Glasses make smart pluckers
Guwahati: A first-ever study showing a link between good sight and work performance has found that productivity of tea garden workers in Assam has improved after wearing glasses.
The study was carried out last year in three tea estates, Kellyden, Nonoi, and Sagmootea, owned by Amalgamated Plantations Private Ltd, and has been published in the current issue of Lancet Global Health.
The study said randomised trial on the effect of providing glasses to correct presbyopia (long sightedness) among 751 tea workers, aged 40 years or older in India, has shown that the provision of glasses improved their productivity by 21.7 per cent and for those aged over 50, the increase was 31.6 per cent.
The Prosper Productivity Study of Presbyopia Elimination in Rural-dwellers trial, is the first randomised controlled study to show a link between good sight and work performance. Presbyopia was common (more than 50 per cent) among workers aged 40.
The research was carried out in collaboration with VisionSpring, a social enterprise dedicated to providing affordable glasses across the world, and Orbis, a global organisation that fights avoidable blindness worldwide.
Experts said quality plucking is a skilled process and it requires good hand and eye coordination, dexterity, accuracy, focus, and speed.
The number of affected individuals globally exceeds 1 billion, making presbyopia the world's most common cause of vision impairment. "However, to the best of our knowledge, there are no published trials examining whether correcting presbyopia with glasses improves work productivity," the study said.
"Our study adds to the evidence that correction of even modest presbyopia, which is common at the age of 40 years or older, can significantly improve work productivity at low cost in a visually-demanding labour setting. This intervention can be sustained by workers themselves as 95 per cent of workers in this study said they would pay for glasses," it said.
The study showed that the daily weight of tea picked by those given glasses increased by over 5kg, which translated directly into increased income for the tea-pickers and their families. The protocol was approved by the ethics committees at Lions National Association of the Blind Eye Hospital (Miraj, India) and Queen's University Belfast. "Delivery of glasses to older workers could be a scalable and sustainable strategy for poverty alleviation. Our intervention was inexpensive and it could potentially be sustained by employers benefiting from productivity increases, or by workers themselves," it said.
Source - https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north-east/glasses-make-smart-pluckers-248128