This is Your Chance to Support US Combat Veterans in Need

VOSH/International (V/I) is delighted to announce that it will collaborate with Everyone for Veterans (E4V) to facilitate access to eye health care to qualifying US returnee combat veterans.

E4V (www.everyoneforveterans.org) was founded in 2008 by Dr Theresa Cheng, a retired dentist in Washington state. E4V works through volunteer dentists around the country offering pro-bono dental care to qualifying veterans.  Veterans who benefit from E4V support are either unemployed living on veteran benefits, work part-time with no benefits, or work full time at low paying jobs with no benefits; they are not covered by existing medical assistance or live too far from a VA facility and cannot afford to get there. Since its establishment, E4V has worked with almost 500 dentists from 30 states providing needed dental care to low income combat veterans and their families.  This support can make a significant difference to these veterans’ lives.

The collaboration will focus on offering eye health care to qualifying returnee combat veterans and their families. Interested VOSH chapters and its members are invited to sign up to volunteer on E4V’s website.  Veterans requesting optometry care will apply and be screened by E4V which will subsequently introduce them to a V/I volunteer optometrist who has signed up with E4V.

The V/I volunteers will see the veterans at their own practises and at a time convenient to their schedules. Only 1 veteran per year will be assigned to each volunteer. Sometimes, this may involve only one visit.

The veterans will be offered a full eye examination and glasses to improve vision and identify any preventable eye condition. Whenever possible, V/I volunteers are encouraged to engage their local optical labs to support this cause. V/I may make available some small funds to cover the cost of prescription glasses.

V/I President Dan Twelker, OD, PhD said “In times of COVID-19, perhaps V/I volunteers would be willing to focus their expertise and commitment in providing vision care for those in need at home. This collaboration will make an immediate difference in people’s lives.  I encourage practicing V/I doctors to sign up and make this collaboration a success.”

On behalf of E4V, Founder and Executive Director, Theresa Cheng, DDS expressed “We have been aware of this service gap for our veterans for some time and are very grateful for this opportunity.”

For more information on the V/I-E4V collaboration please contact:

Maria Arce-Moreira, VOSH/International Executive Director vosh@vosh.org

Theresa Cheng, E4V Executive Director drcheng@everyoneforveterans.org

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