Amitabh Bachchan is the face of a new campaign in Uttar Pradesh that is expected to reach tens of millions of Indians with a simple ask: go and get your vision checked. A new SEE NOW campaign will deploy creative content across five key districts — Unnao, Lucknow, Rae Bareli, Lakhimpur Kheri and Sitapur — via radio, television, print, social media, WhatsApp and SMS to provide information on eye health issues, local services and how to access them.
Bachchan said: “Vision problems are extremely common in India, currently about 550 million Indians have serious vision problems which affect their families, their work and their quality of life. The basic lack of understanding and awareness of how eye health works lead to the stigma around simple and easy treatments. People are often not aware of the availability in their area of quality eye care services. It really is very simple to avoid a lot of different sorts of blindness by preventative care.”
The social impacts of vision loss are extreme:
- Almost half of all drivers having impaired vision, creating a public safety issue;
- Women account for 67% of vision problems but are 40% less likely to access services;
- Vision impairment is the second highest risk factor for learning difficulties in children and
- Poor vision accounts for $37 billion in lost annual productivity.
The central solution lies in raising awareness of the importance of eye health, and the safe, simple and available services that exist. Amitabh Bachchan has been chosen to support this campaign to help raise awareness and urge people to go and get their vision checked at government approved services. He is a proud wearer of glasses and hopes that this will encourage others to wear glasses without any stigma.
The campaign is funded by The Fred Hollows Foundation and in part by Essilor Vision Foundation and is working in partnership with Sightsavers India and Vision2020 India among others. Through partnership with Sightsavers and Essilor 2.5 NVG, the campaign has also profiled “eye heroes” who work to restore vision and fit glasses. The campaign includes an interactive call centre to allow people in those districts to find out where their nearest Sightsavers eye camp or Eye Mitra Optician is located. If none are located in the vicinity, it will register the location to request for an eye camp in the future. People in the campaign areas can put in a missed call to 9266021666 to hear a recorded message from the superstar and find out where their nearest eye health service is located.
“The Fred Hollows Foundation is honoured to have Mr. Amitabh Bachchan spreading the word on the importance of eye health in India which ranks second in the world for blindness and vision impairment,” said Nick Martin, Director of Public Affairs, The Fred Hollows Foundation.
“A lack of awareness and access to eye care prevents 1 in 3 Indians from seeing the world clearly. Essilor is proud to support the SEE NOW campaign breaking down these barriers as we work towards our ambition to eradicate poor vision by 2050,” said Jayanth Bhuvaraghan, Chief Mission Officer, Essilor International.
“The SEE NOW campaign is much needed to generate awareness amongst the masses to simply go and get their eyesight checked as over 75% of blindness is preventable. Sightsavers India is very happy to be a part of this campaign,” said RN Mohanty, CEO, Sightsavers India.
“What is much needed in Uttar Pradesh is for people to realise the adverse implications of poor vision and to seek immediate care without delay. This need will be met through the SEE NOW campaign. The timely initiative is highly appreciated,” said Phanindra Babu Nukella, CEO, VISION 2020 INDIA.