Better Vision for the Poor
31 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2010
Date Written: March 1, 2010
About 500 million to 1 billion poor people in the world need eyeglasses but do not get them. Visual impairment is more than just a health problem; it has economic, educational, and public safety implications. In 2005, the French multinational Essilor launched a 'bottom of the pyramid' initiative to market eyeglasses to the Indian rural poor. VisionSpring was founded in 2001 as a social enterprise with the mission to provide affordable eyeglasses to the poor. Another approach to solving the vision problem emphasizes technological innovation to provide low-cost self-adjustable spectacles. None of these approaches has succeeded on a large enough scale so far. We propose an alternative solution that emphasizes dramatic cost reduction by utilizing ready-made eyeglasses, basic screening without a trained optometrist, economies of scale, piggyback distribution, and low overheads.
Keywords: Reducing Poverty, Public Health, Vision Correction
JEL Classification: I12, I31, M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation