January 2020 Newsletter
2020 is the year of vision. Twenty years ago, VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative was launched. This initiative focused on achieving “A world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential.” Throughout this year we will be reflecting on what has been achieved and what is next for eye health and vision care. 

In this issue President Twelker shares his views on the importance of maintaining quality and standards in the optometric services patients should receive, send our support to Puerto Rico, news on available funding for our chapters, an overview of key dates of the international eye calendar, and much more. Please share the newsletter with the members of your chapter and fellow colleagues and send us your news.  
Puerto Rico recent powerful earthquake
Since last December Puerto Rico has been shaken by several quakes with the most powerful a 6.4-magnitude temblor taking place last January 7 th . There has been important infrastructure loss, human suffering and significant economic damage. We will be supporting our fellow chapters VOSH-Puerto Rico and SVOSH-IAUPR in their efforts to support the affected population after this disaster. We will coordinate with our Puerto Rican colleagues to plan our support effectively. 

VOSH/International and its chapters stand in solidarity with Puerto Rico.
President’s Insights
The Key to Success is Excellent Quality Eye and Vision Care with Affordable Options

VOSH/International is dedicated to improving eye and vision care around the world, especially in countries where access to such care is limited or unavailable. We work with schools of optometry to improve education. We advise on how to create legislation to define optometry and maintain quality.

It is ironic that in the United States, where VOSH/International originated and with the highest level of optometry in the world, that there is a fledgling movement to roll back quality and decrease standards. A November 2019 article by Yascha Mounk entitled “ The Great American Eye-Exam Scam ” embodies this effort. You can tell by the title where this author is headed.

The author laments that an eye examination is mandatory. He praises... Read the whole Insights here
Northeast VOSH is January Chapter of the month
Northeast VOSH has been in existence for 33 years and working with the Dorado Rotary Club of Panama City for six consecutive clinics. In 2019 they led one of their largest and more diverse clinics in two simultaneous locations: one in a university in Penonome and the other in the remote mountain town of San Roquito. This amazing chapter helped over 4000 patients and involved a multidisciplinary team of more than 150 students and doctors. Their commitment to the people of Panama continues where they return this January.  Our heartfelt congratulations to Dr Carl Sakovitz, Dr Rocco Robilotto and all the members of this chapter. More details here

World Braille Day
Since 2019, World Braille Day -observed on January 4th- raises awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication essential for the full realisation of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people. Persons with vision impairment are more likely than those without to experience higher rates of poverty and disadvantage that often represent a lifetime of inequality, poorer health, and barriers to education and employment.
Some assistive technology such as Perkins Braillers and Orbit Readers enable blind learners to read and write in Braille. Costs, lack of maintenance and trained personnel are common obstacles to make these technologies more widely available to those who need them most. Optometrists play an important role in the prevention of blindness and are actively involved in addressing low vision. More information at World Braille Day
Funding for our VOSH and SVOSH chapters
We are glad to inform that for 2020 we have secured funding from OGS for special projects to be implemented by our chapters in good standing in Latin America and the USA. The funding includes support for SVOSH clinics, school screenings, mentorships and for clinics for vulnerable communities in the USA. In the next newsletter we will provide more information on the application process. Watch the space
Education is a human right and essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals . Good vision enables children to reach their full potential. Studies show that correcting visual impairment with properly pre s cribed glasses results in a greater impact on attendance at school and academic performance than any other health intervention – it is estimated to be equivalent to 1/3 – ½ a year of additional schooling.
With millions of children and adolescents around the world who do not have the opportunity to enter or complete school; school vision screenings play an important role helping maintain children and young people in education and it is something that needs to be better recognised and supported by decision makers.  International Day of Education is observed on January 24th every year. VOSH/International chapters help children and young people stay in education and enjoy learning.
Clinics information
VOSH Texas Spring clinic in Chihuahua
VOSH Texas will conduct its 2020 spring clinic between 25 and 28 March.  Optometrists are needed ! For more information about our clinics, organised since 1981, please go to www.GuerreroClinic.org . The clinic is NOT in the state of Guerrero, but 900 miles north of there in the little rural village of Guerrero in the state of Chihuahua. There has never been an incident in the 30 years since we relocated from Juarez and built our modern facility in Guerrero. For more information contact Tom Pruett twpruett@comcast.net

VOSH Colorado recommends Nepal clinic opportunity
VOSH Colorado participated in this clinic in 2018 and it was a success. The group has medical, dental and would like to have a vision clinic again this year. The dates are: October 24 to November 4. Price is $2575 per person based on two people in the room - $600 single supplement. Interested parties should contact Pam Chestnut  pam@itstime2travel.com
US National Glaucoma Awareness Month
More than 2.2 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from glaucoma. Nearly half do not know they have the disease—it causes no early symptoms. Prevent Blindness America provides insightful information about this “Sneak Thief of Sight” here: https://www.preventblindness.org/glaucoma

For US VOSH and SVOSH chapters: How to get IRS 501 c3 status
If your US chapter has been wondering how to incorporate pursuant to section IRS 501 c 3, the following guide will answer your questions and lead you to key resources. This has been produced by VOSH members knowledgeable of how our chapters operate. For more information please visit Guide to IRS 501c3 incorporation
New SVOSH chapter in Mexico-Bienvenidos
In December our Board of Directors approved a new SVOSH chapter at the Universidad Autónoma de la Laguna SVOSH-UAL located in the state Coahuila, Mexico. We extend a warm welcome to our colleagues at La Laguna. Their Faculty Adviser is Beatriz Gomez Serna ( bserna@ual.mx ). Please contact her if your chapter is organising a clinic in this state to increase collaboration and networking with our international chapters. 
Maui Jim’s sunglasses available to our chapters
Maui Jim has again donated sunglasses to VOSH/International. These are free of charge to our chapters in good standing. Chapters will need to cover shipping costs and the necessary packaging materials. These are on first come first served basis.

Our TTP programme is managing the donation and interested chapters will need to read and agree with the terms and conditions attached to this donation. Read the T&cs here and t o request the sunglasses complete this form