President’s Insight August 2016: World Sight Day Challenge!

“Optometry Giving Sight raises funds to support sustainable projects that deliver eye care and glasses in communities where there is currently little or no access to these services”. Optometry Giving Sight is a valuable partner to VOSH/International. Congratulations to them as they celebrate their ten year anniversary! I always enjoy looking at their website, givingsight.org, to read about the many projects they support. World Sight Day is October 13th. Yesterday our office received a large box containing our new Optometry Giving Sight t-shirts. In our office, employees have a casual day one day per week where they wear their Optometry Giving Sight t-shirts. We put various informational pieces throughout the office, and post pictures on our Facebook page. Patients are encouraged to donate, and when they do so put their name on a donor card that’s posted behind our front desk. Optometry students are especially creative in their participation in the World Sight Day challenge. One school hosts a dine-in- the-dark dinner, where they serve a nice dinner and all those participating wear a blindfold while eating. Another school sells links that the participants put their name on, and link them together to create a large chain. At the end of the challenge they pull on the chain, and the first link that breaks wins a prize. On a student level this creates excitement about how students can make a difference with their fundraising and it also raises the awareness of the blind and visually impaired people throughout the world. I challenge all VOSHer’s to participate in the World Sight Day Challenge, which run through September and October. Optometry Giving Sight can help you get started-go to their website for ideas and help make a...

President’s Insight July 2016: Boston Board Bulletin

I wanted to share a little background on how the VOSH volunteer board and committees work. Since we’re all scattered in different states and Canada, we hold monthly board meetings via conference call. Throughout the month, there are various additional calls between various board members, committee chairs and volunteers to plan, implement and manage the wide variety of tasks and projects that VOSH is involved in. In June many of us gathered in Boston for a face-to- face meeting during the American Optometric Association (AOA) meeting. As President of VOSH/International, I was asked to present to the American Optometric Student Association Trustee’s and Trustee-Elects. In addition, VOSH and the AOA held a joint student reception to recognize our student volunteers and the awesome job they are doing. Much thanks to the AOA Board of Trustees for taking the time out of their very busy week to mingle with VOSH. Thanks also to the New England College of Optometry for their generous donation of their board room at the NECO Institute Center for our meeting. It’s so productive when our dedicated group of volunteers can sit in a room together. It was a busy, fast paced, productive meeting. Some of the discussion topics included branding VOSH, chapter benefits, dues, our relationship with Optometry Giving Sight, the website, legalities, our student intern program, fundraising, TTP, and VOSH Corps. Many objectives were accomplished and new goals set. As President I want to express my appreciation for those that donated their time, effort and expense to attend this meeting. Ellen L. Weiss, OD,...

President’s Insight April 2016: A New Chapter in and for Ghana

Congratulations to one of our newly formed VOSH chapters in Ghana, ably led by Dr. Abena Ntim, OD MSC, who had their first outreach mission in March. Dr. Ntim and VOSH Ghana, in conjunction with Rotary Club of Accra West, organised a free eye screening and education for the people of Kitase and the surrounding community on March 19, 2016. VOSH and the Rotarians, 24 optometry students from KNUST School of Optometry and local dignitaries worked together on this historical event. Held at the Kitase primary school, Dr. Ntim reports that “the program started at 9am in the morning with a brief education on how to take care of the eyes and some symptoms of common eye problems that need medical attention. A total of 152 people were screened with 55 children and 97 adults. 74 of them were given eye glasses and 81 of them received medication. 48 of them were also referred to the nearest eye center for further management.” Dr. Ntim also shared that “Common eye conditions seen were cataract, glaucoma, retinopathies, refractive errors, presbyopia and allergic conjunctivitis. The commonest eye condition seen in the children was vernal conjunctivitis and among the elderly was presbyopia. Cataract and refractive error were the second highest in the adults and children respectively.” The VOSH Technology Transfer Program (TTP) was able to provide acuity charts, trial lens sets, ophthalmoscopes and retinoscopes to VOSH Ghana. Arrangements are being made to supply them with more scopes, trial lens sets and trial frames, pen lights, readers and frames for their future outreach clinics. Dr. Ntim has the admirable goal of four outreach clinics a year. Thanks to Dr. Mark Rakoczy, OD , from VOSH-PA for providing mentorship to Dr....

President’s Insight March 2016: Bringing the World into Focus – A History of VOSH

We have something exciting happening at VOSH. Michel Listenberger, OD, FVI and VOSH Historian is writing a book, “Bringing the World into Focus – A History of VOSH”. The origin of the book came about when Michel assumed the role of VOSH historian. As he sorted through the VOSH archives, read past newsletters, legal documents and stories that have been handed down through the years, the importance of preserving this part of VOSH history became apparent. Michel, a published author, brought the proposal of a VOSH history book to the board and we are happy to see this project develop. Why is this exciting? It’s important to know who we are and part of that is where we’ve come from. Many dedicated people have moved VOSH along so that is has become the wonderful international NGO that is it. The beauty of the book is that Michel has been able to interview many of the past presidents and board members. The book chronicles the origins and advancements of VOSH over the last several decades. Want to find out more about VOSH’s expansion into Africa, our TTP (Technology Transfer Program), chapter growth, and read funny, entertaining and emotional VOSH stories? All this will be in the 150-200 page history of VOSH book. You are invited to make a donation of any amount to support the upcoming book written by noted author and fellow VOSHer, Dr. Michel Listenberger. Donations are tax deductible. If you’re generous enough to donate $1,000 by April 15, 2016 your name will be “credited” in the front of the book. Ellen L. Weiss, OD,...

President’s Insight February 2016: Making Connections

Attending an optometry continuing education meeting any time soon?  VOSH exhibits yearly at the Heart of America Congress, SECO, Vision Source, AOA, Vision Expo West, Academy and various other meetings. If you’re in the exhibit hall, we’d love to have you stop by and say hello. We’re always looking for volunteers to staff the various exhibit halls, so please shoot me an email if this interests you. Why does VOSH exhibit? One reason is visibility. Our webpage is user friendly and full of great information, but there’s a personal connection when we can visit one on one as we swap stories. It’s always nice when people stop by and comment how they went on a trip as s student, and their life is now to the point where they want to again become involved. VOSH visibility is also important to other vendors. Companies know what VOSH is about, and we’ve built great connections and resources in the exhibit halls visiting with the other vendors. Another reason to exhibit is to increase membership. It’s an effective recruitment tool for local chapters to work the booth space when a meeting is in their region. What will you find at our VOSH booth? We have a variety of one page flyers that allow people to gather information and read about what is relevant to them. These may include local chapter information, clinic opportunities, and information on our TTP program, VOSH Corps, and annual meeting.  So the next time you’re at a meeting, take a few minutes to stop by a visit. SAVE THE DATE: The 2016 VOSH/International Annual Meeting will be in...