Visual impairment particularly affects society’s most disadvantaged who often have little access to proper eye care. The Foundation opened in early October 2015 the Edmond de Rothschild ophthalmic centre, the first of its kind in France that’s open to all. It aims to treat 45,000 patients a year, including individuals living in extreme precarity thanks to the creation of a special system.
Vision for Life, Essilor’s social impact fund, worked with the Rothschild Foundation to bring universal access to prevention and quality vision care. As part of this new partnership, individuals from disadvantaged communities will be able to come to the Foundation’s ophthalmology centre two mornings a week and over 4 weekends in the year for an ophthalmic consultation and treatment and to obtain obtain glasses to correct their vision. The initiative hopes to bring vision care to some 4,000 individuals in need annually.
Essilor celebrated the launch of this partnership on 21 November. Volunteers, ophthalmologists and opticians were on hand to welcome over 60 children, many for their first eye examination. Each individual had been selected by one of Essilor’s long-standing partners Samu Social de Paris, a humanitarian organization which provides care to homeless people and those in social distress. Children in need of vision correction were able to go home with glasses adapted to their individual needs, provided by Vision for Life.
Vision impairment is still a major handicap in France where it’s estimated that 1 million children do not yet have vision correction due to problems in accessing vision assessment or treatment. The late diagnosis of vision problems is the cause of 30% of academic underachievement in primary education.