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Indian ventures win prizes in global eye care competition

Two Indian ventures based in Hyderabad and Bengaluru have won the second and third places in a competition for initiatives aimed at addressing poor vision across the world.

world Updated: Oct 15, 2016 14:24 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Indian ventures

Two Indian ventures based in Hyderabad and Bengaluru have won the second and third places in a global competition on initiatives aimed at addressing poor vision across the world.(Courtsey: clearly.world)

Two Indian ventures based in Hyderabad and Bengaluru have won the second and third places in a global competition on initiatives aimed at addressing poor vision across the world, the organisers said on Thursday.

The first place went to South Africa‘s Vula Mobile, which developed an app connecting primary healthcare workers in remote areas with on-call specialists. It was awarded a prize of $100,000.

The second place of $50,000 dollars went to  Hyderabad-based Folding Phoropter, which developed a cost-effective eye-screening device. Built using origami, the simple, open-source and disposable device is easy to use.

Bengaluru-based Essmart, a last-mile distribution company delivering affordable reading glasses to shops across India, supported by educational tools and materials, was awarded $25,000 in funding.

The winners were awarded the Clearly Vision Prizes by Mark Walport, the British government’s chief scientific advisor.  

The prize is part of a campaign called Clearly spearheaded by James Chen, a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur and venture philanthropist. It seeks to address the challenges caused by poor vision and accelerate a revolution in eye care.

The competition attracted more than 100 applications from 21 countries. Chen said: “Each of these brilliant breakthrough innovations have the potential to revolutionise how we detect, deliver and supply eye care across the world. They help bring us closer to the Clearly campaign’s mission: to help the whole world see within the next 20 years.

“In this era of electrifying progress, the world has the talent, technology and capability to ensure everyone can see clearly. It can and must be done.” 

Walport said: “The problem of poor vision has gone unnoticed for too long – it’s astounding that 700 years after glasses were first invented, there are still 2.5 billion people across the world without access to something as simple as eye screening or a pair of glasses.”