President’s Insight

June President’s Insight

June 2018

Development of Optometry Worldwide

Living in a country where there is access to care, it is sometimes hard to remember that everyone does not have this advantage. An eye exam to correct refractive error and detect sight-threatening conditions seems easy to access, but it is not always possible. Around the world, so many do not have this advantage due to lack of eyecare providers or inability to access this care. Optometrist are well suited to help fill this vast need. The World Council of Optometry (WCO) created a document called “Why Optometry?” in response to the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Avoidable Blindness and Visual Impairment 2014-2019. This document can be found at https://worldcouncilofoptometry.info/why-optometry/. The WCO states: “Optometry answers these challenges by providing a range of diagnostic, technical and direct patient care and support services required by patients and other health care professions. It has increasingly focused on universal health coverage; providing accessible, equitable and affordable eye health services to all and shifting from a predominantly private sector orientation to a public sector one as well. Optometry functions in a primary care capacity in many developed countries and in developing countries at a secondary level as part of a multidisciplinary team including doctors and ophthalmologists.”

In addition, as optometrists, it would be hard if we were unable to practice using all our skills and knowledge that we acquired in our training to help our patients. There are many organizations working hard to increase the level of optometry training worldwide. These organizations are also working with local government to recognize the profession of optometry and enabling optometrist to provide care within the local healthcare systems.  

How can you help? Become a member and support organizations that are developing optometry schools and advocating for optometry as a profession around the world. Here are some of these organizations:

VOSH/International: https://vosh.org/

World Council of Optometry: https://worldcouncilofoptometry.info/

Brien Holden Vision Institute: https://www.brienholdenvision.org/

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness: https://www.iapb.org/

EYElliance: http://www.eyelliance.org/

Optometry Giving Sight: http://www.givingsight.org/

Tracy Matchinski, OD, FAAO, FVI

President VOSH/International

May President’s Insight

Working with SVOSH Chapters

Student VOSH chapters are present at almost every optometry school. They are engaged and energic, looking for ways to provide VOSH services, just like VOSH Chapters. It is ideal for VOSH Chapters to develop a relationship with their local SVOSH chapter.

Some ways to connect:

  • If you live in a state where there is an optometry school, connect with the SVOSH chapter
  • Look to connect to a nearby optometry school, even if not in the same state
  • Connect with the SVOSH faculty advisor at your nearby optometry school
  • Sponsor events with local SVOSH club
    • Pizza party with a presentation of your VOSH Chapter activities, clinic trips
    • Donate to the SVOSH chapter to support their activities
  • Work with local SVOSH chapter on World Sight Day (WSD) activities. WSD is an annual event to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. WSD is held on the second Thursday of October and this year it will be on October 11th.
  • Make it easier for students to participate
    • Find out from the SVOSH chapter when their school breaks are, it is easier for students to participate in trips during academic breaks. Take a look at the SVOSH calendar of breaks: https://vosh.org/chapters/student-vosh-calendar-of-breaks/
    • Avoid the month of March (and a few months leading up to March) due to National Boards part 1.
    • Many SVOSH students that participate go during their 3rd year and during their 3rd year is when they are preparing for and taking National Boards part 1.
  • Attend VOSH midyear or annual meetings to meet up with students
  • Connect with VOSH/International Board of Directors SVOSH liaison Dr. Michael Ciszek, ciszek@vosh.org.
  • If you have ideas of how to involve an SVOSH chapter, let us know atciszek@VOSH.org

If you have never had optometry students on your trip, please consider it. SVOSHers add incredible value, enthusiasm and excitement to VOSH clinic trips. They are also the future of VOSH.

 

Tracy Matchinski, OD, FAAO, FVI

President VOSH/International

MOVE: Motivating Others to VOSH Excellence

April 2018

MOVE: Motivating Others to VOSH Excellence

UNAN and ICO optometry students November 2017

How can we make our VOSH clinic trips more impactful? Team up with local optometry! In November 2017, I lead a team from VOSH Illinois including seven of my students from the Illinois College of Optometry, http://www.ico.edu, to work with local optometry for a community service project in Mexico City. My longtime friend and fellow optometrist from Mexico, Dr. Cecilia Escobar, organized locally and coordinated participation from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Optometry program, http://optometria.iztacala.unam.mx/. ICO and 16 UNAN optometry students worked side by side to provide care to 1500 patient during a week-long clinic in Mexico City. During this time, the students worked side by side to provide optometric care. Clinical skills and ideas were exchanged and relationships formed. Through the MOVE program, funded by Optometry Giving Sight, http://www.givingsight.org, the ICO SVOSH club was able to present 10 sets of retinoscopy bars to the UNAN program to support them in their continued community service projects.

UNAN and ICO optometry students November 2017

VOSH clinic trips are a valuable way of enhancing local optometry capacity and the MOVE grant provides an opportunity to provide equipment for optometric community service. These grants are for 2 years projects and are funded at $1,500.00. To learn more and apply for MOVE grants see: https://vosh.org/chapters/

 

Tracy Matchinski, OD, FAAO, FVI

President VOSH/International