Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Investing

Distributing eyeglasses in developing countries: What you can do about it

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially declared that 1.3 billion people are estimated to be living with some form of distance or near vision impairment.

Of these, the WHO considers about 80% of cases to be avoidable. However, approximately 517 million people in developing countries are visually impaired because they do not have sufficient access to corrective treatment.

The Centre for Vision in the Developing World at Oxford University ascertain that more than 1 billion people need vision correction but cannot get it. Lasik, or laser eye surgery is a type of refractive surgery for the correction of near and farsighted vision. But it costs, on average, £1000 per eye. According to statistics, 75% of adults need some form of vision correction.

Thankfully, there’s a simple and cost-effective solution with the capacity to solve this problem across developing countries – eyeglasses. The issue here derives from the sheer number of people struggling with limited vision across developing countries. Eyeglasses are often inaccessible or unaffordable. This has forced millions of people into living below their full potential.

Implications of visual impairment in developing countries

Visual impairment in developing countries is far more than just a health problem and it is exacerbated by the fact that many of these countries cannot offer state benefits to ease the daily challenges. Longsightedness, shortsightedness, and total loss of vision has economic, educational, developmental, and public safety implications.

71% of people who are farsighted in Tanzania claim their vision significantly hinders their ability to do near work such as sewing, winnowing grain, reading, and cooking. Of this 71%, only 6% of people in Tanzania with farsighted vision wear eyeglasses. The mid-2000s setting in India called for 65% of the population to wear glasses, yet only 7% wore them.

A simple pair of Glasses which most of us take for granted in the first world could drastically improve the lives of those less advantaged. Improved vision could increase earning power and occupational safety. Eyeglasses would foster the ability to perform everyday tasks.

The economic return from distributing eyeglasses effectively across developing countries would far exceed the cost of doing so. Yet, nothing has worked as far as ensuring those who need them, receive eyeglasses.

What has been done?

Several approaches have been tried to solve the problem. From for-profit businesses to social enterprises and charities. Given the high economic and social value, combined with the low cost of eyeglasses, private companies have tried their hand at profitably supplying glasses to the poor. Notably, Essilor International, a French-based company, launched a social initiative targeting Indian rural regions.

Nonprofit organizations have been dedicated to reducing poverty and providing opportunities in the developing world. VisionSpring uses a social entrepreneurship approach to sell ready-made reading glasses to those most in need. However, the impact has been far too low and the population of people who need vision correction in developing countries continues to grow.

Technological innovation, much like every area of daily life, has come to the forefront of this global crisis. An inspirational pursuit of providing low-cost, self-adjustable spectacles has been taken up by a physics professor at Oxford University, Joshua Silver. Whilst the efforts are admirable, the one-man show hasn’t been able to scale up to cost-effective heights.

What you can do about it

We as privileged individuals have a role to play in assisting the distribution of eyeglasses across the developing world. On average, the typical eyeglasses wearer buys a new pair of glasses every three years. Many of us rarely take a moment to consider where our old frames and lenses end up. There are a few ways to recycle your old eyeglasses that will ultimately benefit those who need them most in poorer countries.

Vision Aid Overseas has been collecting eyeglasses for recycling since 2010. Their aim is to establish sustainable eye care in developing countries and are constantly calling for donors. The glasses you donate will be stripped into their component parts. The plastic materials are recycled and the metal parts melted down to save precious metals and recycle standard elements like nickel. The recycling process allows Vision Aid Overseas to fund sustainable eye care services in a number of countries. Donating your unwanted eyeglasses is a sustainable way to fund eye care abroad.

Support the Center for Vision in the Developing World by donating to its cause. They use glasses with lenses that change shape so that the wearer can adjust the power of the lenses until they can see clearly. The effects so far have helped 95% of young people who were shortsighted to see clearly after adjusting a pair of their adaptive spectacles.

The self-refraction method is both scalable and effective. To date, over 100,000 people across 30 countries now wear adaptive eyeglasses. From research and development to education, training, and distribution, a small donation could contribute to this cause.

It’s been told by the WHO that donating old glasses to the developing world might not be the most effective and sustainable way to improve the eye care system in these countries. It’s cost-ineffective and ultimately, only around 7% of donated eyeglasses can actually be used.

The most sustainable way to distribute quality eye care in developing countries through the training of skilled personnel to conduct eye examinations and dispense ready-made glasses by spectacle technicians. This approach also enhances local capacity and helps to build sustainable eye care systems.

Individuals can contribute to this global effort by supporting organizations that are involved in the Vision 2021 initiative of the World Health Organisation. This could include monetary donations, or simply sharing the word to generate awareness.

In short, the efforts to tackle the visual impairment crisis in developing countries is a global one. With innovative technology on our side and support from as many people as possible, we can provide eyeglasses to the poorest people. This will enhance the lives and the prosperity of communities and countries around the world.

 

Read more:
Distributing eyeglasses in developing countries: What you can do about it

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Economy

Foreign portfolio investments (FPI) yielded a net inflow in May, reflecting renewed optimism in the local economy as restriction measures were gradually lifted during...

Economy

Outsourcing firms in Philippine economic zones will need a long-term remote work considerations to remain competitive against other major outsourcing economies, an official from the industry group said.  ...

Economy

The World Bank approved a fresh $400-million loan for the Philippines which will be used to support financial sector reforms as the country recovers...

Economy

Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday night urged the Congress to pass his administration’s last two tax reform bills.  In his speech during...

Economy

The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic is clouding economic projections for Southeast Asia, with most countries not expected to return to pre-pandemic growth levels for several...

Economy

US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has extended his sympathy over the passing of former Philippine President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, recognizing his efforts in promoting...

You May Also Like

Investing

Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...

Investing

As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...

Economy

US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., will rely on ally countries to supply the bulk of the metals needed to build electric vehicles and focus on...

Economy

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public from investing or to stop any investment in a group named Maxxprofit Computer Trading...

Disclaimer: SmartRetirementReport.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.



Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!