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Vision Excellence Awards: Tracy Matchinski

Dr Tracy Matchinski

Dr Matchinski has been practicing optometry for 25 years and is an expert on low vision rehabilitation, a field of great importance in addressing visual impairment across the world. She has published and assisted in updating education modules used internationally.

She divides her time between The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and the Illinois College of Optometry. At the optometry school, besides teaching, she also provides care in the Rosenbloom Center. Dr Matchinski’s leadership includes being the past chair of the low vision Diplomate programme of the American Academy of Optometry and of the ASCO Low Vision Educators Special Interest Group. She sits in the education Committee of the World Council of Optometry and has generated significant changes during her presidency at VOSH/International.

Her commitment to education and to the development of the human resources needed for eye health is remarkable. This has also marked her interest in community outreach locally in the US and internationally through VOSH-Illinois and VOSH/International. She strongly believes in the role of optometry addressing the eye care needs of vulnerable populations and the specific role that a well-educated profession could play in delivering these services.

In her role as President of VOSH/International she increased the knowledge exchange between US and international chapters and promoted the development of initiatives geared at increasing access to education and equipment needed for students and eye care providers in low income settings. Either by recruiting North American trained ODs to become faculty in developing optometry schools (VOSH-Corps), helping to place equipment at public clinics and optometry schools worldwide (Technology Transfer Programme), supporting student leadership and exchange (Student Mentorship) or facilitating short term visits of VOSH faculty to support teaching programmes at developing optometry schools (Ambassadors), Dr Matchinski has provided strategic leadership and support to build the practice of optometry worldwide.

She was recognised as Humanitarian of the Year in 2016 by the Illinois College of Optometry. The combination of academic and field experience she developed in the US and several countries is unique and a clear contribution to achieve the combined goals of education of local resources, accessibility and affordability of services for communities and being a voice for the low vision community. Dr Matchinski’s generosity, leadership and inspiration make her a true champion of VISION 2020.