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:



  1. 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 to donate to a VOSH trip-especially kid’s sunglasses (donate to your local VOSH chapter).
  2. Go on an international VOSH trip or participate in a domestic 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: http://vosh.org/get-involved/clinics-by-date/
  3. Get involved with domestic humanitarian efforts through Remote Area Medical http://ramusa.org/  or California Care Force https://www.californiacareforce.org/
  4. Contact and collaborate with a a VOSH Student Chapter in your area: http://vosh.org/chapters/student-chapters/
  5. Check out and Like VOSH/International’s Facebook page to get all the latest news on humanitarian eye care: https://www.facebook.com/vosh.org
  6. Check out and Like Optometry Giving Sight’s Student Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/students4sight/.  
  7. Participate in Optometry Giving Sight’s World Sight Day challenge: http://www.givingsight.org/giving/world-sight-day-challenge.html
  8. Contact the American Optometric Student Association. They have a lot of useful information on their website: https://theaosa.org/membership/pre-optometry-student-membership/

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