An Optical Solution: Envisioning Affordable Eye Care for All

Speeches Shim

VisionSpring | India

$585, 300 | Stage 2: Testing at Scale | Economic Growth and Trade

The problem: The economic costs of vision loss

It is estimated that uncorrected vision results in $202 billion in lost productivity to the global economy. Yet, 544 million people around the world could have their vision restored with a simple pair of reading glasses. For many living in developing countries suffering from vision loss, a pair of eyeglasses could mean the difference between opportunity and loss of income and quality of life. Glasses can increase productivity by 35 percent, and increase monthly income by 20 percent. 

The solution: A new business lens


VisionSpring reaches base of the income pyramid (BoP) customers in rural and peri-urban areas through outreach efforts that provide vision screenings and access to affordable glasses. Its unique business model supports the sale of glasses to the poorest customers (a target 70 percent of all customers) with revenue from higher-priced products sold to wealthier customers.

VisionSpring’s 10 years of experience serving the global BoP optical market will inform the program, notably its successful implementation of the BoPtical Care Model in El Salvador, which will be fully self-financed by 2013. The organization targets the same success in India, to reach 1.2 million people in six years.

The potential: Cost effectiveness, impacts, and implications

Each of VisionSpring's 10 BoPtical Care Hubs aim to reach 12,000 individuals annually with comprehensive, high-quality affordable eye care. VisionSpring hopes to drive down total costs from $18 to $6.51 for each pair of glasses, increasing their affordability for BoP customers.

Assuming that each pair of reading glasses lasts two years, this will yield an estimated $216 in increased earning potential per pair sold. Over the three-year DIV grant, VisionSpring is targeting sales of more than 200,000 pairs of glasses and plans to conduct over 600,000 vision screenings, generate $2.5 million in revenue and create $43 million in economic impact.

Watch a video of VisionSpring’s impact worldwide.

Last updated: August 31, 2015

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