Public Release: 

Eye care for refugees, the displaced discussed at UH

College of Optometry alum and activist, Jerry Vincent, shares international experiences

University of Houston

Bringing his experiences with international relief agencies back home to the University of Houston, Jerry E. Vincent, O.D., M.P.H., will give two lectures at noon and 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 11.

Vincent, a 1984 UH College of Optometry alum, has lived and worked abroad for many years and will give presentations on his international eye care studies and efforts from the past decade. The presentation at noon will be on "Public Health Approaches to Providing Eye Care in the Context of the Vision 2020 Initiative." The 5:30 p.m. presentation will focus on "Eye Care in Refugees, Displaced and War Affected Populations - Lessons Learned and Unmet Needs." Both lectures will be given in room 2300 of the J. Davis Armistead Building.

Vincent worked abroad for several years in Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, providing optometric services, developing blindness prevention programs, conducting training programs and embarking on numerous research projects. He also has consulted with various international relief agencies in assessing and evaluating current eye programs. According to the Avoidable Blindness Task Force put together by the Rotary International and One World Sight Project, while international relief agencies provide health and other services to refugees and the displaced, they rarely include eye care.

During the course of the last decade, Vincent has been working in Thailand and neighboring countries to provide primary eye care to refugees and displaced persons. Through these efforts, he founded the Burma Border Eye Program that extends access to eye care for thousands of refugees and displaced people along the Thai-Burma border. Through the program, about 20,000 pairs of eyeglasses have been prescribed, trachoma infections and vitamin A deficiencies have been significantly suppressed, more than 1,000 cataract surgeries have been carried out by volunteer surgical teams and many eye health educational messages have been relayed to refugee camp residents in hopes of increasing awareness, resulting in a decline in the number of eye health problems. Vincent also serves on the board of editors of the Thai Journal of Public Health Ophthalmology.

WHO: Jerry E. Vincent, optometrist for underserved international populations

Lectures on International Eye Care
"Public Health Approaches to Providing Eye Care in the Context of the Vision 2020 Initiative"
"Eye Care in Refugees, Displaced and War Affected Populations - Lessons Learned and Unmet Needs"

WHEN: Noon and 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 11

WHERE: University of Houston College of Optometry
J. Davis Armistead Building, Room 2300
Entrance 2, off Calhoun Boulevard


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