Groundbreaking Study Shows Impact of Reading Glasses

According to new research, providing glasses to workers can increase their productivity by nearly 32%. The study, called Productivity Study of Presbyopia Elimination in Rural-dwellers, or PROSPER, was conducted with tea pickers living in India over the course of eleven weeks. All participants were diagnosed with farsightedness, or “unaided near visual acuity,” a condition that can be corrected with a simple pair of reading glasses. Researchers then provided half of the participants with a free pair of glasses and compared their productivity with the workers who did not receive them.

The results of the study showed that workers who were given glasses were able to collect over 5 kilos more tea than their peers who struggled with impaired vision and didn’t receive a pair of glasses. These results are extremely significant given the way the industry works – collecting more tea means a higher wage for the worker. The glasses not only boosted productivity and improved business, but also helped benefit the tea pickers themselves, their families, and communities.

The study states, “Delivery of glasses to older workers could be a scalable and sustainable strategy for poverty alleviation. Age-related decline in unaided near vision is essentially universal, so the pool of potential beneficiaries is large.”

Reading glasses are affordable and easy to transport to developing countries. The simplicity of this distribution model drives immediate and wildly disproportionate positive results.

Since 2003, RestoringVision has helped more than 10 million people see clearly in over 127 countries. We are striving to help 20 million people by 2020 and are proud to be a part of the solution to this global health problem with severe socioeconomic impacts.

Thank you to VisionSpring, Clearly, Orbis, and Queen’s University Belfast for conducting this important research. To learn more about PROSPER, take a look at the full research study here.