November 2021

In this issue, President Ciszek reflects on diabetes and vision, we pay our respects to Charlie Covington, offer a summary of Dr Twelker's visit to Dominican Republic, invite our US, Canada and Latin American chapters to two interesting training initiatives, highlight World Children's Day and our commitment to children's vision and more.

President's Insights

World Diabetes Day is November 14, 2021 and the theme this year is “Access to Diabetes Care, If Not Now, When?”, to highlight the ongoing care and support people with diabetes require to manage their condition and avoid complications. Optometrists play a vital role in both the detection of diabetes and in helping patients avoid complications by comanaging with primary care providers and endocrinologists.

Read the whole article here

In memory of Charlie Covington

VOSH/International is saddened to announce the passing of its loyal friend and supporter, Charles Covington. Charly was an active member of VOSH/Southeast and the Treasurer of VOSH/International for several years. We are grateful for his commitment, his humanity and gentle manner. Thank you, Charlie, you will be missed. The full obituary is here.

A successful visit of a VOSH ambassador to Dominican Republic

As part of our Ambassador’s Program, Dr Dan Twelker, visited the school of optometry at the Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago (UTESA), lecturing on several topics and visiting their campuses in Santiago and Santo Domingo. He met with authorities and members of VOSH-FUMVISION and concluded with a visit to the public hospital Moscoso Puello. During his visit, the equipment donated by our Technology Transfer Program to the UTESA school of optometry arrived. We are very grateful to the UTESA team for their hospitality and planning this visit so impeccably. We look forward to continue supporting the school.

Key to pictures featured

1.      Touring the campus in Santo Domingo with UTESA leaders and partners VOSH-Fumvision and Dominican Association of Optometrists

2.      Arrival of TTP donated equipment to UTESA

3.      Ambassador Twelker offers UTESA a diagnostic kit to help the students learn retinoscopy and ophthalmoscopy.

4.      Exchanging views with UTESA Rector Maria Elena Cruz, Ely Cruz, Director of Finance, Olga Guzman,Director of Optometry, and Mariano Belén, President of the Dominican Association of Optometrists.

5 and 6.      At the teaching hospital Moscoso Puello, Dan met with the director, ophthalmologists and VOSH-Fumvision volunteers who work there every Thursday.

Training for our chapters

Anti-racism training for US VOSH and SVOSH leaders

As part of our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, US and Canada SVOSH and VOSH chapter leaders are invited to join in a 2-hour training on anti-racism led by Prof. Landon Smith following similar initiative by SUNY school of optometry. Wednesday, December 1st from 6:00pm (US PST).

Register here

Taller sobre Introducción a la investigación científica y técnicas para publicar en inglés

VOSH/International ofrecerá 40 becas a miembros de nuestros capítulos SVOSH de Latinoamérica para participar en el taller de Introducción a la investigación científica y técnicas para publicar en inglés ofrecido en colaboración con la Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, México y Alcanza Language Consultants. Estudiantes de último año de optometría son especialmente alentados a participar. Mas información sobre el taller aquí.

Regístrese aquí

News from our partners

World Council of Optometry new leadership

At its recent General Assembly, the World Council of Optometry (WCO) inaugurated its new President Prof. Peter Hendicott from Australia, our dear friend, Sandy Block, OD as President-Elect and Efrain Castellanos, OD as chairman of the Membership Committee. Congratulations and we look forward to working with you all.


SeeAbility introduces the Bradford Visual Function Box for people with severe learning disabilities

SeeAbility announced the launch of the Bradford Visual Function Box (BVFB) which is designed to help identify what a child or adult with a learning disability or special needs can see and how they use their vision, and to explain this to parents and support staff. The BVFB has been validated for use, with results published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. Check the paper here

Monthly observances 

Diabetes-related eye disease month


Prevent Blindness has declared November as Diabetes-related Eye Disease Month to provide the public with important information on the impact that diabetes can have on vision, and offer tools and programs to help prevent significant vision loss from the disease. This dedicated webpage provides detailed information on diabetes-related eye diseases, and downloadable fact sheets in English and Spanish.

World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day takes place every November 14th. This year marks the centenary of the discovery of insulin and yet millions of people with diabetes around the world cannot access the care they need. The number of people living with diabetes is expected rise to 578 million by 2030. More than 3 in 4 people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries.

Optometrists are important members of diabetes care teams

We know that doctors of optometry (ODs) are often the first health care providers to detect a patient’s diabetic condition. In fact, in the US they identified signs of diabetic retinopathy in over 431,000 individuals without a prior diabetes diagnosis in 2019, alone. .

The American Optometric Association published its Health Policy Institute paper, titled, Diabetes Clinical Management, Education, Prevention and Support Bilaterally Integrated through Optometry and Diabetes Care and Education Specialists, emphasizing the positive health outcomes afforded by doctors of optometry collaborating with and utilizing Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (DCES) and their various diabetes treatment plan services or diabetes prevention programs (DPP). The AOA has also published 5 key resources to support optometrists clinical care and help raise public awareness of the importance of diabetic eye care. You can find the resources here.

Thyroid Eye Disease Week

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) or Graves’ Eye Disease, is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, swelling and stimulates the production of muscle tissue and fat behind the eye. The estimated prevalence of TED is estimated to be 16 per 100,000 women and 2.9 per 100,000 men in the general population. Because TED may affect both vision and physical appearance, some TED patients may experience changes to their mental health, including depression, anxiety and self-consciousness. TED awareness week is November 14-20th. More information here.

World Children's Day - November 20th

VOSH/International wants to thank all its chapters for their constant work to ensure children's vision is prioritised. Featured above are SVOSH-MCU-Philippines, SVOSH-Eurohispano-Peru, SVOSH-UNAN, Nicaragua, SVOSH-IUSO-USA and VOSH-AZ-USA serving children in the US and other parts of the world.

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