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Essilor competition targets vision-care innovation

The See Change Challenge is a competition to uncover what the company describes as “low-cost, easy-to-use and scalable solutions that can be used by primary vision-care providers in underserved areas to accurately measure eye refractive errors”.“Innovation has always been a cornerstone of our mission to improve lives by improving sight and we are widening our field of exploration to ensure we meet the vision needs of the 7.2 billion people in the world,” Mr Hubert Sagnieres, chairman and chief executive officer at Essilor International, said.“We are excited to use the open innovation model to discover new solutions that have the potential to transform the lives and economic futures of low-income populations through improved access to vision care.”Essilor is appealing to vision scientists, optometrists, start-ups, universities, app developers, engineers and individuals and organisations with an interest in contributing their multi-disciplinary expertise to developing innovative refraction solutions, which the company indicated could have profound implications for individuals as well as society.“Of the 4.5 billion people who need vision correction, only 1.9 billion actually correct their eyesight,” an Essilor statent noted. “Over 2.5 billion people still live with uncorrected poor vision and its social and economic consequences. Ninety-five per cent of th live in developing countries where they lack awareness of the impact of poor vision and access to basic vision-care solutions.”It was said that the solutions from the competition would speed up the delivery of vision care in underserved regions by enabling more people to be easily trained to become primary eye-care workers.Successful proposals may include pure software solutions, software solutions based on consumer devices such as smartphones, or pure hardware devices.Up to five winners of the first phase of the challenge will each earn euro 25,000 (AU$37,024) in cash, and will have the opportunity to enter the second phase of the challenge, where there will be an additional amount of euro 100,000 (AU$140,080) in cash for up to two final winners.Essilor added that it would potentially support the final winners with development contracts to help th to build and scale up their solution.The See Change Challenge submission deadline is 21 October.