The Value of Giving Back! 

There are many reasons why people decide to give back to their communities, whether that is a need to make a difference, a desire to strengthen a community, or simply the goodness of their hearts.  The San Diego County Optometric Society is no different and we have a variety of charities for which we advocate and support.  As a rule, we partner with organizations which endeavor to reduce preventable blindness and promote the importance of eye care and optometry’s role in filling this need.

The San Diego County Optometric Society would like to announce our first international charity of choice, Optometry Giving Sight!

In 2003, the World Council of Optometry, the Brien Holden Vision Institute and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness created Optometry Giving Sight to mobilize resources from the global optometric community to help eliminate refractive error blindness and low vision.  Their mission is threefold, dedicating their resources to train local eye care professionals, establish vision centers for sustainability, and deliver eye care and glasses.  Their vision is a world where avoidable blindness and vision loss due to a simple lack of eyeglasses is eliminated by utilizing access to quality vision and eye care services for those in need.

This year you will have opportunities to hear from Optometry Giving Sight and how you and your practice can support their global initiative by making donations and/or raising funds.  Their I Care & Share program is a great way to support their project and also market your practice to patients who value a company which gives back to these in need.  Through this program you can base your donation on a product or service, such as eyeglass sales.  For example, you could donate $2 for every pair of glasses you sell.  Through this ‘buy one – give one principle’ you are letting your patients know that you care and share!

These fundraising efforts support a range of high-impact, long-lasting programs in underserved communities around the world.  With your help, Optometry Giving Sight supports 35 projects in 27 countries.  They provide vital support to community education and advocacy activities to raise awareness of the importance of eye health and the role of the Optometrist as primary eye care providers.  To learn more about Optometry Giving Sight, please go to www.givingsight.org. For information on how you can help, please contact Eric Anderson at eric.anderson@givingsight.org.

While we value the importance of supporting our global community, the SDCOS also makes it a point to support local philanthropy as well.  We have many volunteer outreach programs which allow for our members to actively give back by assisting in vision screenings and eye exams.  These include our Lions Optometric Vision Clinic and Monarch School Screenings.  We also support COA’s charitable arm, the California Vision Foundation.  The Richard Rex Foundation is a SDCOS fund used to supplement costs of eyeglasses, contact lenses or low vision aids for patients in need.  I would encourage our members to take advantage of these programs, which not only make for an incredibly rewarding experience, but help to make us a strong presence in San Diego!

So whatever your motivation may be, I encourage you to see the value in giving back! You not only promote the profession of optometry, but also make our local and global community a little healthier and happier!