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In the News: Vision Impairment Through a Gender Lens

Devex highlighted the topic of impaired vision, its affect on women around the world and the need to look at the subject as an educational, financial, and a wider societal issue.

Kristan Gross Global Executive Director, Vision Impact Institute, was featured and highlighted the issue of stigmas that sometimes exist when women wear glasses:

“Stigma around the wearing of spectacles is another barrier to women and girls having refractive error corrected. In South Asia, for example, girls can be viewed as “defective” — and therefore less likely to marry — rather than “effective” if they wear glasses.  In contrast, wearing spectacles is perceived as making boys look intelligent.”

The article also highlighted the following issues:

  1. Women and girls in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately impacted by uncorrected vision impairment, untreated eye conditions, and blindness.

  2. Women’s access to preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment or correction is also lower than for men.

  3. Economics, family responsibilities, lower literacy levels, and stigmas are some of the reasons women’s vision falls to a lower priority.

  4. Some of the consequences of impaired vision include discrimination, being labeled as disabled, and a higher likelihood of poverty.

  5. Solutions to the problem include involving men in the conversation, working with governments, implementing awareness campaigns driven by females, and developing cross-sector partnerships.

Read the full story here.

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