VisionSpring is a pioneering, global social enterprise accelerating the uptake of eyeglasses in emerging and frontier markets. They expand the optical market, using innovative distribution and service strategies to sell radically affordable, durable, attractive eyeglasses for consumers living on less than $4 per day. With partnerships in over 43 countries, they are making the wonder of clear vision possible for everybody.
Eyeglasses are a powerful tool for social and economic development and personal well-being. And yet, 2.5 billion people need and do not have this 700-year-old technology.
This is a problem with a solution hiding in plain sight.
Studies confirm what the VisionSpring Team instinctively know to be true. Eyeglasses increase productivity, sustain income earning potential, enhance learning, and make people safer on the roads and in their homes.
With eyeglasses, people can see well and do well.
They can transform the ability of working-age adults to maintain their productivity and earn an income. Eyeglasses improve productivity up to 32%; and increase monthly income by 18-20%.
They can change the trajectory of a child’s life, dramatically increasing a student’s ability to succeed in school. Eyeglasses boost learning outcomes equivalent to an additional one-third and up to a full year of schooling.
They can reduce deadly traffic accidents, making it possible for drivers to see clearly and avoid hazards. Eyeglasses make roads safer, as 60% of traffic accidents can be attributed to impaired vision.
The Good News
Eyeglasses are the single largest solution for avoidable blindness globally. They can correct 49% of the global burden of visual impairment. (The rest stems from a mix of cataract, neglected tropical diseases, and other blinding conditions.) And, the largest part of the problem, requires the simplest, cheapest solution.
For a majority of adults, normal ageing makes it difficult to focus on near objects starting around age 35 to 40. This ubiquitous condition, called presbyopia, can be corrected with a pair of simple reading glasses. These are the kind of magnifying glasses available in any pharmacy or book shop in the US or Europe, but they are not available in most low-income settings.
And, because they do not require a prescription, VisionSpring can train health workers, workplace staff and other lay-people to accurately dispense readers where optometrists are not present. One day, consumers will be ready to self-diagnose, but today 1.1 billion people are vision impaired because they do not have basic ready-made readers. VisionSpring is fixing that.
In 2018, VisionSpring crossed the milestone of generating $1 billion in economic impact. That’s the power of clear vision created by 5 million pairs of glasses worn by adults and children in 43 countries.