ST. LOUIS—World Optometry Day highlights not only optometry as a health care profession, but the contribution of the profession in supporting access to eye health care as a human right. This year, the World Council of Optometry (WCO) will celebrate World Optometry Week from March 19 to 25, and specifically World Optometry Day, Thursday, March 23, with the theme “Expanding Optometry’s Role… The Time is Now!” The WCO is an international membership-based non-profit organization for individual optometrists, industry professionals and optometric organizations that envisions a world where optometry makes high quality eye health and vision care accessible to all people.

Its 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. 

WCO president, associate professor Peter Hendicott, said, “World Optometry Day provides an opportunity for optometry to reflect on its current and possible future roles in expanding access to quality and equitable eyecare. This calls for optometry to consider our responsibilities and potential roles within health care delivery systems, to identify how we can make a maximal contribution to reducing the burden of eye disease and its impact. We need to ensure that optometrists worldwide possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and competencies to effectively move our profession forward to better serve our communities.”

With the theme “Expanding Optometry’s Role…The Time is Now!”, WCO seeks to advocate for stronger global access to eyecare and ensure that optometrists around the globe have the education and skills to thrive and contribute within their respective health care systems.

Recent resolutions of the World Health Assembly and United Nations have adopted eyecare targets that are ambitious, yet certainly achievable, through a collaborative approach among all eyecare professions. To achieve improved eyecare worldwide, the WCO said, all optometrists and their representative organizations must work proactively with other eyecare professions, along with the government, to make eyecare accessible, equitable, affordable, and effective… the time is now.

Ahead of World Optometry Week, more than 38,000 eyecare providers and 100 organizations around the globe have taken WCO’s ongoing Myopia Management Pledge Challenge. Take the pledge today at

Throughout next week, WCO will share video statements from the World Council of Optometry Presidents Group, each reflecting on the goals, needs and future of the profession. 

To celebrate World Optometry Day on March 23, WCO encourages optometrists to download and share the Committed to Eye Care graphic, reaffirming the individual commitment of optometrists across the globe to advance accessible eyecare.

During this week, WCO member organizations highlight the profession with various activities including awareness videos, advocacy meetings with government officials, educational events, free community eye screenings, and the distribution of free spectacles.