Many high school and college students contact VOSH to ask how to get involved with optometry before they actually attend optometry school. While VOSH does not have a program specific to pre-optometry, we can offer this advice:
Join or start a pre-med club or pre-health professional club that meets regularly. Ask a faculty member from your school to supervise. Here are some activities or programs you might consider: Tour an local optometrist’s office, arrange a guest optometrist to come talk to your club, collect gently used sunglasses or readers to donate to your local VOSH chapter to use on their next clinic trip-especially kid’s sunglasses
Go on an international VOSH trip or participate in a domestic VOSH eye care outreach. You do not need to be an OD. We have a lot of significant and meaningful work for lay volunteers on a VOSH trip. Contact the trip coordinator: vosh.org/get-involved/clinics/
Participate in Optometry Giving Sight’s World Sight Day challenge to get connected
VOSH/International believes in the freedom to see. Providing the gift of vision and eye health to people worldwide. We facilitate the provision and the sustainability of vision care worldwide for people who can neither afford nor obtain such care. Our goal is to increase our global impact whenever possible by supporting sustainable eye clinics, optometry schools and optometric educators in areas lacking sufficient eye care.
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: