$6 Eyeglasses for the Poor

by VisionSpring
Nov 28, 2012

VisionSpring Fall 2012 Report

Smiling customer in India
Smiling customer in India

Dear Friend,

Over the last few years we have enlisted your support to help us sell our one millionth pair of glasses, and thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we have now sold more than 1,073,000 pairs.  Our glasses are being worn by individuals in El Salvador, India, Bangladesh, Mexico, Uganda, Ghana and 18 other developing countries.

This would not have been possible without your support!

Your friends at VisionSpring


53,756 pairs of glasses sold (through September) with more than 150,000 reached with vision screenings.

In August, USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures made a three-year commitment to our work in India with a $585,350 investment in VisionSpring –the largest grant ever awarded for stage two funding.  The partnership with USAID will enable VisionSpring to open 10 optical shops, replicating our successful El Salvador model in Indian cities with populations between 1-1.5 million.  Each store will facilitate outreach work in villages within driving distance from the store conducting vision campaigns 22 days every month.  Outreach efforts will incorporate best practices established through our mobile optical store model operating in rural India.  The first store opened on September 1st in Karnal, India with preliminary sales in line with projections.  An integral component of our work in urban and peri-urban India is our collaboration with local hospitals.  In Karnal we have established a partnership with a nearby hospital, Arpana, which allows VisionSpring to set up a small optical shop on-site at the hospital as well as maintain a close relationship with the hospital to help facilitate patient referrals from our vision campaigns.  VisionSpring will be looking to replicate this kind of partnership in every city where we establish an optical shop.  By the end of 2015, VisionSpring will have provided access to eyeglasses for more than 200,000 individuals in India through our 10 optical shops and corresponding outreach.  With a fixed location retail presence in India, VisionSpring will be able to reach more school aged children with comprehensive eye care services and prescription glasses, ensuring they have equal opportunity to succeed in school and realize their full potential. 

El Salvador:

29,022 pairs sold (through September) with more than 85,000 individuals reached with vision screenings.

In El Salvador glasses sales have increased 71% from this time last year with revenue expected to meet, if not exceed, our 2012 goal of $831,000.   Over the summer VisionSpring hired five fully licensed optometrists in El Salvador, one for each of our retail locations.  In addition, we are now employing an ophthalmologist in our Santa Ana location and she is able to accommodate referrals for advanced eye care from our stores and vision campaigns in Ahuachapán, Sonsonate, and Santa Ana.  In early October VisionSpring finalized a partnership with the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative that provides a framework for the replication of our El Salvador model in Peru.  Over the next several months our operations in El Salvador will serve as a learning lab for the William J. Clinton Foundation as they refine their program, with VisionSpring providing on-going technical assistance as they scale.  With a newly hired Director of Latin America, our work in 2013 will be squarely focused on building capacity to match the pace of our rapid growth. 


104,486 pairs sold by Shastho Shebikas (through September) with more than 300,000 reached with vision screenings

The female community health workers, or Shastho Shebikas, that sell our glasses in Bangladesh increased their sales 40% from this time last year.  The dramatic increase is attributed to the shift in strategy put in place in 2012 that emphasizes the distribution of glasses through community based vision campaigns instead of door-to-door sales.  In celebration of World Sight Day on October 11th BRAC hosted 970 vision campaigns selling 7,916 pairs of glasses in one day.  In 2013 VisionSpring and BRAC will be exploring new opportunities to maximize impact and provide the women selling the glasses with the tools they need to sell even more glasses.

Global Partnerships:

75,154 pairs sold (through September) with VisionSpring glasses being worn in 24 developing countries.

In late 2011 VisionSpring systematized our wholesale channel to establish a distribution platform, Global Partnerships, designed to broaden the scope of our work while adding value to other organizations. Partner organizations assume full cost of the training and supplies required to launch a glasses distribution program allowing VisionSpring to bring high-quality, affordable eye care services to new countries without the input of additional resources.  Partner organizations include other social enterprises, microfinance institutions, and NGOs. 

Customer Story:

Jitender makes tools for rice farmers in Rajasthan, India. Jordan met Jitender recently at the height of the harvest season in October.  Most years, Jitender and his family live off the money he earns during the six-week harvest season for several months.  When Jordan visited Jitender in the small workshop attached to his home, he was having difficulty drilling holes into what would become the wooden handles for the farming tools.  During past harvest seasons, Jitender sold as many as 400 of these tools, but he was concerned he would not be able to keep pace with customer demand this year.  As Jordan left Jitender assured him he would be attending our vision campaign the following day to get a new pair of glasses.We look forward to checking in with Jitender and hearing about his experience with his new glasses.

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.

First eye exam for a student in El Salvador
First eye exam for a student in El Salvador
VisionSpring Mobile Optical Van
VisionSpring Mobile Optical Van

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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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