Essilor International Aims To Make Bhutan The First Country In The World To Eradicate Poor Vision


Cataract and refractive error are some of the leading causes of visual impairment in Bhutan.

(Source: Mpora.)


By Dechen Tshomo | Kuensel

With the signing of the letter of intent (LoI) in Thimphu on 7 December, the Health Ministry has partnered with Essilor International, the world’s leading ophthalmic optics company, to eradicate poor vision in Bhutan.

Director General of the Department of Medical Services, Dr Pandup Tshering said that the signing of the LoI gave an opportunity for the ministry to work closely together to strengthen eye care services in the country.

Cataract and refractive error are some of the leading causes of visual impairment in Bhutan. Essilor will donate 400,000 pairs of eyeglasses to the ministry, which will then distribute them to the Bhutanese over the course of the partnership.

Essilor International’s Chief Mission Officer, Jayanth Bhuvaraghan said that uncorrected poor vision affects one in three people, making it the world’s largest unaddressed disability.




“This donation will be sufficient to provide first-time eyewear to all Bhutanese suffering from uncorrected refractive errors, estimated to be about 25 percent of the population, and those living at very high altitudes exposed to high levels of UVA/UVB and in need of protection,” he said.

Essilor’s plans to strengthen eye care services in Bhutan

Essilor would also focus on creating sustainable systems to ensure its continued impact. Together with the ministry, it will work on developing a nationwide awareness campaign to sensitise people about the need for vision correction and protection as well as the life-changing benefits it can have.

It would also help in strengthening the capacity of health professionals on vision care through the help of Essilor’s globally successful training programmes and tools.

Jayanth Bhuvaraghan said that the eyewear company would create micro-vision entrepreneurs for optical dispensing, support in developing the National Eye Health Strategic Plan (2018 – 2024), and also train monks to provide screenings and to form a relevant network.

Essilor International also signed a LoI with the Central Monastic Body for collaboration in eye care. Health officials said that the partnership was possible due to the guidance of Her Majesty the Royal Grand Mother Kesang Choeden Wangchuck.

Essilor hopes to make Bhutan the first nation to eradicate poor vision

“Essilor’s partnership will help Bhutan to be the first nation in the world to eradicate poor vision,” he said.


Source: The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness


Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Essilor, Hubert Sagnieres said that poor vision affected every aspect of a person’s life, impacting their ability to learn, work, live independently and to realise their full potential.

“We are proud to be collaborating with the Bhutanese government to develop a strategy and actions which will see poor vision eradicated from the country,” Hubert Sagnieres said.

“This will bring further prosperity and happiness to its people and for Essilor, one important step closer to its ambition of eradicating poor vision worldwide within one generation.”

Dr Pandup Tshering said that eye care service in the country is fully integrated within the General Health System. The service is delivered through a three-tiered system – primary, secondary and tertiary.

The Primary Eye Care Programme, under the Department of Medical Service, is responsible for the planning, coordination and monitoring of eye care activities in Bhutan.

Although primary eye care services in the country have been provided since 1987, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo revealed that Bhutan faced some challenges such as the affordability of eyeglasses, especially for the socially and economically disadvantaged population.

“So, we are extremely happy that this initiative had taken place.”


This article first appeared in kuensel and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.



Related Posts

Asian Development Bank Provides USD 35m To Develop Bhutan’s...

The grant agreements were signed between the Finance Minister and ADB’s Country Director on 29 November at the Ministry...

Dec 01, 2018 05:48

Conference On ‘Improving Quality and Patient Safety in Health...

“Their Majesties have, at all times, stressed on the importance of uplifting the lives of our people by improving and...

Nov 11, 2018 15:38

Adolescent Girls In Bhutan Learn About Health And Sanitation...

The national nutrition survey 2015 conducted by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF Bhutan found anaemia in adolescent...

Jul 21, 2018 16:29

The Myriad Of Sporting Facilities Constructed In Bhutan To...

The government in its 11th FYP report stated that it undertook the development of various infrastructure and...

Jul 29, 2018 08:33

Observing World Health Day in the Highlands of Merak and Sakteng

“Bhutan provides free health services to its people and by expanding the services to remote areas like Merak, it shows...

Apr 12, 2018 00:20

Community Based Care Centre Seeks To Establish Commercial Flower...

The community based care centre also offers a range of services to individuals and families infected and affected by HIV...

Jun 11, 2018 14:27



Bhutan Marked 100th Anniversary Of Save The Children, Highlighting Its Contributions

Save the Children office in Bhutan celebrated its 100th anniversary on 20th of September 2019.

Sep 21, 2019 23:08

Bhutan Is On Track To Achieve The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals

Last year, the Voluntary National Review of Bhutan to UN found that except for networking and economic vulnerability, the country was on...

Sep 20, 2019 20:38


Reconstruction of Lingzhi Dzong – Built To Commemorate Bhutan’s Victory Over A Tibetan Invasion In 1668

To date, about Nu 13 million has been spent since preparatory works for the Lingzhi Dzong construction which began 15 months ago.

Sep 14, 2019 23:58

True Purpose of Rituals And Their Importance In Buddhism

Rituals are an indispensable way of life for a Bhutanese household and families are known to spend a fortune on them.

Sep 13, 2019 12:11


Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan

It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.

Sep 06, 2019 23:58


Sherza Ventures Limited Launched IPO, Aims To Establish Brand Bhutan Products Globally And More

Sherza Ventures Limited aims to be a hyper retail and wholesale trading venture using e-commerce.

Sep 09, 2019 10:58

iMerit Bhutan Launched, Hopes To Create Far-Reaching Socio-Economic Impact

iMerit strives to drive social and economic change by tapping into an under-resourced talent pool, thereby creating digital inclusion.

Sep 04, 2019 10:58


Plans In The Pipeline To Develop Trongsa For Tourism

“The people of Trongsa were very supportive of the tourism development concept for the locality.”

Sep 05, 2019 14:48

7 Facts You Never Knew About Flying Into Bhutan

Druk Asia interviewed Namgyal Wangchuk, Senior First Officer with Drukair to find out what it's like to fly into Paro International Airport.

Aug 07, 2019 23:18


A Blend Of The Traditional And Contemporary – Showcasing The Best Of Bhutanese Products

The designers showcased their products at the RTA gallery on 18 September which was graced by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden...

Sep 19, 2019 23:50

7 Vegetables You Must Try While Visiting Bhutan

Read Tashi Choden's blog on the vegetables to try if you ever visit Bhutan.

Aug 31, 2019 16:43

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!