ST. LOUIS—The World Council of Optometry (WCO) is among other groups and organizations around the world celebrating World Optometry Week this week, March 17–23, 2024 and specifically World Optometry Day, March 23, with the theme “Advancing Optometry’s Commitment to Global Eye Care.” World Optometry Day shines an annual spotlight on the profession of optometry and the contribution of optometrists worldwide to increasing access to eye health care as a human right. WCO seeks to highlight the ongoing work done by optometrists across the globe to improve equitable access to eyecare as well as the profession’s role in promoting the adoption of Integrated People-Centered Eye Care (IPEC) in countries’ health systems, as recommended by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2019 World Report on Vision.

“During last year’s World Optometry Week, I focused on the fact that it is a wonderful time to be an optometrist," said current WCO president Sandra S. Block in a recent statement. "This year I want to reiterate that thought and remind you that we as a profession contribute to the importance of addressing the growing prevalence of vision and eye health problems by providing high-quality eyecare. We need to continue to share that optometry is a primary health care profession that works toward achieving better access, affordability, equity, and equality for eye health and vision care as human rights.”

She said, “The focus for the World Council of Optometry during World Optometry Week 2024 is to highlight the work of the profession and the contributions that optometrists play in increasing access to eye health care as a human right globally. There are so many accomplishments on the global level that have led us here.”

WCO invites optometrists worldwide to use its World Optometry Week social media resources, available in seven different languages, to assist in World Optometry Week and World Optometry Day advocacy. Its partners at the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) have developed the Advocacy to Action Toolkit to share tips and information on advancing the IPEC model as the future of equitable eyecare.

“Since the launch of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Report on Vision (WRV), the awareness of the importance of addressing access to eyecare has grown,” Block said.