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Looking into your eyes


The starting point for this project is to ensure that everyone enjoys good vision, as this is fundamental for proper physical and educational development, especially in boys and girls. Today we find many families with school-aged children who do not have access to an eye exam. In many cases, this exam can mean preventing academic failure and improving children’s quality of life.

Currently one in seven people in the world does not have access to vision care, whether due to lack of access to a medical facility or for economic reasons.

At the end of May, we started the first exams for boys and girls invited by the neighbourhood centres known as the Centros Abiertos de Cataluña. It all got started in the town of Viladecans and the Raval neighbourhood of Barcelona.

The exams were conducted by a team of students and lecturers from the optics/optometry faculty of the University of Terrassa, volunteer opticians from Viladecans and the Raval, and volunteers from Etnia Barcelona. In Viladecans, 56 boys and girls aged 5–16 were examined, and 20 cases of vision problems were detected, with the children being furnished with prescription glasses at no charge whatsoever. And at the AEI Raval centre, 72 boys and girls were examined, turning up a total of 30 cases.

Objective of the project:  The objective of the Centros Abiertos de Cataluña Project is to improve the vision of school-aged boys and girls who for various reasons do not have access to care.
The project got underway on May 27th in neighbourhoods all over Catalonia where these needs exist.
The target is to examine more than 500 boys and girls in neighbourhood centres in Catalonia.

Centros abiertos de Cataluña:  To understand this project, we have to start with the concept of the Centro Abierto. This is an after-school centre that offers support and stimulates and fosters structure, personality development, socialisation, basic skills acquisition, recreation, and which compensates for the children’s social-educational deficits through individualised and group work, the family, and network-based and community work.
One of the most important objectives of these centres is to tend to all at-risk minors, encouraging their personal development, social integration, and the acquisition of skills in order to prevent and avoid deterioration of risk situations and compensate for social-educational deficits.

Participants:  In order to implement this project, we joined forces with two other major institutions with broad experience in the optical sector. The first, Essilor Vision for Life, is a philanthropic programme that seeks to drive initiatives to reduce vision problems through awareness, training, and the creation of basic infrastructures for vision care. This programme is developed by ESSILOR as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility policy. It should be noted that the mission of ESSILOR is to ‘Improve Lives by Improving Vision’. And the second, University Vision Centre of Terrassa, is the clinic of the optics and optometry faculty of at the University of Terrassa. Its mission: To become a benchmark centre in quality vision care by pursuing academic excellence in its core activities : teaching and research. One of its objectives is community outreach to increase the visibility of the university’s social role in society.

This has allowed us to join forces to achieve a common objective.