The Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI) traces its origin to the Act of Foundation signed March 7, 1975. Its Statutes and Regulations were adopted by a vote of the 45 Charter Members at the organization's first meeting in Ghent, Belgium on April 10, 1976. Active membership is limited to 100 Chairs, each assigned a roman numeral from from I to C. AOI Members are formally nominated and elected by the membership to fill a specific Chair once it becomes vacant. An ophthalmologist who has been engaged in the study, research, or practice of ophthalmology for at least 15 years and who has published not less than 100 scientific papers, reports, or books is eligible to be nominated for membership. Currently, our Active and Emeritus membership represents 33 countries around the world.
Throughout the world, 36 million people are blind and 217 million have moderate or severe visual impairment. Projections estimate that blindness and severe visual impairment will greatly increase in the years ahead. To address this problem, the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI), the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO), and representatives of vision care organizations and industry formulated the International Ophthalmology Strategic Plan to Preserve and Restore Vision–Vision for the Future. This joint effort is supported by the Ophthalmology Foundation and closely related to and intertwined with The Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness/Vision 2020–The Right to Sight, a multi-year program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.