The founder of the Clearly campaign, James Chen, has today written to CEOs of more than 120 of the world’s largest private sector employers, calling on them to provide free eye tests to their employees in the developing world. A third of the global population – 2.5 billion – cannot see clearly because they have no access to eye care.It is the scandal the world forgot, with profound implications for productivity, poverty and prosperity.

Read James Chen’s letter to CEOs

He cites recent ground-breaking research published recently in The Lancet Global Health. The randomised controlled trial, sponsored by Clearly, demonstrated that providing reading glasses to tea pickers in India improved their productivity by 21.7 per cent. For those aged over 50 the increase was 31.6 per cent, representing the largest ever recorded productivity increase from any health intervention.

Based on this research, the productivity benefits of providing glasses – which cost as little as $1.50 to make – are equal to an extra day of work each week.

The study – titled PROSPER [PROductivity Study of Presbyopia Elimination in Rural-dwellers] – demonstrates to companies operating in low-to-middle-income countries that free work based sight tests and affordable glasses can provide a game-changing productivity boost and improve their workers’ quality of life.

James Chen said:

“Poor vision affects a third of the global population – and in nine out of ten cases it can be addressed with a simple pair of glasses. Employees must now take a proactive role in tackling poor vision by providing free sight tests and affordable glasses for their workers. It’s a win, win for business – improving their employees’ wellbeing and satisfaction at work, and improving their own bottom line“.

Work based vision programmes are simple and cheap to implement. In the UK, health and safety rules mean that many workers are entitled to a free eye test. This is not the case in most parts of the world.

Clearly have today launched a petition with Global Citizen to more than a hundred of the world’s largest companies, calling on them to make free sight tests for their employees a standard practice.

If you think big businesses should provide sight tests and glasses so their employees can work safely and productively, please make yourself heard by signing the petition here.


The following companies will receive the letter:
Adidas, Alcoa, Alibaba Group, Amazon, Andrade Gutierrez, Anglo American PLC, AngloGold Ashanti, Anheuser-Busch InBev, ArcelorMittal, Arvind, Associated British Foods PLC, Ayala, Bachoco, Berkshire Hathaway, Beximco, Bidvest Group, BP, BRF, British American Tobacco, Cargill, Carrefour, China Huiyuan Juice Group Limited, Chaoda Modern Agriculture, Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited, Chevron Corporation, Colgate-Palmolive, Comcast, Companhia Siderugica Nacional, Compass Group, Costa Limited, Costco, Cummins, Dangote Cement, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Diageo, DiDi Chuxing Technology Co, Edeka Zentrale, Electrobras,, Eni, Exxon Mobil, FedEx, Foxconn, Freeport-McMoRan, Gazprom, General Electric, Gerdau, Glencore, Grasim Industries, Groupe Casino, Groupe Danone, Gudang Garam, H&M Group, Heineken International, Hitachi, Home Depot, Huawei, IBM, Imperial Brands, Imperial Holdings, Inditex, Ingredion Incorporated, Intel, Japan Tobacco International, Jardine Matheson, JBS S.A, John Lewis Partnership, John Swire & Sons HK, Kerry Logistics Network Ltd, Kraft Heinz, Kroger, Levi Strauss & Co, Marriott International, McDonald’s Corporation, Meituan Dianping, Metallurgical Corporation of China, Midea Group, Morrisons, Murata Manufacturing, Newmont Mining, Nike, Norilsk Nickel, Nutrien, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Panasonic, PepsiCo, Petrobras, Pret a Manger, Procter & Gamble, Ralph Lauren Corporation, Reliance Industries, Rio Tinto, Robert Bosch GmbH, Sabesp, Sainsbury’s, Samsung Electronics, Sasol, Saudi Electricity Company, Shandong Ruyi Technology Group, Shaw Industries, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Shoprite Holdings, Siemens, Sinopec Group, Sodexo, Starbucks Corporation, Target, TATA Steel, Tesco, The Coca-Cola Company, Tommy Hilfiger Corporation, Total, Tyson Foods, Uber, Unilever Group, UPS, Usiminas, Vale, Vedanta Resources, Walmart, Waste Management Inc., Yurun Group, Zalando.

If you think we are missing any major global employers, please let us know via and we will consider sending a letter. Alternatively, if you represent a company that already offers work-based sight tests, we would love to hear about your work.