Essilor has pledged to expand its philanthropic programme to support the 900 million people that it is estimated are living in the Commonwealth with uncorrected refractive error.
The international lens company announced that the increased commitment of providing 200 million people living below the poverty line with free ophthalmic lenses will be done in partnership with the $1bn (USD) Vision Catalyst Fund.
The fund was launched last month by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and aims to provide sustainable solutions for eye health to people living within the Commonwealth.
For a number of years Essilor has been working to address access and awareness, which it believes are two of the biggest barriers to good vision for all. It runs a number of philanthropic programmes through which it looks to train primary vision care providers and deploy vision screening initiatives to underserved communities.
Chief executive and chairman of Essilor International, Hubert Sagnieres, said: “A simple pair of glasses has the power to change a person’s life and create positive ripple effects on the social and economic development of their community. Much like the ongoing fight to ensure children everywhere in the world are immunised against infectious diseases, civil society and public-private stakeholders must work together to immunise everyone against the negative impact of poor vision by making vision care universally available.”
Mr Sagnieres said that Essilor welcomed the opportunity to share its knowledge with partners in the Vision Catalyst Fund.
Commenting on the company’s pledge to provide ophthalmic lenses to 200 million people in the Commonwealth living below the poverty line, the chief executive emphasised: “We are committing to do this by 2030, the year the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals come to an end. These efforts represent a huge step forward for Essilor on our journey to eradicate uncorrected poor vision by 2050 and to transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people.”