Eyeteach© training in Latin America

AleidaThe EyeTeach© workshops continue to prove a success since launching in Latin America in 2013. The workshops, implemented by Brien Holden Vision Institute and sponsored by Optometry Giving Sight, focus on the development of local optometry in the region and strengthening the professional development of existing eye health practitioners and educators.

17 participants from Bolivia, Colombia and Argentina took part in a recent workshop at the Instituto de Salud, Seguridad Ocupacional y Medio Ambiente (ISSEM), a lead training institute in Bolivia. The curriculum focused on providing professional educators with new teaching methods for the development of optometry in the region, and providing further development for eye health practitioners and educators.

“I was surprised by my own lack of knowledge regarding certain teaching methods, even more so because I was confident with my way of teaching,” said Edson, a new optometry lecturer at ISSEM. “I feel it has allowed me to identify some of my weaknesses and apply new methods in which to motivate and engage with students more effectively”.

Aleida (pictured) , a microbiology lecturer at ISSEM and an epidemiology medical doctor for government health services in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, said that she found the workshop to be challenging and motivating as it identified new teaching techniques she can use.

“I am looking forward to applying these methods in my lectures,” she said. “I would be more than happy to participate in another Institute and Optometry Giving Sight workshop.”

The EyeTeach© workshops contribute to the development of leaders, so in the future they will be able to mentor other faculty and drive the development of optometry standards, both for optometric education and patient care. Optometry Giving Sight will fund more workshops in 2015.

Bringing Accessible Eye Care to Tanzania

TanzaniaBenefiting the community

Thousands of Tanzanians will have access to free eye care services through the Brien Holden Vision Institute, thanks to support from optometrist Dr Moes Nasser and Optometry Giving Sight.

The Lake Zone Roshanali Nasser Outreach Project aims to screen 14,000 primary school pupils and provide outreach services to more than 6000 people in the Lake Zone.

The project builds upon previous initiatives in the area and will allow the Institute to continue developing local capacity and sustainable eye care services.

For Tanzanian-born Dr Nasser the project is close to his heart, named after his late father Roshanali Nasser, who held a life-long commitment to the wellbeing of the Simiyu and Nyambiti communities.

Growing up in Tanzania and experiencing hardship put Dr Nasser on a path to helping others, ultimately leading to his successful career in optometry and desire to give back.

“Giving sight to people really does give back to humanity and in my profession it feels that way in every examination. I want to be able to extend this life giving service to the people in the communities of my youth,” says Dr Nasser.

Dr Nasser will be returning to Tanzania to launch the project in his childhood district, alongside Brien Holden Vision Institute and Optometry Giving Sight.


After 5 years of effort – Haiti story

haitiAfter 5 years of effort by the global optometric community – Haiti’s first School of Optometry opens

Vision Source Optometrists and Optometry Giving Sight Support the Training of Haiti’s First Optometrists

Haiti has the highest level of blindness and vision impairment in the region and most of this is avoidable. It is 3 time higher than other countries in the region. An important reason for this is the critical shortage of qualified eye care personnel. In a country of over 10 million people, there are only 3 local optometrists.

April 12th, 2018 marked the official opening of Haiti’s first ever School of Optometry & Vision Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of I’Université d’État d’Haïti.

Over the last five years, Optometry Giving Sight and its partners from the global optometric community have come together to ensure that the  people of Haiti can be trained to help their own communities, their country, and their fellow Haitians see a better future, quite literally, for generations to come.

This need for sustainable development is obvious. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the northern hemisphere yet working isn’t always an option, even for skilled tradespeople. Roc VilÍus, a Haitian shoe maker is just one example. “I can’t make a living without having my sight,” said Roc. Thanks to the efforts of Optometry Giving Sight and its partners, Mr. VilÍus was given glasses and is now able to support his family once again.

The shortage of eye care services leaves the majority of the Haitian people without adequate vision care. The school’s 5-year degree programme will seek to graduate 16 optometrists per year. “The new graduates will have a significant impact for the eye care landscape in Haiti”, explains Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon, Chair of Optometry Giving Sight, “each being able to see 3,000 patients per year on average.”

