VOSH/International Partnership with Optometry Giving Sight
In 2008, VOSH International and Optometry Giving Sight established a partnership to help VOSH International and its members to play a leading role in the development and implementation of sustainable eye and vision care projects in Latin America. The 5 year MOU was renewed in 2013.
To date, Optometry Giving Sight has allocated or disbursed more than $525,000 to the following VOSH projects:
- 2009 – Purchase of trial lenses and hand instruments by VOSH Florida for students at Schools of Optometry in Peru
- 2009 – Establishment of a Vision Center, Xochicalco University, Mexico providing clinical training for students and access to affordable local services for people in need in the adjoining barrios.
- 2010 – Mid Level Ophthalmic Training Course coupled with a Primary Eye Care Program in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan.
- 2010 – A Population Study and Outreach/Referral Screening Program, with results published at the American Academy of Optometry meeting in October 2012 by lead investigator, Dr. Larry Hookway. The data for the quality of life and spectacle usage surveys was collected by trained local workers. Community health nurses screened and dispensed readers and ready-made equal sphere bifocals to an estimated 2,000 people.
- 2011 – Ongoing support for the Technology Transfer Program whereby used equipment is shipped to schools and practices in Latin America.
- 2011 – Equipment was purchased to establish the first teaching laboratory at the Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN). The laboratory was inaugurated on July 26th 2012 and has 3 full lanes and 10 practice refraction lanes, and has greatly assisted the 50 students who graduate from the program each year. Additional equipment was provided in 2013.
- 2012 – The Vision Entrepreneurs pilot project in Haiti was implemented by VOSH Pennsylvania to deliver prescription eyewear and sunglasses to poor people in remote parts of Haiti. 24 local people received training to help sell reading glasses and sunglasses to those in need. Program was ongoing in 2013 and 2014.
- 2012 – Funds were donated to provide equipment for a vision center at La Plata School of Optometry and Optics in Argentina as part of their “Visual Health for All” program, which also promotes the important role of Optometry and Optometrists in primary eye health.
- 2013. VOSH International and Optometry Giving Sight allocated funds to support a documentary film on the life of Dr. Tom Little, who was killed while on an eye care mission in Afghanistan. The film will be released in 2015.
- 2013 – Funds were allocated to a new project, VOSH CORPS, which was launched in June 2013, in association with the Brien Holden Vision Institute, which will enable new graduates to do their residency at a School of Optometry in an underserved community in Africa or Latin America.
- 2014 – Funds were allocated to help support the development of an optometry program at the University of Haiti.
Optometry Giving Sight was also pleased to nominate VOSH/International Past President Dr. Greg Pearl as an Eye Health Hero at the 9th General Assembly of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness in Hyderabad, India in September 2012.