Dr. Edward J. (Ted) Fisher (1913–2003) was the second Dean at the former College of Optometry of Ontario (1948 to 1967).
During his years at the College of Optometry of Ontario, Dr. Fisher worked with dedication and to good effect in both administrative and academic areas. Involved in optometric education since 1937, he taught the majority of older practitioners in Canada. He was intimately associated with nearly all of the advances made in optometric education in Canada. During his deanship, enrolment at the College of Optometry of Ontario expanded greatly, especially in the immediate post-World War II years; the building location was changed, physical facilities were much enlarged and improved; the course was lengthened from three to four years; and the first Doctor of Optometry degrees were granted.
He played a central role in the events which led to the integration of the former College of Optometry of Ontario with the University of Waterloo, where it now continues as the School of Optometry, within the University of Waterloo Faculty of Science. His appointment on July 1st, 1967 as the Director of the new School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo saw no abatement in the energy and dedication which he devoted to the interests of national and international Optometry, and Optometric education specifically. Dr. Fisher played an important role in the planning and construction of the University of Waterloo Optometry building, which opened in 1974. He stepped down as Director in 1975.
Dr. Fisher was one of the pioneers in Canadian contact lens practice, both as a wearer and as a consultant, and as a result of his interest, experience, and knowledge in this field became one of the leading contact lens experts in Canada and the world, participating in numerous congresses and seminars, national and international. His articles on clinical optometry, contact lenses, and optometric education have appeared throughout the ophthalmic literature.
Dr. Edward J. Fisher made signal contributions to eye care on a global scale. In concert with the Canadian International Development Agency, Dr. Fisher organized eyecare visits by teams of optometric interns and supervisors to numerous countries in the Caribbean, particularly the Turks and Caicos Islands and Dominica. He was a frequent speaker and instructor in the continuing education programs sponsored by almost every Canadian province, many American states, and at International Congresses held in England, Ireland, and Greece. For ten years, he spent two months of the year in Benin, Nigeria, assisting in the establishment and development of a School of Optometry there.
Dr. Fisher served from 1968 to 1970 as president of the American Academy of Optometry, the first Canadian to do so. This organization is dedicated to promoting excellence in standards of optometric practice and encouraging the pursuit of research in optometry and related sciences.
From his earliest days in the profession, Dr. Fisher was involved in optometric history, and he was the founding curator of the Museum of Visual Science. He was an active member of several international bodies which are interested in ophthalmic history, including the Optometric Historical Society and the Ocular Heritage Society (both based in the US), as well as several similar groups in the United Kingdom. Dr. Fisher was involved in writing a history of Optometry in Canada.