Charenton, France (February 6, 2020) –– Essilor and The Fred Hollows Foundation today announced the expansion of the successful See Now campaign, fronted by celebrity ambassador Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests in the fight to combat poor vision and avoidable blindness. Over the course of 5 weeks, the campaign will reach 200 million people with crucial messaging on eye health and will offer free screenings, eyeglasses and treatment to 400,000 people in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
See Now, a global campaign created by The Fred Hollows Foundation and supported by Essilor’s social impact fund Vision for Life and other partners, aims to increase awareness and drive public mobilization on ending avoidable blindness and vision impairment by increasing the number of people accessing eyecare services and eyeglasses. The campaign, fronted by Bollywood superstar Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, has an urgent yet simple message for millions of Indians: go and get your eyes checked.
The phase 1 pilot campaign ran in five districts in the Uttar Pradesh region and reached 32 million people, with 9,200 people participating in free vision screening programmes. Phase 2, which is starting now and will run to mid-March 2020, will take in an additional 34 districts where implementation partners will set up 260 eye health centres as well as screen 50,000 school students. This week saw children from a local school amongst the first recipients of free glasses following a screening session.
Raising awareness of the importance of regular vision screening is essential in India where poor vision affects an estimated 550 million people and costs the Indian economy US$37billion every year in lost productivity. It is adversely impacted by low awareness of the seriousness of the issue and limited access to vision care, particularly in rural areas. Misconceptions, cultural stigma and myths surrounding glasses also prevent people seeking the treatment they need.
Commenting on the launch, Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Chief Mission Officer, Essilor International and EssilorLuxottica said: “Raising awareness about eye health is critical to our ambition to eliminate poor vision from the world in a generation. The support of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan for the cause and working with The Fred Hollows Foundation and other like-minded organisations, gives us the collaborative confidence and energy to achieve even greater reach and awareness with See Now.”
The Fred Hollows Foundation Deputy CEO Nick Martin said he was encouraged by the response from the phase one pilot in Uttar Pradesh last year. “The campaign resulted in an increase in eye screenings across our partner eye camps and more people attended camps in Lucknow. That tells us we are making a significant impact in promoting eye health. With the support of our partners on the ground for this latest campaign, we can ensure more people are able to work, provide for their families and improve their quality of life.”
The See Now campaign is made possible through collaboration across the eye health sector, including The Fred Hollows Foundation, Essilor, SightSavers, Sadguru, Indian Vision Institute, Operation Eyesight Universal, Mission for Vision and VisionSpring – as well as other local partners.
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