CooperVision, EssilorLuxottica, African Eye Institute and Peek Vision partner to bring vision care to SA school children

CooperVision, EssilorLuxottica, African Eye Institute (AEI), and Peek Vision announced a South African initiative— “One School at a Time”, part of the Berkeley Vision CURE global programme — to screen children in KwaZulu-Natal schools and provide free spectacles as needed. Together, the partners strive to strengthen vision care inclusion for children from disadvantaged families and under-served communities, prioritizing the importance of vision care for children. The ability to see clearly impacts many aspects of a child’s life, including self-confidence, socialization, and the ability to perform well in different activities.

This initiative aims to upscale, accelerate and expand access to eye health services to reach more children in more locations, break down barriers to services, and introduce children to healthy habits that can last a lifetime. “At CooperVision, we are committed to helping improve the way people see each day, and we believe that our partnership with EssilorLuxottica, African Eye Institute, and Peek Vision will help to reach and provide eye health services to many school children in South Africa, who otherwise may not have access to this care,” says Isil Ulug, Head of Marketing, CooperVision Africa and Central Eurasia region.

Through the “One School at a Time” program, CooperVision, EssilorLuxottica, African Eye Institute, and Peek aim to reach school children across KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa, targeting approximately 10,000 learners and 250 educators, starting from March 2022 until September 2022.

“EssilorLuxottica is committed to ensuring access to eye care is achieved for all children, irrespective of their socio-economic background. The early diagnosis and correction of poor vision have become a much more urgent issue due to the myopia epidemic that is emerging. Therefore, our collaboration is a collective effort at making a significant impact on a major public health challenge,” says Professor Kovin Naidoo, Senior Vice President of Social Impact, EssilorLuxottica. In turn, Professor Khathutshelo Percy Mashige, Chairman, AEI, emphasizes the implication of the “One School at a Time” initiative for children’s future: “African Eye Institute is excited to collaborate with CooperVision, EssilorLuxottica, and Peek Vision in providing life-changing vision care for children in under-served communities. Too often, putting food on the table is prioritized over essential eye health services, which is why activations such as these are so important”.

The program is multi-faceted with eye health screening and referrals using smartphones or tablets and an eye examination followed by the provision of spectacles for those with an uncorrected refractive error. Alongside these practical interventions, the initiative aims to provide education to communities, parents, and children about healthy lifestyle choices that will prevent or slow down the development and progression of vision conditions.

More information on the “One School at a Time” project is available at https://coopervision.co.za/one-school-at-a-time.