We are pleased to announce VOSH-Virginia as September’s Chapter of the month! 

Working in remote and rural areas, providing quality eye care across its home state, and so much more, VOSH-Virginia is selected by VOSH/International as the September 2018 VOSH Chapter of the Month. Read on for their dynamic approaches:

VOSH-Virginia partnered with Remote Area Medical (RAM) Virginia to increase access to quality vision services. Over 6,000 individuals in rural and remote areas in Virginia gained access to volunteer optometric services. Services included eye exams, dilation, follow-up services for cataracts and glaucoma, and prescription eye glasses.

As a result, over $5,000,000.00 in free services were provided to individuals across Virginia. (NB: this selection was made prior to the passing of RAM’s founder and magnificent leader Stan Brock memorialized at https://www.ramusa.org/remembering-stan-brock/ )

VOSH-Virginia works throughout the year to grow and facilitate high quality eye professional volunteers. Through Remote Area Medical of Virginia, volunteers were provided with equipment, medications, frames and lenses to operate larger scale 2-3 day events. VOSH-Virginia volunteers were able to perform 2,239 eye exams and provide 3,232 pairs of prescription glasses. Each volunteer is provided with an enriching experience. Volunteers have a personal connection with the patients and culture of specific clinic locations and return each year to help that community.

VOSH-Virginia is also dedicated to the overall health of the patients. As such, the optometrists are able to connect patients with high quality medical services to treat contributing diseases such as diabetes. Over 10% of patients treated at these clinics are found to be new onset diabetics who were unaware of their conditions. Screening for such disease help to prevent conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy.

Congrats VOSH-Virginia!
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