OCTOBER 16, 2021

(In person or on line – your choice)

The theme for this year’s meeting is “Building resilience and embracing change”.  It intends to recognize how as individuals, as a society, as a profession and as an organization, we have navigated a period of great uncertainty and change and become stronger in our commitment and motivation to offer better and more sustainable patient’s care in all countries we visit and where VOSH has presence.  The international eye health care context is evolving rapidly with recently agreed international targets on vision by 2030, addressing children’s vision can generate change and there have been several innovations to offer outreach services from which we can learn.

At this meeting, we will welcome new Board members and our new VOSH/International President, Dr. Michael Ciszek

Join us in person or online (details In Venue section)

We are grateful for the support of National Vision, Inc. as the Visionary Sponsor of our meeting



Next year submit your photos for the VOSH Annual Meeting Photo Contest

Thank you all so much for entering the SVOSH Photo Contest, and thank you even more for the great work you do to serve others!

Congratulations to Aemie Dizon from Manila Central University, the winner of the SVOSH Photo Contest with 868 likes and reactions! Janine Dagta, also from MCU, came in second with 595 likes and reactions, and Chelsey Curry from the Kentucky College of Optometry came in 3rd with 524 likes and reactions.

Cover-Uncover Test during the MCU Optometry Open Clinic during its founding anniversary celebration. Clinic was held at the Manila Central University Optometry Clinic in December 5, 2019

The Optometrist is examining and evaluating any changes in the fundus/retina of the geriatric patient which can be caused by common systemic conditions like hypertension or diabetes prevalent among geriatric population using a PanOptic Ophthalmoscope. Clinic was from the Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity(SVOSH) – MCU CHAPTER in collaboration with the MCU College of Optometry as they celebrated the World Sight Day at the Barangay Maysilo, Malabon, Metro Manila, Philippines last October 11, 2018

Chelsey Curry (OD-III) of the Kentucky College of Optometry performing a trial frame refraction while serving in March 2019 in El Salvador with FUDEM.

SVOSH chapters: Submit your photos for the

Student VOSH Photo Competition!

Get the details here

Send your entries by October 16, 2020 to 

2020 is a key year for vision and an unprecedented year for the world as a whole.

For this year’s video contest, VOSH/International would like you to share your chapters’ insights on what type of new world you like to see post-COVID-19 and how optometrists can make those insights a reality.

Send your 1 to 3 minutes entries by October 31, 2020 to

Three worthy finalists of the SVOSH Student Video Contest were screened and voted on by the attendees at the VOSH Annual Meeting in Orlando. And the clear winner was SVOSH-Manila Central University College of Optometry (Philippines.) Take a look at their wonderful 2 minute video at:

Other finalists were SVOSH-University of Missouri College of Optometry and SVOSH-University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry.

Hello all you wonderful SVOSH Chapters,

Fame, if not fortune, awaits the winner of the VOSH Student Video Contest. And a prize. AND a certificate.
AND visibility at the VOSH Annual Meeting in Orlando October 27. AND posting on all the VOSH/International social media platforms.

The deadline for submission to is less than 2 weeks away – October 1!

It’s simple – submit as follows – not your clinic video – but a 1-3 minute video related to the Annual Conference Theme: “BIG VISION small world.”

Cheers to all,

Mel Muchnik, Ph.D., FVI
Communications/PR Chair
VOSH/International Board of Directors
Join us at the VOSH Annual Meeting October 27
Orlando, Florida
For more info Click here for… BIG VISION small world

VOSH/International presents a Humanitarian of the Year Award to honor a VOSH member who has distinguished her or himself through leadership, invention, and public health practice or by transitioning clinics to sustainable eye care or furthering the understanding and correction of refractive error. The nominee must be a current member of a VOSH chapter or of VOSH/International.
To nominate an individual please complete the nomination form by May 15.
(If the link does not work you may also copy and paste the following into your web browser:
The V/I Past Presidents and the current Board of Directors will vote upon the VOSH/International Humanitarian of the Year. The award will be presented at the VOSH/International Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL on October 26-27, 2019. The recipient of the award will receive a stipend to offset his or her travel expenses to the meeting.

VOSH/International hosted its 25th annual meeting on October 14, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  Ninety- two people attended a full day of speakers, breakout sessions, exhibitors and networking. There were speakers from around the world including the USA, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam, El Salvador and Nicaragua. These speakers highlighted how VOSH/International and VOSH chapters have truly become an international force for optometry by providing care with local optometry and helping to educate optometry students in new optometry schools.  As VOSH moves to collaborates with local optometry and health care, our impact has become greater.

Also at the Annual Meeting, there were two awards given for exemplary service.  The Humanitarian of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Sandra Bury of Oak Lawn, Illinois.  Dr. Bury has been active in VOSH-Illinois since 1995.  She participates in both local and international clinic trips and, in addition, Dr. Bury is the mayor of her town.

The Harry I. Zeltzer Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Ellis Potter. Dr. Potter has had a lifetime of service as a Boy Scout, Rotarian and Optometrist.  Notably, Dr. Potter also became the first ever recipient of the American Academy of Optometry’s Brien Holden Humanitarian Award.  He received this award at the 2017 AAO meeting immediately preceding the VOSH/International meeting. To read Dr. Potter’s powerful remarks when accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award, please click here.

Both Drs. Bury and Potter are classic examples of the people involved in VOSH.  People with big hearts that have volunteerism as an essential part of who they are.  These two and the other nominees for the Lifetime Achievement and Humanitarian of the Year Awards, David McPhillips, OD, Walter Branson, Bud Falkenhain, OD, Lawrence Hauler, and David Stacy, OD, remind us of what we can be doing to help others.  Dr. Bury reminded us to have “service about self” and Dr. Potter challenged us to “think big…We have done much, but we could do more.”  Words to inspire us as we all continue in our own efforts.   

