PolyU scholar heads World Council of Optometry

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Professor George Woo, internationally renowned Optometry expert and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has recently taken the helm of the World Council of Optometry for a term of two years.

The election reflected that PolyU's and the School of Optometry's contributions to Optometry are well recognized by international optometrists

Professor George Woo, internationally renowned Optometry expert and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), has recently taken the helm of the World Council of Optometry (WCO) for a term of two years. Being the first ethnic Chinese academic elected to the key post, Professor Woo will strive to develop Optometry as a profession and as a vital dimension of primary health care around the world.

The WCO is an international organization dedicated to the enhancement and development of eye and vision care worldwide via education, humanitarian outreach and policy development. It is also the first and only optometric body in official relations with the World Health Organization. Representing 75 member organizations from over 40 countries, the WCO serves as a forum for its member organizations to respond to public health needs, in particular issues concerning eye and vision health. The WCO is a unifying voice and catalyst for international projects and services that address the needs of the optometric profession, ophthalmic industry and the general public.

Prof. Woo said he is most honoured with this appointment. "The election reflected that PolyU's and the School of Optometry's contributions to Optometry are well recognized by international optometrists," said Prof. Woo.

Prof. Woo has served on numerous local and international committees in the fields of Optometry as well as allied health and research. He is currently President of the Asia Pacific Council of Optometry and the Hong Kong Contact Lens Research Association; Immediate Past President of The Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists; Honorary Professor of Sun Yat-sen University, China and Tianjin Medical University; and a Member of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority.

Prof. Woo obtained his Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and his MSc and PhD degrees in physiological optics from Indiana University in the U.S. He is a Fellow and a Diplomate in Low Vision of the American Academy of Optometry and holds a Licentiate of Optometric Science from the Victorian College of Optometry, University of Melbourne, Australia.

After graduation, Prof. Woo joined the Canadian Red Cross Society as an optometrist. He then moved to Indiana University to undertake graduate studies and various teaching and research posts. In 1970, he became a faculty member of the University of Waterloo and rose to a full professorship position in 1980. During his tenure at Waterloo, Prof. Woo held a number of visiting and consulting appointments at several institutions, including the University of Melbourne, Pennsylvania College of Optometry in the U.S., and the University of Cambridge in the U.K. From 1987 to 1989, he was the founding Head and Professor of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences of the then Hong Kong Polytechnic.

Prof. Woo's research interests include low vision, myopia, contrast sensitivity function, refraction, and contact lenses. His work has been published in many scientific and professional journals.

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