OSU SVOSH group raising funds, collecting eyeglasses
For The Madison Press
For many years the London Lions Club has gathered used eyeglasses from the community to be donated for re-use.
According to Lion Dick Hughes, the Lions have collected “well over 3,000” pairs.
Recently three students at the Ohio State School of Optometry, who are members of the organization Student-Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH), came to the London Lions Club to explain how their organization helps people who are much less fortunate.
SVOSH members, Katie Woeste, Sara Bokan and Tayla Meade gave a presentation about what the OSU organization does, as part of their requirements to go on a trip to help others.
The SVOSH organization was founded in 1972, and the Ohio State club chartered in 1984. They have made trips all over the world, and in 2012, a group of 17 students, and four attending doctor’s went to Bolivia. The group was in Bolivia for four days, and set up in two different cities. All told, they examined 873 patients, and found dozens of different types of eye injuries and diseases.
Each patient who is examined is given a four part examination. First, visual acuity is tested, while also checking the pupils, and if angle can be seen (think of an eye chart).
Next, dilating drops are placed in the eyes so that a more thorough examination can be made. There are many types of drops that can be used, depending on the patients’ age and other factors. Third, there is an actual exam using the equipment that the group has brought with them. And lastly, the patients are given their diagnosis and glasses if needed.
Before the students even make the trip they spend a better part of a year sorting and classifying eyeglasses. The glasses that are in good repair and can be used further are then read for prescriptions and labeled for later use. The glasses that cannot be used further are recycled for scrap, and the money is used to help fund future trips. The SVOSH group also has a great need for sunglasses and hats with a bill or a brim.
While explaining the past trips that SVOSH has taken, the students noted that many of the eye injuries could have been prevented if sunglasses had been worn to protect the eyes from debris, and from direct sunlight. Although many Lions clubs do not think to collect these items, they will be used if they are donated.
The OSU SVOSH group is currently raising funds and collecting eyeglasses for a trip to Haiti this summer, where they last visited in 1985.
Last year the trip cost over $37,000 to transport the students, the equipment, and the crates of used eyeglasses. A donation could be made to: SVOSH, OSU College of Optometry, 338 W. Tenth Ave., Columbus, OH 43210.
Locally, eyeglasses can be donated at area banks, and at a converted post box in front of Walls & Bennett realty office.