We took our Vision to the People initiative to Kiboga this spring with the BIL-Uganda team. Read on to learn more about our mission to bring accessible vision care to communities in need.
Understanding a global vision problem.
Two thirds of the world’s population are visually impaired. That’s 4.6 billion people who need vision correction. Within that group, over 2.6 billion do not have access to eyecare but do require glasses. The majority of these people live in developing nations where the need for vision care is outweighed by shortages of professional workforce and medical equipment. Others live in remote areas, where there is simply no access to vision care services or eyewear businesses.
At Luna, our mission is to make quality, affordable vision care affordable to all. Our digitized optical tools and solutions make it possible to bring vision care into areas where heavy, bulky equipment can’t go easily. We know that simply providing access to the vision correction that so many need can make a difference in people’s lives.
Our Mission: Vision to the People!
Our Vision To The People Foundation is a humanitarian arm of our business that initiates projects for populations who can benefit from robust vision care services. We collaborate with NGOs, volunteer together as a team, and contribute directly to the populations they work with. We seek ways to make our services available beyond the B2B space and to make our mission a reality.
Specifically, we take our suite of digital vision solutions with us to communities in need of access to vision care. Our tools make it possible to conduct many different kinds of vision tests using smartphones and other mobile devices. Using a few simple tools with easy instructions, users obtain an accurate prescription — sometimes it’s the first one they’ve ever had. Then, we work on getting them the eyeglasses they need, at no cost to them.
As part of these projects, we also train local teams to use our online tools, so they can provide ongoing vision care services to their communities. The best part? These tools use well-vetted technology and guarantee accuracy. So teams on the ground don’t need any official optical training to start providing ongoing vision care services.
A few years ago, Anat Cohen and Dr. Shai Pintov, a teacher and a doctor from the village of Bilu in Israel, decided to retire early and fulfill their lifelong dream to help the population of one of the most underprivileged regions in the world, Kiboga, which is defined by the UN as an “extreme poverty-stricken area.”
They established BIL-Uganda, an initiative to promote the quality of life of Ugandan citizens across health, agriculture, and education through projects that can be led by local teams and have long-term impact.
The collaboration between Luna and BIL-Uganda began after the launch of our Online Refraction Exam Platform, the world’s first medical-grade mobile subjective refraction app that allows you to get a new prescription from a smartphone.
Here’s how Dr. Pintov describes our work together:
“By realizing that there is no data at all about the state of vision of children in Uganda and specifically in Kiboga district and there is no ability to address the problem, I was looking for a solution that does not require skilled workforce and is technically easy to implement in areas where the population has no access to optometry services. Once I heard about a solution of this kind, I realized that it has the maximum potential for solving a very painful problem that has not been solved for decades. And as it is also an integral part of our efforts to empower children in primary schools, eye exams are essential to keep them in the education system.” – Dr. Shai Pintov
Our project with BIL-Uganda took Luna’s on-the-spot vision tests to Kiboga, where our team conducted vision exams while also training a dedicated, local team to continue the work. Dr. Shay Pintov and Anat Cohen led a local team with support from the Luna Chief Optometry Officer Ofer Ancri, our senior optometrist Hani Tsruya, and project manager Ido Goldberg.
Working together, we were able to test the visual acuity of more than 1100 children in one week and provide prescriptions — and eyeglasses — for those who needed vision correction. Furthermore, the BIL-Uganda team was able to learn and apply the entire methodology of the test, except for the optometrist’s final review of the results.
The results continue to inspire us.
As part of our collaboration together, we built a work model and a testing protocol that proved viable in the field. This model allowed us to test many school-aged children in a comprehensive and accurate manner, over a short period of time.
We also gained insights into cultural interfaces and language that will help us build mechanisms that will bridge cultural and technological gaps in future projects.
Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we were able to pilot this new model of bringing our solutions to the people who can benefit most from them. And we’re just getting started.