Essilor Offers Lenses, Vision Expertise to Aid Needy in the Commonwealth

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CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France—Essilor has pledged to provide eyeglass lenses to 200 million people in the Commonwealth who are living below the poverty line, while continuing to increase the number of eyecare providers there and improve access to them. Comprising 53 countries, the Commonwealth has a population of 2.4 billion. It is estimated that 900 million people suffer from uncorrected refractive errors; approximately two-thirds of them live below the poverty line. Essilor’s commitment will be made in partnership through the $1 billion Vision Catalyst Fund. The Fund is a new initiative under development by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, civil society and public-private stakeholders, to provide sustainable solutions for eye health to entire populations in Commonwealth countries and around the world.

“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,” observed Hubert Sagnieres, chief executive and chairman of Essilor International. “Much like the ongoing fight to ensure children everywhere in the world are immunized against infectious diseases, civil society and public-private stakeholders must work together to immunize everyone against the negative impact of poor vision by making vision care universally available.

“We welcome the opportunity to share our unique knowledge with our partners in the Vision Catalyst Fund, and to provide ophthalmic lenses to 200 million people in the Commonwealth living below the poverty line. We are committing to do this by 2030, the year the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals come to 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,” Sagnieres said.

Dr. Astrid Bonfield, chief executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust commented, “We are at an historic moment where, thanks to the efforts of a diverse but united community, we have the potential to bring vision to everyone, everywhere within just one generation. Essilor’s visionary commitment is set to be truly transformational and takes us a step forward toward realizing our goal of quality eyecare being a part of everyday life for everyone.”