Essilor and the Royal Government of Bhutan have officially launched a partnership to make Bhutan the first country in the world to eradicate poor vision with a monumental milestone – the delivery of 10,000 pairs of eyeglasses for use in its Bhutan School Sight program.
To mark the occasion, Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, who made possible the partnership with her patronage, presented eyeglasses to citizens in a launch ceremony.
Organised by the Ministry of Health, the Bhutan School Sight program, which offers free vision screening for all students aged six to eighteen and equips those in need with free glasses, will be completed by October. The adult screening program will begin in 2020.
Additionally, nearly 200 health assistants will be trained to conduct basic visual acuity tests, distribute simple reading glasses and direct patients with vision correction needs to eye health practitioners. These health assistants will be able to conduct vision screenings for the residents in their communities.
In Bhutan, 25% of the population suffers from uncorrected poor vision, and a large portion is at risk of exposure to UVA/UVB rays due to high altitudes. Together, the partners will address the two greatest barriers to good vision – access and awareness – through training and capacity building, philanthropic support and raising awareness.