Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH)
Photo by: Katie Brugger.
Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) International is an organization aimed to provide the gift of vision and eye health to people worldwide, especially to those in underserved communities. VOSH at Berkeley is a student chapter affiliated with VOSH that utilizes Berkeley student volunteers for service trips locally and internationally.
VOSH believes in the freedom to see. Providing the gift of vision and eye health to people worldwide. They facilitate the provision and the sustainability of vision care worldwide for people who can neither afford nor obtain such care. Their goal is to increase our global impact whenever possible by supporting sustainable eye clinics, optometry schools and optometric educators in areas lacking sufficient eye care.
2023-24 Leadership Board
Mai Nguyen, Class of 2026
Vickie Kuo, Class of 2026
Mai’s upbringing in Vietnam and her experiences as an immigrant in the U.S. have nurtured her fierce passion for supporting and advocating for communities that have been historically underrepresented, underserved, and vulnerable. Through her pursuit of optometry and vision science specifically, Mai hopes to promote awareness on eye care among these marginalized communities, ultimately helping them to “see” a better and brighter future.
In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and her two dogs - Max and Malika. She enjoys hiking, playing video games and watching movies.
In her spare time, she can be found long-distance running, drawing frogs, or color coding her planning binder.
Joselyne Calvillo, Class of 2026
Lindsey Sano, Class of 2026
She enjoys traveling and exploring the Bay Area in her free time. She loves exploring different bars and eateries and recently discovered a passion for making charcuterie boards.
Faculty Advisor: Elise Harb, OD, PhD, FAAO
VOSH in Nicaragua
The student VOSH chapter at Berkeley successfully completed a 4-day, free eye health clinic in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua in January of 2023. The team included 17 Berkeley Optometry students, multiple volunteers from UC Berkeley (including faculty and staff), 8 optometrists, volunteers from VOSH-Connecticut, and many more. They provided free eye exams to 3,963 people while offering prescription glasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, medications for glaucoma and dry eye, referrals for cataracts and pterygia, and other donations.
To read more, click the button below.VOSH Nicaragua 2023
Early Humanitarian Efforts
Berkeley Optometry has a long history of providing humanitarian eye care to underserved populations. Services to local Bay Area populations began in the 1920s, continuing uninterrupted to the present day. The first international project took place in 1968–69 when optometry student volunteers traveled to Tijuana, Mexico for Christmas and Easter vacations under the auspices of Project Concern, a nonprofit organization headquartered in New York and operating healthcare clinics in New Mexico, Appalachia, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.
In 1989, students established our Berkeley chapter of VOSH and conducted their first chapter mission when volunteer students and clinicians traveled to the Philippine island of Negros Occidental, where they screened approximately 3,000 patients. The success of these international eye-care projects set the stage for efforts in humanitarian vision care that continue today. Berkeley Optometry VOSH missions include visits to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Mexico, Kenya, and Vietnam.
Berkeley VOSH in Narra
In 2018, Berkeley VOSH traveled to the municipality of Narra, on the island of Palawan, where they saw ~2,200 patients in five days of vision screenings. Students performed retinoscopy and refractions, evaluated for medical referrals, and dispensed free glasses that were collected from friends, family and other donors before the trip. Day 1 was at an elementary school, day 2 at a small village, and the rest of the days they set up at the office of the mayor of Narra. Click the button below to watch a video dedicated to the trip on YouTube.
For general questions and how to join, please contact Berkeley VOSH President,
Mai Nguyen: email@example.com