As a dedicated refractive surgeon, I recently reached an important milestone in my career journey. I became a founding member and a Fellow of the World College of Refractive Surgery & Visual Sciences (WCRS). I am one of the initial group of 10 internationally recognized refractive surgeons that formed the WCRS. Being part of forming this pivotal organization is an honor. Our goal is to advance refractive surgery and establish a global effort to standardize our profession. This opportunity has refined my efforts to improve refractive surgery and allows me to contribute to the global discourse in setting new standards. Refractive surgery is the correction of vision using techniques such as LASIK, and lens replacement to allow for visual freedom from glasses and contact lenses.
The Role of the WCRS
To appreciate the significance of becoming a WCRS Fellow, one must first understand the institution’s role. WCRS is the only organization offering certification for refractive surgeons and accreditation for curriculum and institutions in refractive surgery. This is a pioneering development in the field of refractive surgery, as this type of standard has not previously existed. As a global organization, WCRS provides certification and accreditation in refractive surgery around the globe, establishing an internationally recognized standard curriculum, which assures the quality of education and qualifications of a refractive surgeon. A Fellow of the WCRS is dedicated to the highest standards of practice, and has demonstrated a comprehensive and complete understanding of refractive surgery.
The formation of WCRS marks a pivotal point in refractive surgery, paving the way for the safest and most advanced practice of refractive surgery which will inspire trust from both patients and the broader medical community. As one of the guiding voices behind the formation of this distinguished institution, I am proud to have participated in the initial discussions and planning with a team of dedicated professionals from various corners of the globe. Our international collaboration, involving representatives from nearly 17 countries, signifies the global commitment to elevate refractive surgery standards and practices.
Committed to Upholding the Highest Standards
Becoming a Fellow of the WCRS signifies not just recognition within a select group of surgeons but also the responsibility of upholding the highest standards of care. As a Fellow, I am committed to defining the practice of quality care, enhancing the trust in the eyes of our patients, and shaping public perception of our profession. This responsibility is monumental, considering the past perception of LASIK and refractive surgery in the medical community. Previously viewed as a weekend course taken by ophthalmologists, refractive surgery was not always taken seriously. This view has been changing over the last decade as technology has improved and techniques are even better than before. With the inception of WCRS, Refractive Surgery has become it’s own specialty.
The essence of refractive surgery is a precise science requiring rigorous training and expertise. In fact, it is literally the most precise medical specialty with micron precision. As refractive surgeons, we wield knowledge, technology, precision, and a dedication to improving our patients’ lives through better vision. This is the ethos that the WCRS promotes, and as a Fellow, I am proud to embody.
Determining Best Practices
As WCRS Fellows, we are at the forefront of determining the best practices for LASIK and other refractive procedures, and we also set the standards for becoming a refractive surgeon. Our mission is to bring about a new understanding of refractive surgery, showcasing its intricacies, and setting the course for its future, both domestically and internationally. This is a significant shift from how refractive surgery has been previously viewed and practiced, marking a new era in our profession.
Our first in person meeting of the Trustees and Directors of the WCRS in Ireland in June 2023 was an unprecedented event, gathering some of the world’s leading minds in refractive surgery. It was an honor to be part of this gathering, contributing to the development of an institution that promises to revolutionize our field. Representatives from 15 different countries were present. Each participant brought unique insights and experiences, contributing to the rich discourse that defines the vision and mission of the WCRS.
Supporting Education, Training, and Credentialing
One of the most critical aspects of WCRS is its role as a Specialty Board and an Umbrella Organization. WCRS accredits education, training, and credentialing in refractive surgery. It aims to enhance ophthalmic organizations, courses, and residency programs. It sets the pathway for practicing ophthalmic surgeons and residents to advance their skills in refractive surgery through a comprehensive process of education and training initiatives.
WCRS also acknowledges and collaborates with existing organizations, recognizing their coursework as part of the pathway to Fellowship certification in refractive surgery. This inclusive approach ensures the integration and recognition of various educational and training programs, contributing to a holistic and comprehensive refractive surgery education.
Growing the Number of Refractive Surgeons
As a global entity, WCRS aims to increase the number of refractive surgeons worldwide, thereby addressing the most common form of preventable blindness (uncorrected refractive error) and making a significant social impact. In essence, WCRS is a physician-led effort to transform refractive surgery educationally, scientifically, economically, and socially, worldwide.
Being a Fellow of the WCRS, to me, is more than a title or recognition—it is a commitment to this transformative vision. It represents an obligation to uphold the highest standards of refractive surgery, to continuously learn and improve, and to contribute to the global discourse in our field. It is a commitment to our patients and the global community to provide the best care possible, rooted in a rigorous educational and training framework.
Being on the front-end of developing the the World College of Refractive Surgery & Visual Sciences has been one of my career’s most significant milestones. It represents the beginning of a new era in refractive surgery, marked by international collaboration, rigorous training, and high standards of practice. It is an embodiment of the progress and commitment of refractive surgeons worldwide to improve patient care and outcomes.
An Exciting Future
As we look to the future, I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead, both for refractive surgery as a field and for WCRS as a leading organization. Through our collective efforts, we will improve global access to quality vision care, and transform lives—one patient at a time.