Impact Stories

How a polio survivor is helping to improve the vision of rural China

2 people wearing glasses
Published on Mar 28, 2022

Diagnosed with polio at a young age, Sun Fudong had to rely on leg braces and crutches to help him walk. Living with this disability meant he was always facing limitations with what he could do, and what opportunities were available to him. But it also made him more sensitive to the needs of people living with disabilities like uncorrected poor vision, which impacts over 600 million people in China.

Sun’s first foray into the optical world began in 1996, where he earned a modest living as a street vendor selling reading glasses and sunglasses, as well as repairing clocks and other trinkets. He taught himself how to conduct basic refraction tests, but with virtually no professional experience under his belt, Sun faced an uphill battle running his business.

Customer preference for professionally trained vision care providers led to years of sluggish sales. Sun was barely able to make ends meet with average sales of about two pairs of optical glasses each month. It wasn’t until more than a decade later when his fortune would start to change.

“A chance meeting with a 2.5 New Vision Generation (2.5 NVG) representative in 2019 opened up a new world of opportunities for me. After learning about my situation, he shared with me the benefits of joining the 2.5 NVG Eye Partner program, such as the opportunity to learn professional skills and having access to affordable quality eyeglasses to improve my business,” shared Sun.

Sun sent his son to attend vocational training courses organized by 2.5 NVG as well as knowledge exchange events held in Fuyang and Nanking, where he met other like-minded Eye Partners. In addition to training, 2.5 NVG extended branding and marketing support to Sun’s business.

Today, Sun runs a successful vision care business in Yingdong District, Fuyang City (Anhui province) together with his family. He recalls vividly how he was able to help a young girl suffering from myopia by convincing her grandmother to allow her to wear eyeglasses.

someone buying glasses

“The grandmother thought that wearing eyeglasses would cause myopia to worsen. To address her concerns and give her peace of mind, I even offered to provide her a full refund if her granddaughter’s situation did not improve after wearing eyeglasses for a month. Shortly after, she returned with the young girl to thank me, saying that the glasses made a huge difference to her granddaughter’s quality of life,” shared Sun.

EssilorLuxottica’s inclusive business - 2.5 New Vision Generation or 2.5 NVG - is creating access to vision care where it didn’t exist before by developing and strengthening vision care infrastructure in underserved regions around the world.

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