As China’s National Eye Care Day approaches, Essilor’s charitable fund has joined forces with non-profit organization Education in Sight to bring vision care to 21 schools in the Shangri-La county of Yunnan, enabling children in remote areas to live a better life through better sight.

Research by Stanford University in China found that 24% of children in primary schools in rural China suffer from myopia, but only 4% wear spectacles. By the time children reach secondary school, myopia affects 1 in 2 students and only 10% wear spectacles. A lack of awareness about vision care prevents most children from getting the correction they need.

Xiaozhongdian school is just the first stop on our vision care journey to bring essential eye care services to the Yunnan region in a program that aims to help 17,600 children over the next 3 months.

Over two days in May, a small team from the Essilor foundation and Education in Sight, with two ophthalmologists and an optometrist assistant from the People’s Hospital in Diqing, travalled to Xiaozhongdian primary school to bring vision care to the 930 students there.

“More than 90% of children live at the school and many don’t receive regular health care check ups, so vision problems are easily ignored,” explained Jiacong, one of the volunteers. “While carrying out vision corrections, we set out to help children understand how to look after their eyes. During recess, vision health information was broadcast and our volunteers organized quizzes to help the children improve their knowledge. We hope that through our continuous efforts, we can bring lasting benefits to the children’s lives.”

Healthy eyes are a window to the world. Each child was invited to write a wish on a card. “I want to be a doctor when I grow up,’ wrote one child, “to help more people recover from illness.” “We hope that through the Education in Sight project, children can see a clearer world, so that their dreams can light up their future. Xiaozhongdian school is just the first stop on our vision care journey to bring professional and essential eye care services to the Yunnan region in a program that aims to help 17,600 children over the next 3 months,” said  Kelly Zhu, manager of the Essilor Vision Foundation, China.