Chapters
Annual Report 2018

The world around us

Eye care is a basic need for all, and as a leading global optical retailer we aim to play an important role in ensuring that an increasing number of people globally have access to it. We do this by adapting and aligning our business strategy and CSR Ambition to the changing needs of the world in which we operate as it continues to be shaped by major social developments and the impact of digital innovation.

A growing and ageing population

It is estimated that approximately 1.2 billion people around the world live with some form of vision impairment, very often because they do not have access to the right eye care, even though 80% of all vision related issues are considered avoidable. As populations continue to expand, so does the need for eye care. Ageing is one of the most significant global demographic factors impacting eye care as the need for vision correction increases and becomes more complex as a person grows older. Elderly people are more prone to visual disorders and have greater requirements for vision correction and more complex eye care solutions.

In 2018, around one-third of the global population was above the age of 45, which is the average onset age of presbyopia (long-sightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye). This proportion is expected to increase in the coming years.

Urbanization and expanding middle class

Increasing urbanization and the expansion of middle classes in fast-developing markets, particularly in Latin America and Asia, are transforming the economy and

local eye health requirements. The migration from an agricultural, rural-based existence to one in which production occurs in cities and jobs are increasingly taking place in offices, brings new literacy and health requirements and trends. Furthermore, employees and customers are demanding more regulations and good governance, fair and equal opportunities, and are paying more attention to leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

The impact of digitalization on eye health

Aside from the positive effects of technology on our lives, digitalization has also had a negative impact on our health.

One of these is the harm that screen time has on our eyes. Smart phones and tablets are now known to have more serious effects on our health than previously thought. These include declining eye health, tension, neck and back ache and headaches, particularly among children and teenagers [see case study: Smartphones can be toxic to children's eye health]. We therefore strongly believe in prevention through education and regular eye checks.