the optometry profession and enhancing optometric education globally: the WCO Competency Framework for Optometry. Developed with a vision to define optometry in terms of essential competencies required to engage effectively in the international eye care agenda, the WCO stated that this framework marks a significant milestone in advancing eye health worldwide.

Dr Yazan Gammoh, WCO Education Committee Chairman.

“Recent vitally important global reports, such as the World Report on Vision and UN General Assembly resolutions, have outlined the challenges facing eye care, the impact of vision impairment on the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the inclusion of addressing refractive error correction within universal health coverage. This urged WCO to revise its competency model to better prepare optometrists to meet the eye care needs of their communities,” said Dr Yazan Gammoh, WCO Education Committee Chairman.

Associate Professor Peter Hendicott, WCO Immediate Past President and Head of School of Optometry at Queensland University of Technology.

“Optometry needs to be prepared to participate in multiple roles within health systems, and to work with others in the delivery of care. The competencies described in the framework give optometry opportunity to participate widely, potentially in leadership roles in teams,” said Associate Professor Peter Hendicott, WCO Immediate Past President and Head of School of Optometry at Queensland University of Technology.

Elevating Optometric Education Worldwide

At the heart of the WCO’s mission lies a commitment to supporting optometrists and championing eye health and vision care as a fundamental human right. Recognising the diverse landscape of optometric education and practice across the globe, the WCO identified the pressing need for a unified global standard. The Competency Framework addresses this need by providing a comprehensive guide for developing core curricula for tertiary-level optometry programs.

A Roadmap for Consistency

Divided into five essential domains – refractive error, visual function assessment, ocular health and diseases, public health, and professional practice – the framework outlines the competencies expected of optometry graduates. By establishing a minimum level of professional identity across all countries, it ensures consistency in optometric education and practice. Moreover, these competencies are aligned with the World Health Organization (WHO) Eye Care Competencies Framework, further reinforcing their global relevance.

Addressing the Global Burden of Visual Impairment

With over 2.2 billion people worldwide suffering from vision impairment, the demand for qualified optometrists has never been more critical. The Competency Framework equips optometrists with the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to fully participate in addressing this global burden. By guiding curriculum development and informing policymakers, it facilitates the recognition of optometry as a vital component of integrated, people-centered eye care.

Shaping the Future of Optometry Education

Adaptable to the unique needs of each country, the Competency Framework serves as a dynamic resource that transcends borders. It empowers educators, regulators, and policymakers alike to shape the future of optometry education and practice. Ultimately, it moves the sector closer to realising the WHO’s vision of accessible, equitable eye care for all.

Build a Brighter Future

The WCO has invited optometrists, educators, policymakers, and advocates to join forces in harnessing the transformative potential of the Competency Framework to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has access to the quality eye care they deserve.

You can find more information and access the WCO Competency Framework for Optometry here.