Alina Vision is a social enterprise set to advance global eye health equality through a network of more than 60 eye surgery centres in some of the world's most under-served communities.
The social enterprise launches as the result of a global collaboration between international development organisation, The Fred Hollows Foundation, leading social entrepreneurs David Green and Ben Midberry, and Japanese pharmaceutical company ROHTO.
Alina Vision will deliver high-quality, accessible and sustainable eye care for people of all income levels, actively reaching out to those excluded from mainstream healthcare systems, particularly low-income people and women.
36 million people are needlessly blind... we can shift the tide.
- Ben Midberry, Alina Vision MD
The first Alina Vision eye care centre is set to open in Vietnam this year, with centres also planned for a range of other countries including India, Indonesia and China.
Centres will be led by outstanding local medical professionals and will treat the main causes of preventable or treatable blindness, in particular cataract.
Cataract is the leading cause of avoidable blindness worldwide, affecting more than 25 per cent of those who are blind or vision impaired.
Affordable eye care uses compassion and capitalism...
- David Green, Alina Vision co-founder
"Most people who are blind or have visual impairment have cataract or lack eye glasses, both of which Alina Vision can easily and affordably treat with high quality results," said David Green, a co-founder and leading social entrepreneur who has developed many sustainable programs to make eye care accessible to the poor.
"Affordable eye care uses compassion and the tools of capitalism – finance, lean operations, intellectual property, human resource development and training – in a model that is scalable for addressing eye care needs for all members of society.
"Through the Alina Vision eye care centres we hope to deliver sight to more than 400,000 people each year."
We’re facing a global blindness crisis...
- Ben Midberry
In the 10 years from 2018 to 2027, the network is projected to deliver a total of more than 1.1 million cataract surgeries, including at least 240,000 for free, as well as more than 2.2 million other procedures and pairs of glasses.
"Today, 36 million people are needlessly blind and in the future we’re facing a global blindness crisis due to the ageing population and rising incidence of chronic diseases.
"We can shift the tide by blending philanthropy, to address barriers to growth, and private capital, to fund scale," said Ben Midberry, co-founder and Managing Director of Alina Vision.
Alina Vision is backed by international development organisation, The Fred Hollows Foundation, which as a co-founder and major shareholder, is diversifying its traditional role as a grant funder to become a strategic impact investor.
"Investing in Alina Vision allows The Foundation to increase our coverage, accelerate and increase the momentum of our services and, therefore, reach out to more communities around the world who are under-serviced or not serviced at all," said Kirsten Armstrong, Director of Knowledge & Innovation at The Fred Hollows Foundation.
"Not only does Alina Vision reflect our mission to end avoidable blindness, but also our strategy and the approach of our co-founder, the late Australian ophthalmologist and humanitarian, Professor Fred Hollows, who challenged traditional wisdom and found ways to make high quality eye care available to people in the poorest parts of the world."
We aim to share the 'joy of seeing'
- Kunio Yamada, ROHTO CEO
Internationally-recognised pharmaceutical company ROHTO, is the first private sector investor in the social enterprise.
ROHTO has been distributing over-the-counter eye drops for more than 100 years and its range of products is distributed in more than 110 countries, recently broadening its focus to include cosmetics, food and agriculture, as well as sustainable systems that have a positive impact on society.
"As a leading company in the eye care industry we aim to share the 'joy of seeing,'" said Mr Kunio Yamada, Chairman and CEO of ROHTO Pharmaceutical.
"We have already implemented ophthalmic support in Asia and Africa, however, in reality, curable cataract remains the primary cause of blindness in most countries.
"Alina Vision could significantly expand 'the affordable eye care model' with more speed and coverage to eliminate preventable blindness, and we are pleased to extend our support of people in need through this social enterprise.
"Rohto Pharmaceutical wants to get involved with Alina Vision not by making donations, but through investments so that we can participate in the company's development and spread this sustainable business model worldwide to provide high-quality eye-care to everyone."
Make high quality eye care available to the poorest parts of the world.
- Kirsten Armstrong, The Fred Hollows Foundation
It is expected that nine Alina Vision surgery centres will be opened in the next three years, laying the foundation for scaled growth in the second phase of expansion, which will see up to 10 new surgery centres opened annually.
Last year Alina Vision was awarded a Design Funding grant from Convergence to design its global and subsidiary entities. Convergence is the global network for blended finance, generating blended finance data, intelligence, and deal flow to increase private sector investment in developing countries.
The name 'Alina' means 'bearer of the light'; with origins in ancient Greece, 'Alina' has been adopted around in the world by various cultures from Europe to South Asia and reflects the social enterprise’s mission to ensure everyone has equal access to sight.
For more visit the Alina Vision website.