Essilor to donate 400,000 pairs of corrective eyewear and sunglasses to Bhutan School Sight program

Essilor to donate 400,000 pairs of corrective eyewear and sunglasses to Bhutan School Sight program

(PRESS RELEASE) CHARENTON-LE-PONT, 23-May-2019 — /EuropaWire/ — Essilor has announced new partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan to help the country become the first in the world to eradicate poor vision. As part of the partnership Essilor is going to donate 400,000 pairs of corrective eyewear and sunglasses, dispensed via existing healthcare programs, to Bhutan School Sight program. The donation will provide first-time eyewear to all Bhutanese citizens with uncorrected poor vision and to those in need of protection. The Bhutan School Sight program plans to screen all students by October, 2019.

The partnership launch ceremony, held on 21 May 2019, has witnessed a monumental milestone – the delivery of 10,000 pairs of eyeglasses. On the occasion, Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, who made possible the partnership with her patronage, presented eyeglasses to citizens.

The Bhutan School Sight program is organized by Bhutan’s Ministry of Health and its mission is to provide free vision screening for all students aged six to eighteen and then giving free glasses to those in need. The Bhutan School Sight program is already underway and will be completed by October, 2019 while the screening program for adults will begin in 2020.

Part of the partnership between Bhutan’s government and Essilor will be to train 200 health assistants in order for them to be able to perform basic visual acuity tests, distribute simple reading glasses and further direct patients with vision correction needs to eye health practitioners. Once trained, the health assistants will be able to conduct vision screenings for the residents in their local communities.

The Letters of Intent signed between Essilor and the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Central Monastic Body in December last year outlined the plan of sustainably strengthening the country’s vision care infrastructure and eradicating unprotected and uncorrected poor vision from its population. Presently, some 25% of the population in Bhutan suffer from uncorrected poor vision, and a large portion is at risk of exposure to UVA/UVB rays due to high altitudes. By relying on training and capacity building, philanthropic support as well as raising awareness, the new partnership plans to address the two greatest barriers to good eye vision – access and awareness.

Commenting on the partnership and the corrective eyewear and sunglasses donation, Chairman of Essilor, Hubert Sagnières, said:

“Good vision transforms more than just a person’s health and wellbeing – it reduces inequalities and positively impacts the daily lives of individuals, their families and their communities through their ability to learn, work and be safe. Simply put, improving sight improves lives and will help advance the country’s Gross National Happiness Index. We are pleased with the progress of our journey together so far and look forward to many more milestones. It is an honor to be making a difference in the lives of Bhutanese citizens, and those of citizens around the world as we work toward eradicating poor vision in one generation.”

Her Excellency the Health Minister of Bhutan, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, commented:

“We hope that through this partnership, the prevalence of poor vision is significantly reduced, that every Bhutanese who requires refractive error correction has access to eyeglasses. We would like to thank Essilor for their commitment to this cause.”

Media contacts: 

Maïlis Thiercelin
Tel.: +33 (0)1 49 77 45 02

Lauren Wyper
Tel.: +65 97 29 04 23

SOURCE: Essilor



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