Drs. Susan and Tom Quinn, Vision Source optometrists from Ohio and Optometry Giving Sight supporters for over ten years, travelled to Haiti this week to take part in the school’s first community outreach programs. “We’ve seen firsthand how the work of Optometry Giving Sight delivers on the vision of building optometry schools, educating talented local young people and providing continuity of care in underserved countries around the globe…We believe this school has the potential to profoundly transform lives.”

Jeff Duncan, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for Vision Source, major donor and partner to the project said “With virtually no optometrists, there has been limited opportunity for the Haitians to obtain quality vision care. Vision Source feels privileged to play a role in helping build a sustainable foundation to change this. Partnering with Optometry Giving Sight, underscores Vision Source’s mission of ‘enriching lives by enabling independent optometrists to reach their full potential’.”

It’s this sustainable attitude from the global optometric community that has brought them together with Optometry Giving Sight – a mission to provide vision care in Haiti and around the world. Together with, the I’Université d’État d’Haïti, Brien Holden Vision Institute, VOSH International, Charity Vision, I’Université de Montréal, Vision Source, Essilor Canada and Digicel Foundation and many other integral supporters, there is sight for the people of Haiti.

Technician Training Course in Malawi

MalawiTrainingEmpowering local ECPs to maintain their own equipment

One of the biggest challenges for many eye health programs in the developing world is equipment maintenance. Many clinics, hospitals and vision centers are unable to operate at their full potential because their equipment is broken or in need of maintenance, and there are no local people with the training needed to carry out even relatively minor repairs.

Dr. Howard Purcell, Senior Vice President, Customer Development Group with Essilor of America, witnessed this first hand when he visited the School of Optometry at Mzuzu University in Malawi in November 2015.

Two years later, with funding kindly provided by Essilor of America, the first Ophthalmic Instrument Maintenance Training Course was held in Malawi from September 4-15, 2017. Eleven trainees participated in the course, including one Optometrist, four Optometry Technicians, five Medical Engineering Technicians and one Biomedical Engineer.

Over eleven days, trainers from Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology in India showed the trainees how to dismantle and clean an ophthalmoscope and a slit lamp; and to identify and repair various mechanical faults. They also worked with indirect ophthalmoscopes and retinoscopes.

The trainees were introduced to the working principles of Keratometers, including how to clean and calibrate non-working units; and they were able to analyse and fix a fault on a Sonomed Pacscan 300A.

They conducted fault finding on seven sets of Phoropters and were able to fix three that had mechanical faults. They also worked with a tonometer, operating microscopes and learned how to sharpen surgical instruments.

Teacher Training Program at Alandur

india storyEye health training in India

With support from Optometry Giving Sight,
India Vision Institute (IVI) conducted a series of teachers’ training programs in India.
They were held from from 4-11 October, for 61 teachers in 36 government and government-aided schools in Avadi, Ayanambakkam, Koladai, Veeragavapuram, Sundracholavaram, Pattabiram and Nanganallur, Chennai district, Tamil Nadu.
The teachers were trained in basics of eye health practices and to identify children with vision problems who might need professional intervention.
They will lead vision screening in their respective schools and identify children who need subsequent examinations by an optometrist.
The schools were also provided with the necessary screening kit to conduct the initial screening.
This model aims to strengthen the continuum of primary eye care services delivered to children in government supported
You can support the training of eye health workers by donating to much needed projects today.

2017 Highlights

2017 highlightsYour support at work

Optometry Giving Sight in 2017 produced many wonderful stories from people whose lives were impacted through your donations.

We would like to thank all our sponsors and donors for your ongoing support.

One area that has given us the greatest impact in 2017 has been through the ongoing funding we have provided to help support Schools of Optometry across 11 countries.

Thanks to your help, there are now 783 students studying for their Optometry Degree or Diploma at 14 Schools and Colleges. This is an incredible outcome, as having locally trained optometrists is ultimately the most effective way to help people who are needlessly vision impaired.

2017 highlights

This is why we were so excited to welcome an additional 102 new graduates in 2017 to bring the total number to 559 graduates since 2008. By our estimates, all these graduates from the last few years will have the capacity to give sight and hope to an amazing 939,120 people each year.

