Why Global Citizens Should Care
The number of people living with a disability around the world is rising rapidly, and until we build a society that is fully inclusive, everyone is losing out. Poor vision is the world's largest unaddressed disability, and we need governments, businesses, charities, and individuals to get on board to end that. Join the movement by taking action here to call on businesses to ensure their employees have access to sight tests and glasses. 

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 is underway in Davos-Klosters, in Switzerland, this week — and it’s all about bringing together people from all walks of life to help set the global agenda towards driving positive change. 

There will be more than 3,000 participants from governments, international organisations, business, civil society, media, culture, and also experts and young people from all over the world. 

And a key message that will reportedly be highlighted at this year’s meeting is the need to really work towards building an inclusive society for everyone in the world living with a disability. 

Take Action: Ask Amazon, Shell, Starbucks, and More to Provide Quality Eye Care for All

That’s where Clearly — a global campaign to bring clear vision as quickly as possible to the billions of people living with poor vision around the world — comes in, with a great animation that you should get in front of your employer asap. 

Clearly is urging businesses to drive inclusivity by offering free sight tests and affordable glasses to their employees — and it’s specifically targeting the world’s biggest businesses to help lead the way. 

It launched the campaign ahead of World Sight Day 2018, on October 11, by writing to more that 120 of the world’s largest companies, including many that we use on a daily basis — like Amazon, Starbucks, and Shell. 

But now, with many leading businesses gathered together in Davos, Clearly is ramping up its efforts to help deliver sight tests and glasses to drive forward productivity and wellbeing of workers all around the world.

Poor vision is, in fact, the world’s largest unaddressed disability — and it has serious implications for productivity in the workplace, for workers’ health and wellbeing, and for the international effort to achieve the UN’s Global Goals to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Around the world, a massive 2.5 billion people have poor vision with no access to glasses and 90% of these people live in low-income countries.

Many jobs, particularly in low-income countries, involve manual tasks that can be dangerous if you have poor vision — for example, driving vehicles, or operating machinery.

“Drivers putting themselves and others at risk, workers using heavy machinery, avoidable misery,” says the voiceover in the animation, voiced by actor Paterson Joseph, highlighting how not having access to sight tests and glasses can impact people’s lives.

“And it’s businesses that lose out,” it adds, highlighting the benefits that businesses would also see through supporting workers in accessing eye care. “Cutting-edge research shows glasses boost productivity by 22%. That’s an extra day a week.” 

“Glasses have been around for 700 years — but a third of the world go without,” the video continues. “It’s time business stepped up, and offered sight tests and affordable glasses to workers. For their own bottom line, and everyone’s happiness.”

The video closes by calling on you to sign Clearly’s petition to tell businesses around the world to join the commitment to delivering eye care for everyone, which you can do by clicking here.

When businesses get involved in the campaign, they’ll be in great company — with governments from around the world already on board. 

Back in April 2018, the leaders of all 53 Commonwealth countries pledged to take action to achieve quality eye care for everyone at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London. 

And it happened after thousands of Global Citizens took action in support of Clearly’s campaign — sending tweets to world leaders calling for action on delivering universal eye care. 

It was the first time in history that the global crisis of poor vision has been formally recognised at a meeting of world leaders. 

But the world needs businesses to join the efforts, if we’re really going to drive positive change both for businesses’ productivity and for workers’ wellbeing and happiness. 

Even if you put aside social responsibility, delivering eye care for their employees is in businesses’ interests too. 

Research, published in the Lancet Global Health journal in July 2018, and funded by Clearly, explored the connection between workers being able to see properly and their productivity by working with a group of 750 tea pickers in Assam, in India. 

The group were mainly female, and they were all aged 40 or over — and when the workers with poor vision were given the glasses they needed, it prompted the largest-ever recorded productivity increase from any health intervention. 

Once they had glasses, the workers saw a rise in productivity of 22% on averageand 32% for those over 50. So essentially what we’re saying is: glasses are good both for people and businesses. 

“It makes work more productive and more rewarding, and at the heart of this study there is a clear message for businesses like ours — good vision is vital to what we do,” said a spokesperson from Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd., owners of the tea garden where the trial took place. 

“This is a turning point in awareness of the impact of clear vision on our tea garden’s wellbeing and productivity,” they said. 

If businesses gathering this week in Davos are serious about making progress on inclusion, providing eye care for their workers is a simple way to take a big step forward on the world’s largest unaddressed disability. Their businesses would be transformed — and so would billion of lives all around the world. 


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