Founded in 1989, all national ophthalmological societies in the Arab countries came together to establish the Pan Arab Council of Ophthalmology (PACO), under the leadership of Magrabi Hospitals & Centers, represented by Dr. Akef El-Maghraby. Their aim was to unite ophthalmologists and ophthalmic societies throughout the Middle East and Africa.
In 1997, the board unanimously decided to merge the Council with the Afro-Arab Society of Ophthalmology, and as a result, the Council was renamed the Pan Arab African Council of Ophthalmology (PAACO).
In 2005, the Iranian Ophthalmological Society, with more than 1,200 members, formally joined PAACO, which resulted in the renaming of the council to the Middle East African Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO).
In 2006, the Turkish Ophthalmology Society also joined the MEACO.
The Council is administered by the MEACO Executive Officers, headed by the President and a Board of ophthalmologists elected by their societies.
The MEACO staff is based in 3 locations: Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo, and the staff in each location are responsible for the Council’s day-to-day activities. MEACO is now one of the largest four ophthalmology conferences worldwide:
- Pan American Ophthalmology Association
- European Ophthalmology Association
- Pacific Council of Ophthalmology
- Middle East African Council of Ophthalmology
More than 2000 ophthalmologists attend MEACO every two years from all over the Middle East and Africa.