Almost 20% of global cases of avoidable blindness arise in China, 80% of which occur in rural areas where availability and access to eye health services are limited. A 2020 survey, conducted in Shidian County in the west of Yunnan province, found that the myopia rate among primary school students was as high as 52%, and among middle school students, 75%. The situation was particularly serious in rural and remote areas, where children’s vision problems cannot be detected and diagnosed in time due to lack of eye care awareness, insufficient basic eye facilities or access to eyeglasses. This was further worsened due to COVID-19, which caused the overall myopia rate to spike by 11.7%.
To address this urgent need for vision care, EVF China partnered with a local NGO, Education in Sight, to host a week-long vision clinic from May 17th to 21st in Shidian County, Yunnan Province. Over 100 volunteers from Essilor China and partners participated in the event to offer vision education, refraction, and correction for nearly 2000 local students.
“I didn’t realize I was near-sighted until I came to school to receive the eye exam,” said Du Feiyu, a 10-year-old student. “Now I can see the blackboard really clearly!”
Supported by the local Health Commission and Education & Sports Bureau, the clinic brought in professional eye care services to benefit nearly 2,000 students in 29 schools from two townships in Shidian County. 1,500 students were found to need refractive correction with many receiving their glasses before they left the event.
Since 2014, EVF China has launched vision health projects in 27 provinces in China, providing free vision screening to nearly 2.5 million students and free glasses for over 200,000 under-served students who need vision correction.
“The launch of this charity clinic in Shidian County aligns with our mission of ‘improving life by improving sight’ and takes us a step closer towards our goal of ‘eliminating poor vision in a generation’.”
says Dr. Lu Jianzhong, Essilor Vision Foundation China council member and General Affairs President of Essilor Greater China.