Asian Eye Institute and VisionSpring partnered to provide vision screening and reading and prescription eyeglasses to handicraft workers in Parañaque, Laguna and Pampanga.
VisionSpring is an international social enterprise that has distributed over 5.4 million pairs of vision-correcting eyeglasses around the world.
Asian Eye first partnered with VisionSpring in 2018. As part of its sustainability program, Asian Eye aimed to bring quality eye care to places and communities where it is not easily accessible. The Asian Eye medical team also screened workers in factories in Pampanga, Pangasinan, Bohol and Cebu.
This year, over 600 employees of Asia Ceramics Corporation, Terra Cotta Art Works Inc., Anastacio’s Ceramics, and Basket and Weaves Handicrafts underwent eye checkups.
“Most of the employees had never had their eyes checked before,” shares Asian Eye sustainability program coordinator Melicca Jamilla. “Through this event, we were able to catch their eye problems and provide them with eyeglasses to help them be more efficient at work.”
“At 78%, the rates of uncorrected refractive errors were surprisingly high,” says Ramona Bajema, Clear Vision workplace business development officer. “We typically see rates of presbyopia at 20% to 30% of a population depending on age, and 10% to 20% for nearsightedness in countries like India and Bangladesh.”
Refractive error refers to the blurring of vision that happens when the eyeball is unusually long or short, or the cornea is not evenly or smoothly shaped. This causes a combination of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia or the loss of near vision.
Asian Eye chief operating officer Alwin Sta. Rosa says: “These are very high numbers. What most people don’t realize is that these can actually be corrected by wearing eyeglasses or reading glasses.
“Our partnership with VisionSpring is driven by our mission to help Filipino workers enjoy happy and productive lives. … It is important to realize that having clear, healthy vision is crucial to our daily lives because it allows us to work and care for our families.”
Bajema adds: “…All the factories expressed satisfaction with Asian Eye’s service. They were not only happy that eye care services were provided, but that the screening process was well coordinated and seamlessly executed.”
Apart from eye checkups and quality eyeglasses, Asian Eye’s medical team taught the handicraft workers about different eye problems and proper eye care.
“Many Filipinos don’t know they are suffering from an eye condition until they feel pain or lose their vision. By educating them, we were able to instill in them that having clear, healthy vision can ensure they can continue to make a living by creating intricate housewares, pottery and baskets to provide the needs of their family members,” says Sta. Rosa. (Story/Photos by: Charizze Henson)