The vision care company is joining forces with the global nonprofit to fight avoidable blindness around the world.
Orbis International this week announced a renewed partnership with Vision Care company HOYA, which will commit its support over the next three years to improve health through vision for all.
According to a news release, the support will focus on helping school children get access to eye care in low- to middle-income countries and on training eye care professionals around the world through Cybersight, Orbis's telemedicine and e-learning platform.
Over the next 3 years, HOYA's contribution will enable Orbis to screen more than 500,000 children and provide more than 15,000 eyeglasses as part of the REACH (Refractive Error Among Children) program in India. REACH aims to reduce visual impairment due to uncorrected refractive error (a vision problem that makes it hard to see clearly) among school-going children and provide a sustainable and scalable solution to a shortage of care for this issue.
Orbis develops teams of ophthalmic personnel and supports them with digital and clinical equipment to perform screenings and provide spectacles. The teams also provide referrals for children who require further examination and treatment to an Orbis partner hospital or to the nearest Vision Center.
"A simple pair of spectacles is often all it takes to open a world of opportunities to someone," said Dr. Rishi Raj Borah, country director, Orbis India. "Our partnership with HOYA Vision Care has been instrumental in bringing eye health services within children's reach and enabling them to realize their potential. We are excited to continue this partnership to further expand our outreach and impact, and touch many more lives over the next few years."
India is home to the largest number of blind children in any one country and to 9.3 million children with visual impairment. Considering the majority of vision impairment cases is completely avoidable, the REACH program is instrumental in helping children see, and has great potential outside of India, too.
Alexandre Montague, CEO of HOYA Vision Care, explained in the news release that improving vision over a lifetime, that is the mission at HOYA Vision Care.
“And for that reason, we are excited to partner with Orbis, in India and beyond,” Montague said. “This partnership takes us another step in the direction of closing the vision health gap, enabling everyone to experience the gift of sight.”
The partners also noted in the news release that HOYA Vision Care will also work with Orbis to support Vision Centers in India, which make eye care accessible in rural communities. Vision Centers are eye health clinics that are strategically located in communities that do not have easy access to other eye health facilities. Vision Centers offer affordably priced care for low-income individuals, and free care for those who cannot pay. HOYA's support will directly impact four Vision Centers and the three partner hospitals associated with them. HOYA also plans to support further expansion of Vision Centers in the future.
HOYA Vision Care's partnership will also benefit Cybersight, Orbis's telemedicine and e-learning platform. Cybersight gives eye care professionals in areas with the greatest need free virtual access to training, knowledge and other resources to better help their patients. HOYA's contribution to Cybersight will focus on myopia (nearsightedness) and help to reach thousands of eye health professionals in areas with a high prevalence of myopia, such as China and parts of Southeast Asia, with the skills they need to provide quality care to their patients.
The companies noted that HOYA Vision Care has partnered with Orbis since 2021 and was a key player in the REACH team's ability to pivot to a new and innovative door-to-door screening model when schools were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
HOYA Vision Care and Orbis are continuing to work together to expand their collaboration across many other geographies to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to quality eye care.