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This Women’s Eye Health & Safety Month, the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation Highlights Innovative Programs Expanding Vision Care Access to Women Globally

OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation is empowering women in rural areas by expanding vision care access through innovative programs.




(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK, NY — Uncorrected poor vision affects 1 in 3 people around the world, impacting the way they learn, work and keep themselves safe. The impact of uncorrected poor vision is often exacerbated by gender inequity, economic struggles and gender-based violence which disproportionately affects women, hindering the access to essential healthcare services — including vision care. This April, during Women’s Eye Health & Safety Month, the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation is highlighting innovative programs that are globally expanding vision care access to women and empowering them to provide care in the communities.

“Good vision can have a transformative impact on women’s ability to work effectively and contribute to the economy,” shared Dr. Swati Piramal, vice chairperson of the Piramal Group, director of Piramal Foundation and Chairwoman of the CSR Committee ofEssilorLuxottica. “This is not only important for urban women, but also rural women. Women in rural areas face the same barriers as men in the same area, including lack of awareness of the need for vision care as well as limitations to access care,” she added.

Recognizing this urgent need, the OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation created its flagship ‘Eye Mitra’ program in India in 2013, a groundbreaking vision care model aimed at training unemployed and underemployed youth to deliver essential eye care services in rural areas where vision care was previously unavailable. Eye Mitra means ‘Friend of the Eye’ in Hindi. In the years to follow, the program was expanded to Kenya with the regional name ‘Eye Rafiki’ and to Bangladesh under the ‘Eye Mitro’ initiative. Among the rural optical entrepreneurs trained through these programs, an emphasis is placed on ensuring women are well represented.

Patricia Koh, associate director of EssilorLuxottica’s Base of Pyramid Innovation Lab shared, “My commitment to making a life-changing impact on women in rural communities is exemplified through the Eye Mitra model which focuses on the development of rural optical entrepreneurs. Our dedicated opportunities for women rural optical entrepreneurs empower them to contribute financially to the families, all while remaining close to home.” To date, the Foundation’s sustainable programs have created rural livelihoods in vision care through more than 27,700 rural optical points.

Additionally, the Group’s Ready2Clip glasses line, a quickly assembled, customizable glasses solution, often used in rural and developing areas, takes into consideration factors like the slightly smaller face shapes and pupillary distances of women. Koh added, “By actively participating in initiatives that address the specific needs of women, we collectively contribute to the Foundation’s mission of empowering women in rural areas through skill development and improved access to eyecare services.”

The Foundation is proudly raising awareness and critical funds in North America to help fuel these important sustainable programs in partnership with many retailers, including LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Oakley, Ray-Ban, as well as participating eye care practices, who are incorporating messaging about the importance of vision care and adopting customer donation initiatives in store or in practices, respectively. Becky Palm, executive director, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation North America, said, “The generosity of our supporters in our region truly has an infinite reach, from funding our year-round vision clinics across the United States and Canada to supporting programs like Eye Mitra and Eye Rafiki that enable clear sight and create rural livelihoods around the world.”

The OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation is a registered charitable organization, reflecting the commitment and values of EssilorLuxottica to help eliminate uncorrected poor vision in a generation. Since 2013, the Group, along with its partners, has created permanent access to vision care for over 762 million people, equipping more than 71.8 million people in underserved regions with eyeglasses.



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