The World Council of Optometry has defined the minimum competencies required for someone to call themselves an optometrist, according to an announcement on the group’s website.
The General Delegates of the World Council of Optometry (WCO) originally developed the Global Competency-Based Model of Scope of Practice in Optometry in 2005 to “provide a framework for addressing the challenges faced by international practitioners and the need to promote greater harmonization of optometric education around the world,” according to the WCO site.
The WCO’s Education and Legislation, Registration and Standards Committees reviewed the 2005 model and updated it to reflect changes in education and the scope of practice since then, and four competency levels were detailed.
Competency Level 1 is characterized by optical technology services, which entail “management and dispensing of ophthalmic lenses, ophthalmic frames and other ophthalmic devices that correct defects of the visual system.”
Competency Level 2 also includes visual function services, defined as “investigation, examination, measurement, diagnosis and correction/management of defects of the visual system.”
Competency Level 3 is characterized by ocular diagnostic services, which entail “investigation, examination and evaluation of the eye and adnexa and associated systemic factors to detect, diagnose and manage disease.”
Competency Level 4 is specified as ocular therapeutic services, or “the use of pharmaceutical agents and other procedures to manage ocular conditions/disease.”
The WCO noted in the announcement that the successor of each level requires the sum of all knowledge from the previous levels.