March 2020 newsletter
In challenging times, we stay together and care

COVID-19 is having a significant impact on our lives and work. At this moment our thoughts are with you and our priority is to ensure that our volunteers and patients are safe. VOSH/International issued some information to our members that you can find here.

This month we highlight our President's Insights, several blogs by VOSH members on glaucoma and the education of optometrists in Vietnam. We feature VOSH-CT as chapter of the month and highlight the work of VOSH-Eurohispano-Peru as well as sharing interesting resources and updates. If you want to share information through this newsletter, please send your inputs to by the second week of each month.  

Stay safe, healthy and positive
AOA's support for US ODs
We recognise that many ODs will be directly affected by this crisis. We recommend you keep up to date with the steps that the American Optometric Association is taking on behalf of the profession to provide a crisis relief and recovery assistance package. Please read more on this here .
President's Insights

As we all know, all over the world people are facing unprecedented challenges. There is the pandemic itself that nations are dealing with slowdowns, lock downs, ramping up testing capabilities and improving treatment options for critically ill patients. There are the economic repercussions of the pandemic, with tens of thousands of optometrists out of work or on leave temporarily. There are also many small practice owners that were forced to lay off valued employees. There are many uncertainties right now. Click here to read the whole article.
Chapter of the month- VOSH-CT
Over the past 20 years VOSH-CT has been serving thousands of patients in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. This beautiful location in southwest Nicaragua, depends on fishing and tourism. Over the last years the town and surrounding areas have experienced great economic difficulties and the need for eye care services is also on the rise. The commitment of this chapter to Nicaragua has seen at least 45,000 Nicaraguans served over the years and the building of strong relationships with its local partners.   Besides its important work abroad, members of VOSH-CT also support low income and vulnerable communities in the USA. Our heartfelt congratulations to VOSH-CT, its President, Dr Blondin and all its members on a well-deserved recognition. 
International Women's Day- #Eachforequal
Annually March 8th marks International Women’s Day. VOSH/International celebrates women’s achievements in the Eyecare profession and their important contribution to our work. Optometry is a profession that is changing along gender lines across the world. Tracy Matchinski, OD past President of VOSH/International reflects on the importance of this date for female ODs and their patients. Read the whole article here

International chapter spotlight
One of our most active international chapters is VOSH-Peru-Eurohispano. Under the leadership of Dr Severo Sanchez, this chapter organises regular clinics for very vulnerable communities in Peru.   Through strong partnerships with the Peruvian navy and air force, local Rotary Clubs, international organisations including fellow VOSH and SVOSH chapters (SVOSH-NOVA and SVOSH-Waterloo), the Eurohispano reaches thousands of Peruvians in need of eye care. In February they travelled by air and boat to serve communities in need.
World Glaucoma Week
World Glaucoma Week is a joint initiative between the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association, and it is held between 8 and 14 March. Optometrists as the first point of contact can help identify glaucoma in their patients. More information here

Over the course of #glaucomaweek 2020, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) organized several webinars, where various aspects of glaucoma care and management from around the world were discussed.  

They also featured various blogs including one from the President of VOSH-PA chapter -Dr Mark Rakoczy- on their experience with glaucoma in Haiti. Read it here .  
World Optometry Day
Every March 23 rd , World Optometry Day highlights the key role that optometrists play in primary eye health and vision care. It is an opportunity to celebrate our profession and reiterate our commitment to our patients. This year the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is featuring a series of blogs to celebrate this day and raise awareness on our work and impact. Drs Robert and Kim Molter, VOSH Corps members teaching Vietnam have contributed to this initiative. Read their blog here .
Midyear meeting update - Online is the new way
Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, VOSH/International will hold its mid-year meeting online. The meeting will be organised as a series of independent webinars that chapters can join in via Zoom. It is our sincere hope that many chapters join us in this initiative. Please mark Saturday June 27 th in your calendars. We will send detailed information on the meeting separately.
Top Contact Lens Experts Dispel Misinformation Regarding Coronavirus / COVID-19 Protections for Contact Lens Wearers
Three of the world’s most published researchers in eye health are responding to misinformation circulating regarding contact lens and spectacles/glasses wear amidst Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.
Lyndon Jones, FIACLE and director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo (Canada);  Philip Morgan , IACLE Vice President and director of Eurolens Research at The University of Manchester (United Kingdom); and  Jason Nichols, Associate Vice President Research and Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (United States) share guidance on safe wear and handling and highlight the importance of compliance with thorough hand washing and disinfection. Read more here and visit IACLE’s website for more information on contact lens education.