World Sight Day, held every year on the second Thursday of October, is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. This year, Essilor and Essilor Vision Foundation teams pulled out all the stops, providing over 23,000 people living on low-incomes with vision screenings and equipping around 3,500 people with corrective eyewear.

On October 8th, Essilor’s inclusive business division 2.5 New Vision Generation (NVG), and its philanthropic arms, Essilor Vision Foundation and Essilor Vision for Life, doubled their efforts to raise awareness of the importance of healthy vision, holding community screening events in the low-income areas in which they operate.

Through the 800-strong network of  Eye Mitra Opticians in India, 55 screening events were organised across  5 states, drawing close to 7,500 people for vision screenings. One third of the people screened were found to need vision correction and bought themselves a pair of  2.5 NVG eyeglasses.

In Brazil, the Instituto Ver e Viver (IVV) screened more than 2,500 people, most of which were schoolchildren in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. In both cases, the number of people found to need glasses was very high (60%), which supports the evidence that we need to see change in order to make vision care a priority in this country. After consulting with an ophthalmologist who came directly to the schools to support this initiative, close to 700 people were equipped free of charge with corrective eyewear thanks to a partnership between IVV and Nissan.

We need to see change in order to make vision care a priority

China is another country where millions of people don’t have access to the vision care they need.  Essilor has been building awareness and access programs there through 2.5 NVG and Essilor Vision Foundation for the past 2 years. Essilor Group Chairman and CEO Hubert Sagnieres spent his World Sight Day visiting 2 such programs in the rural villages of Yunnan province. A trip to the mountainous city of Shangri-La  gave him the opportunity to see the work being done on the ground by Essilor Vision Foundation with local NGO Education in Sight to bring vision care to schoolchildren.  350 children received a pair of eyeglasses on World Sight Day, as part of a program to screen close to 70,000 children in the region.

“One of the highlights of our trip was to see 350 children getting their first pair of eyeglasses and listening attentively when we talked about vision care. It was also impressive to see that in the small village of Luojiacun in Dayao, the heavy rain didn’t stop people from attending the screening events. It shows how vital vision can be for people living in rural areas.” said Hubert Sagnieres.

“One of the highlights of our trip was to see 350 children getting their first pair of eyeglasses”, said CEO Hubert Sagnieres

In North Africa, around 1,000 people benefited from vision screenings carried out thanks to the Essilor Vision For Life fund, in association with local Essilor partners, LN’Optic in Morocco, and SIVO in Tunisia. Initiatives in both countries focus on women and schoolchildren, with an objective to follow up and analyse the impact of good vision on the schoolchildren’s education over a five-year period.

Finally, in addition to a 6-week long mobile screening clinic campaign on the East coast, the Essilor Vision Foundation in the United States carried out a special screening event in the presence of actress and singer Kat Graham. Kat shared a video of the event with her 1-million strong community of Facebook followers, helping to raise awareness of the importance of healthy vision in the U.S.

The results of the Group’s global actions in 40+ countries on World Sight Day is currently being consolidated and will be published in November.