“It is important as an optometry student and future optometrist to realize that there are many areas around the nation and populations around the world that cannot afford or obtain optometric services.” – Linh Phan, RSO Class of 2014
Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH/International) is a non-profit organization with 32 state/regional chapters and 32 school chapters. The primary mission of VOSH/International is to facilitate the provision and the sustainability of vision care worldwide for people who can neither afford nor obtain such care.
The Student Volunteers in Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH) chapter at the University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry (RSO) was established in 2011. SVOSH is one of the largest student organizations at RSO with over 100 members and active participation from two-thirds of its members. Over the past year, SVOSH members have provided vision screenings to nearly 300 individuals throughout San Antonio. These vision screenings have taken place at a variety of locations, including community centers, high schools, and universities.
SVOSH often joins forces with other student organizations at RSO for vision screenings, including the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and Sports Vision Association, whose members provide additional binocular vision and sports vision testing. In addition, SVOSH members from RSO and the University of Houston College of Optometry will be working together to provide vision screenings to athletes at the upcoming Special Olympics in Arlington, Texas.
SVOSH members also volunteer their time to sort eyewear and fundraise for future mission trips and are highly involved within the local community. The National Optometric Student Association and SVOSH have collaborated on several events, including forming a team to participate in local races to raise money for notable organizations, such as the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Prevent Blindness Texas.
Being a member of SVOSH provides great opportunities for community involvement, interaction with your colleagues, honing your clinical skills, and of course, traveling abroad. It is important as an optometry student and future optometrist to realize that there are many areas around the nation and populations around the world that cannot afford or obtain optometric services. VOSH/International and SVOSH members volunteer their invaluable services to these underserved populations, improving the lives of thousands of individuals every year.
By: Linh Phan, RSO Class of 2014
For more information about VOSH/International, visit: http://www.vosh.org/