From Simple Beginnings to High Standards of Accreditation
Although, ancient peoples may have used polished rocks for magnification purposes, it was not until the mid-1200’s that the first recorded use of spectacle lenses for the correction of vision disorders was ever documented. It would take another 600 years for the modern profession of optometry to develop. Since the mid-1800’s, Doctors of Optometry have skillfully assumed an ever-increasing role in providing the vast majority of primary vision-care services to Canadians while still being heavily involved in vision-care research, health-care policy development and life-long learning activities.
In the last few decades, along with a corresponding expansion of an optometrist’s knowledge base, skill set and list of competencies, Doctors of Optometry now practice in either a general optometry practice or in an optometry specialty area such as low vision, contact lenses, ocular disease (dry eye), public health or vision therapy. Because of this evolution of the profession, optometric patients from all across Canada are realizing the benefits of improved patient outcomes and enriched patient experiences. In 2020, the first Canadian optometric Fellowship designation (FCCSO) and optometry specialty designation (CCSO(S)) was awarded.
In order to standardize the initial registration requirements and the yearly maintenance of registration of Fellowship and Specialist designations, the Canadian College of Specialties in Optometry was created. These registration requirements are reviewed on a yearly basis to ensure that they continue to be based on the best available and most current optometric and medical clinical evidence, research, education and Standards of Care. We currently represent approximately 7000 Canadian optometrists.
An open and transparent consultation with private practitioners, academics, researchers and other stakeholders was completed in order to ensure that the newly created optometry Fellowship (FCCSO) and Specialist (CCSO(S)) designations were credible, rigorous and appropriate.