Mark your calendars for the next VOSH Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada on October 12-14, 2018.  Our theme at this meeting will be “United VOSH”, demonstrating the good we can do when working together.

VOSH/International presents the prestigious VOSH/INTERNATIONAL DR. HARRY I. ZELTZER LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD to a person who has been recognized during a lifetime of service to humanity for improving visual welfare through leadership, invention, public health, developing sustainable eye care and furthering the understanding and correction of refractive error. It is not an annual award and meets the highest criteria that exemplifies the spirit of VOSH/International. The Dr. Harry I. Zeltzer Lifetime Achievement Award was presented this year at the 25th VOSH Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois on October 14, 2017 to C. Ellis Potter, OD, FAAO, FVI.

These are the remarks he made when accepting this prestigious award:

            This is a huge honor to be not only associated with, but named as a recipient for the Harry Zeltzer Lifetime Achievement Award named after my friend and colleague, Dr. Harry Zeltzer.  Harry is one of the greats, a hall of famer for VOSH/International.  When I was President, he served not only as VOSH executive director but as a personal mentor and advisor.  We had many conversations. I can’t say enough about him as a friend and colleague.  I was truly blessed to have his aid and blessed for you to consider me in the same league with him.  

                        VOSH/International has come a long way in the last 10-15 years.  We have evolved.  We have used our International contacts to serve hundreds of thousands of patients in thousands of clinics with thousands of volunteers.  We have helped build and support the development of sustainable eye care systems in developing countries.  We have improved our administration with an informative web site, using conference calls and online communication, and by appointing an executive director.  We have recognized the importance of data collection and how it interrelates with our objectives and goals.  We have increased our public image exponentially to become a full-fledged program capitalizing on many media fronts.  We have gradually helped our chapters understand sustainability and the need for full service eye care. We have outreached to introduce humanitarian endeavors to Students and others in far reaching places.  We are recognized as advocates for the underprivileged.  We are welcomed as colleagues and equals at major meetings.  We have delivered equipment in faraway places.  We have led by example as a signee to open the new Optometry School in Haiti as well as being part of the development of the Optometry Schools in Nicaragua and El Salvador.  We have implemented the exciting VOSH Corp program to provide more educators in developing Optometry Schools.   We have encouraged participation in Domestic clinics and worked to develop a Disaster response.  We encouraged and incorporated our student colleagues and chapters into our long-range plans and objectives.

            We have done much, but we could do more.  I challenged the Board at the mid-year strategic planning event to think big and out of the box.  We could do much more if we had significant independent funding.  We could do much more with short term visitation and hosting of international colleagues in academic interchanges.  We could do more with many more sustainable vision locations to recommend to our chapters.  We could do more if we had more engaged participants.  We could do more with more individuals at this Annual meeting to hear of the possibilities and exchange ideas.  We could do more by joining with other organizations with common cause.  We could do more if we partnered with other NGO’s, Vendors, and Corporations.  We could do more if we partnered with other health care organizations.  We could do more if our board of directors had a greater range of representation.  We could do more if we seized upon our unparalleled name recognition and a reputation for doing good.  We could do more if _______________…  I’ll let you finish the sentence. 

            We are limited only by our own thought, imagination and energy.  I challenge each of you to think big and out of the box; to find creative ways to do these things and even more on a greater scale.  We can do more!  We can do much more!

            You have paid me the highest compliment with the Dr. Harry Zeltzer Lifetime Achievement Award but I couldn’t have done these things myself.   Working together, finding new ideas, executing significant plans can only be accomplished with teamwork.  You are part of the team.  And so part of the thanks for this award goes to you!  I Thank YOU! 

VOSH 25th Annual Meeting

October 14, 2017


Speakers and Panelists

Awards of Excellence

Breakout Sessions


Updated COVID-19 and VOSH Humanitarian Clinics Advice

VOSH/International recently consulted its US and International Chapters about the feasibility and timing to restart our humanitarian clinics. While the vaccination process continues with different levels of success depending on availability and acceptance, it is evident that vaccine inequity and the availability and reliability of data in several countries are issues we need to consider.

Even if already vaccinated and boosted, our chapters are still concerned about the wellbeing of our volunteers and patients.  Some chapters, are organizing clinics locally where they are better able to comply with the existing safety requirements and respective state/country regulations.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its variants are being experienced quite differently depending on state, region, country, vaccine availability, vaccine acceptance, and the spread of SARS-COV-2 variants. Most VOSH chapters are not holding clinics or traveling internationally in 2021 or 2022.

If a VOSH Chapter choses to hold a clinic or travel internationally, we highly recommend that the chapter performs due diligence to comply fully with the requirements established by the visited country, ensures all VOSH volunteers are aware of and follow strict safety guidelines and all existing protocols and regulations of the country, and keeps the principle of “do no harm” embedded in all its decision making. As always, the wellbeing and safety for VOSH volunteers and our patients is of utmost importance and central to any decision-making process. We have published our updated clinic guidelines with best practices to be observed in this new context. VOSH chapters in specific countries are using protocols that need to be considered as well. You can download VOSH/International clinic guidelines here.

*VOSH/International is formed by autonomous US and international chapters that are fully and only responsible for their activities, fundraising and decision-making.  VOSH/International can only provide recommendations based on our best knowledge and information at the time.

Also please keep checking the following sites with official and most recent updates:

World Health Organization:


US Government Travel Advise:

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to improving vision and eye health throughout the world.

Michael Ciszek, OD, dipl ABO, FVI

President, VOSH/International

December 2021