Help a Child to See!

World Sight Day Thursday October 10, 2019

Worldwide, there are over a billion people that are unnecessarily visual impaired because they don’t have access to eye care and a pair of glasses.  This unnecessarily vision loss inhibits a child from learning, an adult from working and an individual from being involved in their community.  Access to eyecare and vision correction can change lives dramatically.  During our outreach clinics we regularly witness the significant difference screening and a pair of glasses can make in people’s lives.  A routine eye examination is still not accessible for all, despite being the easiest way to ensure people enjoy good vision and visual impairment is prevented. VOSH/international supports World Sight Day (WSD) as it raises both awareness and necessary funding to end preventable vision loss.  It is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. It is supported by eye health organizations around the world – including Optometry Giving Sight – and is included on the official World Health Organization (WHO) calendar.  World Sight Day (WSD) is observed annually on the second Thursday of October.  Funds raised by the eyecare community help fund schools of optometry and train other eye care professionals, help build and provide equipment in community-based vision centers that provide access to vision care and glasses where currently none exist.

The theme this year is “Help A Child See!”  Every donation helps and for as little as $5, this money can provide an eye exam and glasses for a child to help them reach their potential.  So, how can we get involved?  We can promote WSD and raise funds that will go towards the objectives of increasing awareness of this public health issue; mobilizing additional resources for blindness prevention; controlling the major causes of avoidable blindness; training eye care doctors and professionals and providing appropriate technology and infrastructure.  In the US and Canada, Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) provides an easy framework in which to raise funds for WSD called the WSD Challenge.  We can register at  https://www.givingsight.org/practice-registration-us to receive a WSD Challenge kit.  An optometry practice can donate, pledge to donate on eye frame sale or eye exam given in October, invite patients to donate and hold local events to promote WSD.  Optometry Giving Sight is dedicated global fundraising organization that works towards eliminating unnecessary vision loss through provision of eyecare and glasses.  Optometry Giving Sight is a longtime partner and supporter of VOSH/International.

Get involved and be a part of WSD to help with the right to sight!

For more information please visit:
https://www.givingsight.org/giving/world-sight-day-challenge.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVc6asb4yD8
https://www.iapb.org/advocacy/world-sight-day/world-sight-day-2019/

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