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Blog: Clearly Vision Prizes to End Poor Vision Awarded

Clearly World

Press Release from Clearly

THURSDAY 13 OCTOBER [WORLD SIGHT DAY] LONDON: On World Sight Day, Vula Mobile, a healthcare app, has won a global hunt for the best innovations to help the whole world see, receiving a share of a $250,000 USD prize.

A revolutionary app connecting primary healthcare workers in remote areas with on-call specialists has been awarded the inaugural Clearly Vision Prize, a competition to accelerate the ventures tackling the number one unaddressed disability in the world – poor vision.

Clearly Vision Prize

Vula Mobile has been awarded a share of $250,000 in prize funding, for demonstrating the potential of its solution to help the 2.5 billion people around the world suffering from poor vision, without a means of improving it.

At a private event held in London, Sir Mark Walport, the Government Chief Scientific Advisor, crowned Vula Mobile as winner, alongside four other highly commended ventures, ranging from open-source eye-screening tools and education initiatives to emergency and last-mile transport.

  • First Place, awarded $100,000 in funding: Vula Mobile, an app connecting primary healthcare workers in remote areas with on-call specialists, enabling primary health workers to do basic eye tests.
  • Second Place, awarded $50,000 in funding: Folding Phoropter, a business developing a cost-effective eye-screening device. Built using origami, the simple, open-source and disposable device is easy to use.
  • Third Place, awarded $25,000 in funding: Essmart, a last-mile distribution company delivering affordable reading glasses to local shops across India, supported by educational tools and materials.

In addition, two runner up prizes of $10,000 were awarded to:

  • Maza Transport, a venture that has developed a transport network of affordable leased vehicles, providing urgent transport to remote rural communities.
  • Smart Focus, a high-growth healthcare company providing low-cost eye exams and eye glasses to millions in China, with a focus on rural, school-age and underserved populations.

Dr. Andrew Bastrawrous, Founder of Peek, was also awarded the Clearly Lifetime Achievement Award, to recognise unparalleled achievement in tackling the global problem of poor vision. Peek has innovated groundbreaking technology helping to detect cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetes and glaucoma.

The Clearly Vision Prize is part of a unique and innovative campaign called Clearly, being spearheaded by James Chen, a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur and venture philanthropist. With one in three people globally lacking access to eye care, Clearly seeks to address the challenges brought about by poor vision and accelerate a revolution in eye care.

James Chen, Founder of Clearly, commented: “I would like to congratulate the winner, Vula Mobile, and finalists of the Clearly Vision Prize. Each of these brilliant breakthrough innovations have the potential to revolutionise how we detect, deliver and supply eye care across the world. They help bring us closer to the Clearly campaign’s mission: to help the whole world see within the next 20 years. In this era of electrifying progress, the world has the talent, technology and capability to ensure everyone can see clearly. It can and must be done. I am looking forward to working with all involved in the Clearly Vision Prize final to transform the lives of millions of people.”

Sir Mark Walport, Government Chief Scientific Advisor, commented: “The problem of poor vision has gone unnoticed for too long – it’s astounding that 700 years after glasses were first invented there are still 2.5 billion people across the world without access to something as simple as eye screening or a pair of glasses. The Clearly campaign, and the finalists we have awarded tonight, have the potential to solve that global problem.”

Dr. William Mapham, Founder of Vula Mobile, winner of the Clearly Vision Prize, commented: “I am truly honoured to receive the inaugural Clearly Vision Prize, and be part of this incredible campaign. Poor vision costs the global economy $3tn a year, limits access to education, slows productivity and hinders our personal development and growth. It’s high time we work together to make sure the whole world can see Clearly.”

Brian Doolan, CEO, Fred Hollows Foundation, commented: “Today, it’s clear that we have in our hands all we need to end avoidable blindness and poor vision. Clearly is not just a campaign to help ensure good sight – it’s a revolution. It is challenging us all to wake up and catch up. Clearly reminds us that this is the twenty-first century, not the dark ages. Never again should anyone have to suffer avoidable blindness or poor vision.”

James Chen will award a further nine ‘Innovation Awards’ of $5,000 to ventures demonstrating particular potential, as well as a Lifetime Achievement award of $10,000.

Read about: Vula Mobile – Opening Eyes to Mobile Health

Image courtesy: Clearly World

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