$6 Eyeglasses for the Poor

by VisionSpring
Sep 13, 2012

Summer 2012 VisionSpring Report

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Optical Store in Karnal
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Optical Store in Karnal

Dear Friend,

In May, VisionSpring was thrilled to announce the sale of our 1,000,000th pair of eyeglasses. Each pair enables someone in the developing world to realize their full potential.  With the sale of one million glasses we have created over $216,000,000 in economic impact– but this is just the beginning. While it took us 10 years to sell our first million, we are on course to sell 10 million over the next 10 years.

This would not have been possible without your support!

Your friends at VisionSpring

VisionSpring Impact

VisionSpring sold over 120,000 pairs of glasses between January – June 2012. Of those over 34,000 were sold in India, 18,576 were sold in El Salvador, and 73,000 were sold through our Global Partnerships.

Exciting News From India

This month VisionSpring will open its first fixed location optical store in Karnal, India modeled after our optical shops in El Salvador.  VisionSpring’s comprehensive eye care services for the BoP consumer, or BoPtical Care Hubs, will be the only outlet in India offering comprehensive eye services that simultaneously serve district capitals and their surrounding small towns and villages.  VisionSpring will deploy a cross subsidization pricing strategy that will enable VisionSpring to address the public health need for eyeglasses in a sustainable manner.


Updated From El Salvador 

Since our last report, VisionSpring has hired five full-licensed optometrists, one for each of our locations. We have also hired an ophthalmologist in our optical shop in Santa Ana that handles advanced eye care referrals from our vision entrepreneur outreach work in Ahuachapan, Sonsonante, and Santa Ana.

Global Partnerships

In addition to VisionSpring's distribution channels in El Salvador and India, we now work with 23 different partners.  We’ve had tremendous success working with our partner organizations, and we are always looking for new organizations that want to explore strategic partnerships to add value to their existing operations. Please contact jhutchinson@visionspring.org to explore opportunities for collaboration.

Partnership Update

VisionSpring recently launched a new partnership with MasKapital in Oaxaca, Mexico. MasKapital is a Microfinance Institution with over 70,000 borrowers. Some of these borrowers will now begin to start their own businesses selling VisionSpring reading glasses.  We look forward to reporting back on the progress of the new partnership.

New Customer Story

Eva Santa Ana, El Salvador

VisionSpring met Eva in May in El Salvador.  Eva was attending a vision campaign at her local church in her village outside of Santa Ana.  Eva was at the church that day because she had heard about VisionSpring campaigns that had taken place in neighboring villages and had been waiting for us to come to her town. 

At 40 years old Eva has worked at the local coffee processing facility for four years.  Although it is seasonal work, Eva relies on the extra income she makes sorting coffee beans to support her three children and three grandchildren. 

VisionSpring in the News

Prescriptions and Pride: VisionSpring's Journey to One Million By Dr. Jordan Kassalow, Founder and CEO of VisionSpring. 

The woman I met in Choco, Colombia, arrived by canoe. She had made the trip down the river to the village where I was working as a young optometry student with a team of visiting eye doctors from Boston. She had traveled an entire day to get her eyes examined. Most of us complain about having to commute 30 minutes to work. She spoke little Spanish but it didn't take me long to examine her eyes and determine her problem -- she was legally blind. Considering the strength of her prescription, I was worried we might not be able to help her. Fortunately, I was able to locate a pair of glasses for her in the pile of used glasses we had brought down to distribute. While not a perfect match, the glasses were close enough to her prescription to restore her vision -- never mind that they had 1950s cat-eye-style frames. I was feeling satisfied that we had done good work that day.

Click here to read the full article on the Huffington Post.

At Least One Million By Paul Pollack

For many years I have been a vocal advocate for what I call the "Don't Bother Trilogy" in the practice of design, which states:

1. If you haven't had good conversations with at least 25 customers before you start 2. If the product or service you design doesn't pay for itself three times in the first year 3. If you can't sell at least a million of them DON'T BOTHER!

So it's not surprising that six years ago, I challenged my friend Jordan Kassalow to set a target of selling at least one million affordable eyeglasses. Jordan is the founder and CEO of VisionSpring, which sells high-quality, affordable eyeglasses to the poor people in the world who need them but don't have access to them. Two weeks ago, I was delighted to hear, from Jordan and his COO Peter Eliassen, that they had just sold a pair of eyeglasses to their one millionth customer.

Read Paul Pollack's Full Article on the Huffington Post

Make a Difference, Donate Today!

Your gift can help restore vision for the working poor and school children in the developing world. Just $4 enables VisionSpring to deliver high-quality, affordable eyeglasses to the hands of those who need them most.



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Organization Information


Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.visionspring.org
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Smith
New York, NY United States

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