Essilor And Royal Government of Bhutan Deliver 10,000 Pairs Of Glasses To Students

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Celebrating Essilor’s partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan, Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo (third from right, third row from the front) presented eyeglasses to citizens in yesterday's launch ceremony.

CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France—Essilor and the Royal Government of Bhutan are celebrating delivering 10,000 pairs of glasses as part of their joint partnership to make Bhutan the first country in the world to eradicate poor vision. Currently, 25 percent of people in Bhutan suffer from uncorrected poor vision, and a large portion of people are at risk of UVA/UVB rays due to high altitudes. This first delivery will be used in the Bhutan School Sight program, and to mark the occasion Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, a patron of the program, presented the glasses to citizens.

The Bhutan School Sight program is organized by the Ministry of Health and offers free vision screening to students aged 6 to 18 and provides glasses to those who need them. This program is set to be completed in October, and the adult program will begin in 2020.

In addition, about 200 health assistants will be trained to conduct basic visual acuity tests, distribute reading glasses, and direct patients to eye health practitioners as part of the program. They will also be able to conduct vision screenings for the people in their own communities.

Hubert Sagnieres, chairman of Essilor, said, “Good vision transforms more than just a person’s health and well-being—it reduces inequalities and positively impacts the daily lives of individuals, their families and their communities through their ability to learn, work and be safe. Simply put, improving sight improves lives and will help advance the country’s Gross National Happiness Index. We are pleased with the progress of our journey together so far and look forward to many more milestones. It is an honor to be making a difference in the lives of Bhutanese citizens, and those of citizens around the world as we work toward eradicating poor vision in one generation.”

Her Excellency the Health Minister of Bhutan, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said, “We hope that through this partnership, the prevalence of poor vision is significantly reduced, that every Bhutanese who requires refractive error correction has access to eyeglasses. We would like to thank Essilor for their commitment to this cause.”

In total, Essilor expects this program will see them donating 400,000 pairs of corrective eyewear and sunglasses, eradicating poor vision in Bhutan.