Internationally renowned celebrity Amitabh Bachchan is headlining a new month-long campaign, encouraging some 20 million people in Uttar Pradesh, North India to check their vision before it’s too late. The campaign, part of the global See Now Movement, is supported by The Fred Hollows Foundation, Vision for Life and Essilor Vision Foundation, Sightsavers India and VISION 2020 INDIA among others.

As ambassador of the campaign, Amitabh Bachchan will educate people across five key districts in Uttar Pradesh, North India  – Unnao, Lucknow, Raebareli, Lakhimpur Kheri and Sitapur – through social and traditional media on eye health issues and the need to get your eyes checked. 

 

Mr Bachchan said, “Vision problems are extremely common in India, currently about 550 million Indians have serious vision problems which affect their families, their work and their quality of life. The basic lack of understanding and awareness of how eye health works leads to stigma around simple and easy treatments. People are often not aware of the availability in their area of quality eye care services. It really is very simple to avoid a lot of different sorts of blindness by preventive care.”

The social impacts of vision loss are extreme:

  • Almost half of all drivers having impaired vision, creating a public safety issue;
  • Women account for 67% of vision problems, but are 40% less likely to access services;
  • Vision impairment is the second highest risk factor for learning difficulties in children;
  • Poor vision accounts for $37 billion in lost annual productivity.

The central solution lies in raising awareness of the importance of eye health, and the safe, simple and available services that exist. Amitabh Bachchan has chosen to support this campaign to help raise awareness and urge people to go and get their vision checked at government approved services. He is a proud wearer of glasses, and hopes that this will encourage others to wear glasses without any stigma.

Through partnership with Sightsavers and Essilor 2.5 New Vision Generation, the campaign has also profiled “eye heroes” who work to restore vision and fit glasses. The campaign includes an interactive call center to allow people in those districts to find out where their nearest Sightsavers eye camp or Eye Mitra Optician is located. If none are located in the vicinity, it will register the location to request for an eye camp in the future. People in the campaign areas can put in a missed call to hear a recorded message from Mr Bachchan and find out where their nearest eye health service is located.

The network of Eye Mitra across the campaign districts will provide basic vision tests and affordable glasses within their local rural community. People suffering from more complex eye issues will be referred to the Sightsavers network of eye hospitals, where more comprehensive eye care services are available. As part of the campaign, Essilor Vision Foundation will also be organizing eye camps with The Fred Hollows Foundation, Sightsavers and Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital to provide free vision screenings and eyeglasses for the needy. The first of these camps will happen in Lucknow this week.

“The Fred Hollows Foundation is honored to have Mr Amitabh Bachchan spreading the word on the importance of eye health in India which ranks second in the world for blindness and vision impairment,” said Nick Martin, Director of Public Affairs, The Fred Hollows Foundation.

A lack of awareness and access to eye care prevents 1 in 3 Indians from seeing the world clearly. Essilor is proud to support the See Now campaign breaking down these barriers as we work towards our ambition to eradicate poor vision by 2050.

“A lack of awareness and access to eye care prevents 1 in 3 Indians from seeing the world clearly. Essilor is proud to support the See Now campaign breaking down these barriers as we work towards our ambition to eradicate poor vision by 2050,” said Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Chief Mission Officer, Essilor International.

“The See Now Campaign is much needed to generate awareness amongst the masses to simply go and get their eyesight checked as over 75% of blindness is preventable. Sightsavers India is very happy to be a part of this campaign,” said RN Mohanty, CEO, Sightsavers India.

“What is much needed in Uttar Pradesh is for people to realize the adverse implications of poor vision and to seek immediate care without delay. This need will be met through the See Now campaign. The timely initiative is highly appreciated,” said Mr Phanindra Babu Nukella, CEO, VISION 2020 INDIA.

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