2017 highlights

Since 2007, Optometry Giving Sight has distributed funding to more than 117 projects in over 40 countries.

Currently there are 47 projects funded by Optometry Giving Sight in 24 countries. These projects cover the training of local eye care professionals, establishing vison centres that provide access to sustainable vision care and by delivering eye care and low cost/no cost glasses. In addition, we have supported community education and advocacy activities to raise the awareness of the importance of eye health and promoted the role of Optometrists as primary eye care providers.

Thank you again for helping us to transform the lives of people in need. We look forward to your continuing support for even greater outcomes in 2018.

CooperVision employees Fight for Sight

cooper-story$262,000 donated to Optometry Giving Sight

With artwork auctions, bake sales, jeans days, raffles, barbeques and walkathons, CooperVision and its employees hit a record-breaking high this year with their fundraising efforts for the 2018 World Sight Day Challenge.

CooperVision donated $262,000 to Optometry Giving Sight for this years’ challenge, taking their combined World Sight Day Challenge donations over the $1 million mark.

Employees rolled up their sleeves and got creative with their fundraising initiatives, donating 35 per cent more than last year, which was supported by a matching commitment from the company. Over 40 CooperVision sites and teams got involved to drive awareness and raise much-needed funds which will go towards supporting sustainable and access eye care projects across the world.

“The incredible generosity displayed by our global employees will help to ensure much needed vision care for thousands of adults and children in need,” said Dan McBride, President, CooperVision. “Our record-breaking 2018 World Sight Day Challenge donation represents approximately 52,000 eye exams for people around the world who could otherwise be at risk for a range of vision challenges. The expert care they’ll receive will not only provide near-term benefits, but in many cases a lifetime of greater opportunity through the gift of sight.”

CooperVision’s support is a great example of a holistic partnership, showing the importance of empowering staff to get involved and give back. For Optometry Giving Sight, longstanding partnerships with multiple touchpoints gives us the security to invest long-term into programs and services that will provide sustainable and lasting outcomes for the communities they’re located in.

CooperVision is a partner and Global Gold Sponsor of Optometry Giving Sight. Beyond its World Sight Day Challenge initiative, the company also contributes substantial funds through a patient rebate donation program in the United States.

We’d like to thank CooperVision and their employees for their support this year and congratulate them on their fundraising efforts!

World Sight Day Challenge 2017

WHelping to Make Children’s Vision Count

Optometry Giving Sight is once again inviting all those who value good vision to support its major fundraising campaign for the year, the World Sight Day Challenge. The Challenge will run throughout October – with World Sight Day being celebrated on Thursday October 12th.




AlyssaThis year’s campaign will help to raise funds for more children like Alyssa (pictured left) – a young girl from the southwest of Mexico who received her first pair of glasses last year thanks to a child eye health project that is funded in part by Optometry Giving Sight. In her words: “Everything that was wrong is now in the past. Nothing can stop me now!”

As part of its support for Our Children’s Vision, Optometry Giving Sight will fund projects that give sight and hope to more than 1 million children in 2017.

“It’s sobering to be reminded that seven hundred years after glasses were invented, there are still children in the world suffering from severe vision loss,” said Dr. Juan Carlos Aragon, Global Chair of Optometry Giving Sight. “This not only creates frustration and learning difficulties for the children affected, but can impact their future productivity and earning potential.”

For the past 10 years, thousands of Optometrists, their staff, patients, students and colleagues in industry have taken the World Sight Day Challenge by making a tax-deductible donation and / or by raising funds in their practice, school or company.


“It’s simple and fun to do,” said Clive Miller, Global CEO of Optometry Giving Sight. “We have materials to help promote your involvement, lots of fun fundraising ideas, and information that you can share that shows how your donations are having an impact on the lives of children in need.”

DON_MATSUMOTODr. Don Matsumoto from Pacific Eyecare Center (pictured left), CA has been participating in the World Sight Day Challenge for many years.

“Optometry Giving Sight is part of our DNA,” he said. “It’s a true feel good experience. My staff is constantly looking for ways to fundraise and we change it up in our office all the time. What a surprise is how our patients have taken to giving. They want to be part of the experience as well. It’s become a new business model.”

