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...

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 Ways to connect: invite SVOSH members to local meetings, clinics and activities Here is list of SVOSH chapter leadership: https://vosh.org/chapters/student-chapters/ 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...

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      ...

Our Children’s Vision Partners Meeting

I had the opportunity to attend the Our Children’s Vision Partners Meeting on February 5th and 6th, 2018 in Chilaw, Sri Lanka.  Our Children’s Vision is a global effort lead by Brien Holden Vision Institute and has 73 partner organizations, one of which is VOSH/International.  Attending the meeting were 50 participants representing 25 of the partner organizations.  This is a powerful initiative by the Brien Holden Vision Institute with the purpose “to upscale, accelerate and expand access to eye health services to more children in more locations”.  To date, this program has screened 18 million children with the goal of providing services to 50 million children by 2020. They have developed guidelines and work towards sustainable system change.  Mechanisms of this campaign include: Powerful partnerships Child eye Health services Driving awareness Local knowledge Support for services Our Children’s Vision is leading this call to action by: Advocacy for changes to policy, practice and financing Health education and promotion Research Practioner and Health Worker education Harness Technology driven solutions Disability Inclusiveness Alignment with child health, welfare and development policies, the SDGs and the GAP Creating access to eyecare will enable children to access education and ensure best quality of life.  Children should not be hindered in their education because of a vision problem.  Children’s eye health must be part of children’s health and education and integrated into local health policies.  Our Children’s Vision is bringing all partners together for global development and consolidated efforts to drive sustainable change.  You can find out more information about this campaign and lend your support at...

Ok, so now it’s been about a month since you have made those New Year’s resolutions.  How is that going for you?

So, what is a resolution anyway?  It can be defined as a firm decision to do (or not do) something, the action of solving a problem or contentious matter and the quality of being resolute or determined.  VOSH/International continues to be resolute in pursuing its goal of facilitating the provision and sustainability of vision care worldwide for people who can neither afford or obtain such care.  V/I is doing many wonderful things to provide care and promote optometry.     As I step into the Presidency of VOSH/International,  and review my NY’s resolutions for VOSH, my Presidential goals are my resolutions for VOSH/International during my term.  I would like to focus on the following Presidential Goals: Promote and strengthening the work of VOSH Chapters within our own communities.  International trips are important, but happen 1-2x/year for a chapter.  What else can VOSH be doing?  With the challenges of healthcare, it is an unfortunate reality, that even in our own communities, people need help. Develop resource center for chapters:  Essilor Vision Foundation for lenses, frame donations, good Samaritan law to protect volunteer doctors, exam and wavier forms, sources for reading glasses, sunglasses, collaboration with SEE for local cataract surgery Continue to inspire optometry students to be involved with VOSH after their graduation.  There are many volunteer organizations, but VOSH is uniquely optometry.  It is the grassroots optometric volunteer organization.  Work to make VOSH clinic trips more recognized as valuable experiences for students, work with optometry schools and encourage students to participate. For international clinic trips, continue to make our work more meaningful by working within the continuum of sustainability.  Some ways to...

A Message to all VOSH and SVOSH Chapters

As 2018 begins, we would like to let you know what VOSH/International® (V/I) is doing for you and your VOSH chapter. Did you know there are now 81 VOSH Chapters ​including ​35 State​, Regional ​or Global ​Chapters and 46 Student-VOSH Chapters? Truly, ​VOSH Chapters are the essence of the VOSH family. In the past few years, under the presidency of Ellen Weiss, OD, FVI, and V/I Board member Michael Ciszek, OD, Chair of the V/I Student VOSH Committee, V/I focused on improving communications and relationships with all 46 Student VOSH chapters. That included a new network of communication which easily links all SVOSH chapters, 2 SVOSH Presidents symposiums, sponsored by National Vision, Inc, increased participation of SVOSH interns, the development of a highly anticipated Student VOSH Fellowship Program, an SVOSH Members only page on the VOSH website, and more. Did you know that the students want to go on your trips? It is amazing what can be accomplished by passionate volunteers. But then again, that is the beauty of VOSH, isn’t it?This year, I have made VOSH chapter services and domestic, local VOSH efforts priorities of my term as V/I President. This means that 2018 will be a year in which you will see a lot of benefits and changes to help your chapter communicate and operate even better. VOSH is here to help you! Here are a few highlights of what is newly available to your chapters, as well as what will be developed as the year unfolds​:​ ​New Clinic Form Streamlines Missions/Clinics and Eases Essential Data Collection. ​ The most exciting new development is that V/I has developed a universal form to be used by all chapters during their...