The Canadian Association of Optometry Students/Association canadienne des étudiants en optométrie is an international student organization representing over 500 Canadian Doctors of Optometry students in Canada, US and Puerto Rico. It was first established in 1990.


Our goal is to enhance the learning experience of the next generation of ODs and prepare students and create awareness on issues and challenges in the profession. CAOS exist to build and maintain a strong relationship between students and ODs, as well as harvest connections among its existing alumni. As well:

  • To increase student awareness about current issues and challenges facing the profession of optometry in Canada
  • To increase public awareness of optometry’s role as the primary vision care provider throughout the community
  • To encourage strong communication and involvement between students and their future colleagues, which will provide an enlightened group of future optometrists who will effectively deal with future challenges

For contact information regarding other CAOS/ACÉO chapters, please see our CAOS/ACÉO Chapters page.

History & Milestones
CAOS original logo
1990 CAOS Logo
  • 1990 – CAOS was founded by optometry students at the University of Waterloo.
  • 1990 – CAOS launched its first annual Vision Awareness Week (VAW) campaign
    •   CAOS setted up education booths at the UW Student Life Centre, Conestoga Mall and going to K-W area schools to give presentations to elementrary and high school students
  • 1990 – 1999
    • CAOS experienced tremendous growth, introducing the CAOS Handbook, CAOS Mentorship Program, and the Annual Provincial Associations Forum.
    • CAOS introduced Pizza + Bowling with ODs, prior to private group visits to offices as part of the Mentorship Program.
    • 1996- CAOS launched its first webpage.
  • 2000 – 2009
    • CAOS launched its line of merchandising for students, including the CAOS reading card and the W4D Flashlight.
    • CAOS organized its annual Interview Day at UW for all Canadian optometry students.
    • CAOS partnered with Doctor Eyecare Network on an annual talk, now known as EyeRecommend.

      CAOS 2000s logo
      2011-2015 Logo
    • CAOS organized its first World Sight Day Fundraiser for Optometry Giving Sight (OGS).
  • 2010 – 2015
    • Partnership with the Williams Group to deliver an annual practice management workshop
    • 2010: CAOS organized its OAO Annual Panel Night, inviting ODs from different practices to come speak and network with students
    • 2010: CAOS launched a new website, including a Classifieds page for doctors to post and communicate with students
    • 2010: CAOS launched its Summer Mentorship, now known as Summer Internship program.
    • 2012: CAOS organized its first annual Dining in the Dark fundraiser, in support of OGS.
  • 2015 – 2020
    • CAOS relaunched July 2015.
      • new website, new logo, new programs
    • 2015: a new paid membership model allowed students
      2015 – present day Logo

      to have enhanced programs, perks and events, such as lapel pin, dioptre sticker, CAO business cards and access to Lunch N’ Learns

    • 2015: The inaugural CAOS Lecture Series invited 8-9 top speakers to give different clinical perspectives to students
    • 2015: iCare Eyecare provided opportunity for students to set up a booth and clean glasses to educate the public
    • 2015: CAOS launched Aperture Magazine, an annual publication featuring student articles and case reports
    • 2015: Student Doctor of the Month recognized a new student in different chapter
    • 2015: partnership with Scotiabank/MNP to improve student financial management, free power bank
    • 2016: CAOS launched the first Student Survey Report presented at OLF/FORAC to reflect student opinions and concerns to optometric leaders.
    • 2016: partnership began with EyeRecommend, with a free backpack for members unveiled in different colour each year
    • 2018: partnership with FYidoctors

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