VOSH Recognizes Myopia Awareness Week

In many countries, when we think about myopia we think about myopia control-what combination of glasses, contact lenses and atropine eye drops will slow the progression of myopia and prevent future vision loss from myopic complications.  What we also need to be thinking about is those who have myopia and who do not have glasses to correct it.  We need to think about the people that do not have access to eye care and cannot obtain glasses to help them see.  When we are unable to see, we have trouble with our education, ability to work and social interaction.

The World Council of Optometry and Brien Holden Vision Institute are working together to bring awareness to myopia with Myopia Awareness Week, 13-19 May 2019.  The WCO and BHVI seek to increase awareness about myopia and proper treatment.

In a recently published study by Dr. Naidoo et al, it was found that visual impairment from uncorrected myopia had an impact on the global economy of lost productivity of US$244 billion dollars.  The study found that 538 million people suffer uncorrected myopia and an investment of US$20 billon could eliminate this problem globally.  This funding would be investing in the training of eye care professionals and eye care infrastructure in countries that lack these resources.  Naidoo KS, Fricke TR, Frick KD, Jong M, Naduvilath TJ, Resnikoff S, Sankaridurg P, Potential lost productivity resulting from the global burden of myopia: systematic review, meta-analysis and modelling. Ophthalmology. 2019 Mar;126(3):338-346. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.10.029. Epub 2018 Oct 17.       

VOSH/International and VOSH Chapters are working towards developing and supporting optometry and providing eye care and glasses around the world.

To read more about Myopia Awareness Week and the impact of global myopia, visit the websites of World Council of Optometry and Brien Holden Vision Institute:
https://worldcouncilofoptometry.info/myopia-awareness-week-may-13-19-2019/
https://www.brienholdenvision.org/news/item/192-uncorrected-myopia-cost-global-economy-us-244-billion-in-lost-productivity-in-2015.html
https://www.globalmyopiacentre.org/

Tracy Matchinski, OD, FAAO, FVI
President, VOSH/International

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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