To donate, or pledge your participation by selecting one of our Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum Award levels, please visit here.

For more information on Our Children’s Vision visit www.ourchildrensvision.org

See to Succeed

see successProviding support to children impacted by Hurricane Harvey

The See to Succeed Program (STS) is a safety-net vision program for Houston’s underserved children. The program provides comprehensive free eye exams and eyeglasses to those who have failed a school screening, but cannot access optometry services. Each year this high impact program eliminates barriers to learning and academic achievement by helping children to realize their full potential, with documented improvements in their academic and behavioural performance.

Optometry Giving Sight was delighted to step up as a new partner for the See to Succeed program by co-funding the first event of the 2017-2018 academic year. Our support came at a particularly vulnerable time for the children of Houston. Families were struggling to recover from Hurricane Harvey and the ensuing floods, which left thousands of children displaced from their homes.

1,879 students were examined between October 23-27 with 94% requiring glasses and 226 referred for medical follow-up. The clinic was staffed over the five days by 44 optometrists and 25 optical students.

group of kids

The real impact, however, is demonstrated by the following case studies.

Case 1: A 10-year-old African American female presented to the clinic with an abnormally high myopic prescription (Right eye: -12.50 -1.25 x124 and Left eye; Left Eye -14.25 -1.50 x 080). With such a high prescription, extra consideration must be taken to ensure the patient is not suffering from holes, tears, or detachments inside the eye. While myopic retinal degeneration does not inflict any pain for the patient, this can bring a multitude of other problems including permanent vision loss if not caught early. This project will ensure closer monitoring of the patient.

Case 2: An 8-year-old Hispanic male was diagnosed as being a glaucoma suspect due to significant optic nerve head asymmetry in appearance. He will now be seen for additional testing to further investigate his ocular health. Because glaucoma can eventually lead to irreversible vision loss, the sooner it is caught, the better the visual prognosis is for the patient. Without having had this eye exam, this child may not have been identified as at risk for glaucoma until much later in life, if at all. Because glaucoma can often run in families, it will benefit his family members to also be seen for eye examinations.

Case 3: In the case of a 12-year Pacific Islander male being treated for ADHD, a strong color vision deficiency was uncovered. This was unbeknownst to the child, his parents, or his teachers. The child was originally brought for an eye exam due to difficulty with function in the classroom. Upon finding an otherwise relatively normal eye examination result, we can confidently say that many of this child’s perceived learning difficulties stem from an inability to differentiate colors well. Color vision deficiencies make for difficult environmental interactions. With this knowledge, appropriate accommodations can now be made both at home and at school to help him thrive.

group of kids

Why Millions of Children Are Not Receiving Proper Eye Care

VisionImpactKristan Gross, the Global Executive Director of the Vision Impact Institute

Optometry Giving Sight is pleased to be a partner in the Kids See: Success program being initiated in collaboration with Vision Impact Institute and VSP Global. This article, authored by Kristan Gross, was published in the Huffington Post.

“This month, World Sight Day will bring global attention to blindness and vision impairment. Among the many important issues to talk about surrounding this annual day of awareness, children’s vision is a very, very big one.

The issue is so prevalent, in fact, that the Vision Impact Institute (VII) recently launched a new U.S. initiative, Kids See: Success, focused on educating parents, legislators, child advocacy groups, school nurses, teachers and administrators about the social, educational and future economic benefits of comprehensive eye exams for children prior to entering kindergarten.

Why this focus on children’s vision? Consider the numbers: According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 12.1 million school-age children suffer from vision problems, and only one in three children in the United States has received eye care services before age six. Since 80 percent of what a child learns before age 12 is through eyesight, the one in four American school-age children who have vision problems – if left untreated – could experience learning difficulties, personality and behavioral developmental issues, adjustment problems in school and, in some cases, become blind. Children who need vision correction have been misdiagnosed with learning disabilities, when all they needed was a simple pair of glasses. Today in the United States, 40 percent of kids with diagnosed learning disabilities have vision issues.”

Read the full article by Kristan Gross here.

Photo courtesy Vision Impact Institute