$6 Eyeglasses for the Poor

$17,124 $232,876
Raised Remaining

VisionSpring sold 30,621 pairs of glasses between January – March 2012. Of those, 16,957 were sold in India, 8,384 were sold in El Salvador, and 5,280 were sold through our Global Partnerships. We expect to sell our 1,000,000th pair by early June, resulting in $216 million created in economic impact.

In late 2011, VisionSpring forged a new distribution channel that enables our partners to benefit from our knowledge base and streamlined supply chain. VisionSpring’s systematized partnership model, Global Partnerships, adds value to other NGOs through the sale of glasses. NGOs have the option to incorporate the sale of reading glasses into their work either by partnering with VisionSpring to train an entrepreneur network similar to our Vision Entrepreneurs, or by utilizing a simplified on-site retail approach. Partner organizations assume full cost of the training and supplies required to launch the program allowing VisionSpring to bring high-quality, affordable eye care services to new countries without the input of additional resources. Today, Global Partnerships is our fastest growing distribution channel with glasses being sold in 18 developing countries.

Recent partners include:

o Fundacion Paraguaya, Paraguay

o Pan American Silver Bolivia, Bolivia

o Indego Africa, Rwanda

o Living Goods, Uganda

o Community Enterprise Solutions, Guatemala, Ecuador, South Africa, and Nicaragua

o Seva, Tibet

o Diaspora Community Services, Haiti

o Burro, Ghana o Specsavers, Cameroon

o GoodWeave, Afghanistan

o Roshan, Afghanistan

o AMOS Health and Hope, Nicaragua

o Programs for the Development of Women and Children in Honduras, Honduras

o SAFICO, Haiti

o Bashir Foundation, India

o Mas Kapital, Mexico

o Peace Corps, Vanuatu

o Mama Ellen, Ghana


VisionSpring has established a solid distribution channel for delivering eyeglasses to low-income people in rural India where 75% of the country’s population lives –the vast majority of whom are underserved. VisionSpring utilizes retrofitted vans as mobile optical stores managed by a team with diverse expertise in sales and marketing, optometry, and behavioral change communications. The VisionSpring outreach team visits each location the day before the mobile optical store arrives, creating demand by educating about the importance of proper eye care and preparing communities for the vision screening process. 

In February 2011, VisionSpring India successfully concluded our mobile optical store pilot program. During this time, Sight Care Foundation in Chennai became an active partner, providing professional training to our team of refractionists able to dispense prescription eyeglasses. In July, VisionSpring began officially incorporating prescription eye care services into the mobile optical stores. Each van is stocked with a range of pre-cut lenses, those which are most commonly prescribed. Eyeglasses are immediately assembled on board the van, allowing customers to return to work and school that same day.

Today, we have 20 mobile optical stores on the road, all of which staff a refractionist and are equipped to prescribe and sell prescription glasses on-site. A key component of our mobile optical store model is the ability to provide prescription glasses on-site within 15 minutes of the refraction.    

In 2011, VisionSpring provided over 65,400 eyeglasses to children and the working poor in rural India, screening nearly 196,000 individuals. This generated an astounding $14 million in economic growth at the base of the pyramid last year alone.    


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New York, NY, United States

Project Leader

Elizabeth Smith

New York, NY United States

Where is this project located?

Map of $6 Eyeglasses for the Poor