Help to Bring the Issue of Global Blindness to the Forefront

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.

As direct delivery providers, we have the benefit of seeing many people from different communities around the world and we can easily incorporate surveys as part of our mission that can help with epidemiological studies in identifying the visual needs of a specific community.

One of the priorities of VISION/2020 is identifying communities with visual disability due to uncorrected refractive error (URE). VOSH projects can be an invaluable source of information for determining the prevalence of eye diseases and blindness from URE and an excellent way to rapidly assess the state of eye care in an underserved area. These projects can identify which communities are most in need and which communities are more likely to pay for eyeglasses and eye care. Different levels of poverty and accessibility require different types of approach to best alleviate the burden of uncorrected refractive error.

Our data can be an invaluable tool for advocacy groups like Brien Holden Vision Institute, Vision Impact Institute, Eyelliance, and other partner organizations with whom VOSH is working to bring the issue of global blindness to the forefront, so that it can be recognized as a public health concern to the same degree as malaria and river blindness is today.

UNIVERSAL OPTOMETRIC PATIENT FORMS

V/I has developed a universal patient form to be used by all chapters during their clinics as an invaluable way to capture optometric mission data to enhance the global fight against uncorrected refractive error & preventable ocular disease.

We will share this data with you and you can use it collected to anticipate the type of eye care issues will be treating, and apply for your own funding as well. This data will also be shared with national organizations, such as IAPB, WCO, to improve global humanitarian eye care delivery.

TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU to help us collect your data, we have developed three different options for you to assist you in sending us your patient data. At this point, here are our preferences of which form you use (but we will gratefully take it in any of these formats)

Please start using one of these patient forms on your next mission trip.

Please mail your completed patient forms (with the exception of #3 which is automatically submitted to V/I) to

Timothy Wingert OD
Rosenberg School of Optometry
9725 Datapoint Drive
San Antonio, TX 78258
If questions, please contact mcalister@VOSH.org
Thank you!
Updated COVID-19 and VOSH Humanitarian Clinics Advice

Due to an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections, a new variant that is more contagious, and these being early days in the vaccination distribution, VOSH/International DOES NOT recommend that chapters participate in domestic or international eye and vision clinics at this time.

We reiterate that at a time when the coronavirus continues to spread quickly in many parts of the world and vaccinations are not yet available to local populations, the risk of close contact with patients in a crowded outpatient environment remains high.

If a VOSH Chapter or VOSH volunteer chooses to hold a clinic against our best guidance, this is done at your own risk, by your own decision and should be in line with current local/national government rules.  VOSH/International would like to reiterate that 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.  You can download VOSH/International clinic guidelines here

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

World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

US CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/when-to-delay-travel.html

US Government Travel Advise: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html

Thank you for your patience in these unprecedented times, hard work and dedication to improving vision and eye health throughout the world.

John Daniel Twelker, OD, PhD, FAAO, FVI

President, VOSH/International

January 2021