Data Collection-are you up to the challenge?

From our website “As one of the largest organizations that provides direct delivery service of eye care in the developing world, VOSH Chapters have the potential to make a significant contribution to alleviating the global burden of blindness and visual impairment by simply recording our data.” Annually VOSH clinics serve thousands of people all over the world. Thousands receive glasses, medication, referrals and education about their eyes. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was data to further validate the important work that VOSH Chapters are doing? The data can be used by organizations such as IAPB, WCO, BHVI and others to gain information on global eyecare needs. VOSH Chapters can also use it to better prepare for clinic trips if common refractive errors and ocular conditions in a region are better understood.

Data collection is an immense effort for VOSH teams. If it is done during the clinic trip, it may be difficult as the team has already put in a long clinic day. If the data collection is left until after a team returns home, sometimes the data is put on the back burner and may stay there. Advice from VOSH Chapters that have successfully contributed data is to collect data during the clinic trip. One of the best ways to do this is to add a station to your clinic. Make it part of the clinic and assign VOSH team members to review exams forms and enter the data live during the clinic.

Data collection can be thought of in two levels-basic and comprehensive. If you have not yet collected data, the basic level may be a good place to start moving to the comprehensive level on your next VOSH clinic trip. The basic level collects information on number of patients seen, gender, age groups, glasses dispenses, referrals made. On our website, this data can be uploaded daily or at the end of your clinic trip. The comprehensive level uses a VOSH developed universal exam form labeled “SOS Intake & Exam Form”. These forms are completed on every patients and scanned in. A software program is able to analyze the data and provide results on all parts of the examination and inclusive of all the basic level data. Forms for both the basic and advanced data collection are found on our website at: There is a PowerPoint to assist understanding how to use the universal form and if you have any question please ask at

Data collection is not easy, but it is important. The good news is that VOSHers are hard workers and very capable to take this extra important step that will help contribute to solutions in the field of global eyecare. VOSH Chapters are up to the challenge of data collection!

Tracy Matchinski, OD, FAAO, FVI

President VOSH/International