NECO is a part of the umbrella of UNESCO. In October, 2006, the Center of International Advancement of Optometry (CIAO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding between The New England College of Optometry (NECO) and UNESCO chair Visual Health and Development. Ms. Ana Ruis and Ms. Laura Guisasola, optometrists working at the University Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, represented UNESCO.
Ms. Ruis and Ms. Guisasola have dedicated their efforts in different cooperative programs that work to improve visual care services for people living in developing countries and examine the relations between visual health, economic and human development. They have provided workshops and teaching material for a course on International Prespective in Visual Health. As a result, NECO faculty developed a third-year elective course to provide a deeper understanding of inequities within healthcare and the impact on visual care in developing versus developed countries.
Dr. Bruce Moore has worked with UNESCO in Central America to develop methods to effectively help with vision and the pediatric population. He also tested material that would be easily available and cost-effective in developing countries. Ana Ruis presented a paper at the American Academy of Optometry meeting under a session that was moderated by Dr. Moore on refractive errors in children in developing countries.