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Statement: Vision Impact Institute Supports Women in Japan Demanding Rights to Wear Glasses at Work

Stigmas around women wearing spectacles must be challenged

Dallas, Texas – November 11, 2019 – Recent reports aired by Japan’s Nippon TV and Business Insider Japan revealed that women in Japan working in a number of industries have been instructed by the companies in which they work to refrain from wearing eyeglasses on the job. The same rules do not apply to their male counterparts. Reasons given for the policy range from appearance to safety. The Vision Impact Institute applauds the thousands of social media users and traditional media outlets that have recently spoken out against this decision.


“It’s shocking to see global stigmas around spectacle wear for women still stifle more than half of the population’s ability to have healthy vision, equality in education and work, and future quality of life,” says Kristan Gross, Global Executive Director of Vision Impact Institute. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 56% of the world’s blind and 55% of the people with vision impairment are women. When women are discouraged from correcting their vision, serious long-term consequences can result, including blindness.


From an economic perspective, a 2009 research study suggests that the potential annual productivity loss in Japan associated with poor vision is US $7 billion.


“We’re encouraged to see the groundswell of support that this story received on social media,” says Gross. “Fighting for a woman’s rights to correct her vision in whatever form she chooses will require both individual bravery and collective action. We know change is possible.”