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The Alberta College of Optometrists (ACO) is the regulatory and licensing body for the profession of optometry in Alberta. The College is also responsible for the establishment, maintenance and enforcement of Standards of Practice, competency skills and the ACO Code of Ethics to ensure that optometrists practice their profession in the best interests of the public.
Optometrists are university-educated, primary health care practitioners who examine, diagnose, treat and manage vision and vision-related diseases and disorders. Optometrists are also involved in health-care research, education activities, and the promotion of eye and health safety.
The original Optometry Profession Act formed a joint Association and College in the Province of Alberta on April 19, 1921. During the next century several revisions and amendments were made to this original Act to acknowledge and update the educational advances, changes in technology and increased scope of practice to the profession. This joint body finally split on January 01, 1993 when a separate Alberta College of Optometrists was officially created as mandated by the Optometry Profession Act. On March 31, 2003, the Optometrist Profession Regulation was passed by the Alberta Cabinet and optometry joined other health professions already governed by the omnibus Alberta Health Professions Act. The current ACO Bylaws were approved by the membership at the 14th Annual General Meeting held September 30, 2006.
During this century of evolution, the profession of optometry has earned the respect of other health care professions and the general public. The Alberta College of Optometrists is committed to serve the public interest by governing our members in a manner that protects and serves the public interest, provide direction to and regulate the profession of optometry, establish and enforce a Code of Ethics, establish and enforce standards of practice, establish and enforce registration requirements and exercise the duties and responsibilities practiced by self-governing colleges.