Fabienne Eckert

Fabienne Eckert is the Secretary General of the European Council of Optometry and Optics (ECOO) since 2013. ECOO is the European umbrella association representing the interests of optometrists and opticians from 24 countries. ECOO aims to promote eye health to the public across borders and to harmonise clinical and educational standards of optometric and optical practice throughout Europe. As an EU public affairs and communications professional, she manages the day-to-day activities of ECOO, including its EU interest representation, awareness raising activities around eye health and membership support. Fabienne is a German national, who has been living and working in Brussels for many years.

World Sight Day, 11 Oct 2018, is an opportunity for the eye health community to come together. In the lead up to world sight day, we asked two European leaders from the NGO community “what would be the one big thing you would change in eyecare in Europe? Harmonisation for healthy eyes, a view from Fabienne Eckert Tackling the growing burden of preventable sight loss in Europe warrants high-quality, common standards of eye care across the continent. Therefore, eye care in Europe would greatly benefit from further harmonisation of European optometric and optical education and clinical practice. The legal scope of practice of eye care professionals varies greatly from one country to the other, which means that the standards of vision care differ as well. Historically, optometry schools across Europe developed professional criteria according to local principles and curricula. However, both patients and professionals increasingly move across-borders, either to seek professional care abroad or to offer services in another country. There is a growing need to ensure that patients can benefit from high-quality eye care wherever they go. We at ECOO are driving the change to meet this challenge. In order to do so, we developed the European Qualification in Optics and European Diploma in Optometry to stimulate uniform practice. Much work is still to be done, and it is important that eye health is integrated in various other policy agendas, including the one for healthy ageing and road safety. It’s all about prevention, a view from David Hewlett With an ageing global population, increasing levels of myopia amongst the urban young and large populations without access to elementary forms of eye care, these global challenges require global solutions. To achieve this, each World Health Organization Region must play its part. In Europe, we still have a lack of public...