World Orthoptics Day June 3, 2019

As optometrists, we know that once an eye examination has been done ensuring that a patient has the proper glasses prescription and their ocular health is good, patients may still experience problems with their vision.  Orthoptics is a discipline of eyecare that specializes in disorders of the visual system that cause symptoms such as trouble reading, double vision, eye strain, blurry vision and poor focusing ability.  These symptoms can stem from problems with our focusing and eye movements such as accommodation and convergence insufficiency, amblyopia, double vision and strabismus.  Having these problems can make it difficult to have clear comfortable reading vision, creating hurdles to education and employment.  Sometimes these problems can be resolved through visual training.  VOSH/International supports the practice of orthoptics and the inclusion of orthoptics in optometry schools worldwide.  Optometrists and orthoptists work side by side for the benefit of our patients complementing our skills and areas of expertise. During our clinics many of us have identified patients who would benefit from orthoptists skills and understand the need to increase the numbers of optometrists and orthoptists within the eye healthcare workforce.

The aim of the International Orthoptic Association’s World Orthoptics day is to promote the science of orthoptics worldwide, to provide information and support to national bodies and individual orthoptists, and to help maintain and improve standards of education, training and orthoptic practice.  You can read more about it here:

https://www.internationalorthoptics.org/events/word-orthoptic-day/

If you happen to be near the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, the British and Irish Orthoptic Society will be celebrating World Orthoptics Day by attempting to break the current Guinness world record for the “Largest Human Image of an Eye.” Join the fun!

https://www.orthoptics.org.uk/orthoptics-guinness-world-record-attempt/

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