“Optometry Giving Sight raises funds to support sustainable projects that deliver eye care and glasses in communities where there is currently little or no access to these services”. Optometry Giving Sight is a valuable partner to VOSH/International. Congratulations to them as they celebrate their ten year anniversary! I always enjoy looking at their website, givingsight.org, to read about the many projects they support.

World Sight Day is October 13th. Yesterday our office received a large box containing our new Optometry Giving Sight t-shirts. In our office, employees have a casual day one day per week where they wear their Optometry Giving Sight t-shirts. We put various informational pieces throughout the office, and post pictures on our Facebook page. Patients are encouraged to donate, and when they do so put their name on a donor card that’s posted behind our front desk.

Optometry students are especially creative in their participation in the World Sight Day challenge. One school hosts a dine-in- the-dark dinner, where they serve a nice dinner and all those participating wear a blindfold while eating. Another school sells links that the participants put their name on, and link them together to create a large chain. At the end of the challenge they pull on the chain, and the first link that breaks wins a prize. On a student level this creates excitement about how students can make a difference with their fundraising and it also raises the awareness of the blind and visually impaired people throughout the world.

I challenge all VOSHer’s to participate in the World Sight Day Challenge, which run through September and October. Optometry Giving Sight can help you get started-go to their website for ideas and help make a difference.

Ellen L. Weiss, OD, FVI, President

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