Around the world, 90% of blind individuals cannot work. This situation is even more severe in impoverished countries where 50% of blind people experience a loss in social standing and are alienated from their communities. India is home to 40% of the world’s blind, most of whom belong to low-income rural households. For them, one visit to the ophthalmologist costs 9 days of daily wage and more than a month’s savings.
ERC provides affordable and quality eye care services to low-income households in rural India. Their mobile units reach remote villages, where their optometrists provide basic eye check-ups and sell glasses to correct low-vision cases. The services are affordable due to ERC’s partnerships with optical-instrument manufacturers. Patients who need further examination are referred to ERC’s Hub Hospitals for full treatment, where transportation and hospitalization costs are determined on what the individual can realistically afford.
ERC has provided eye care to more than 100,000 patients, which represents an estimated value of £100,632 in increased productivity. They have also invested in developing local capacities and skills, training women community members to become points of contact for ERC and employing rural youth. In the next 5 years, ERC plans to scale their operations to reach 1.5 million people, serving communities across northeastern India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar.