Raising Public Awareness of Visual Impairments

With the aim of building society that is inclusive regardless of visual impairment, Santen proactively conducts activities to raise public awareness of visual impairments.

Program for Children

Santen has begun collaboration with Houkago NPO Afterschool, a Japanese nonprofit organization, to develop and implement a program for elementary school children to understand visual impairments. With Santen visually impaired employees serving as instructors, the programs aim to increase children’s knowledge on eyes, and teach them about visual impairments so that they will be ready to help people with such impairments in their everyday lives. Considering of COVID-19 pandemic, this program has been prepared an online and an in-person version.

Children learn a lot from this program. One of the participants said “I got a better understanding of how visually impaired people feel. I will take good care of my eyes.” (Second-year elementary school student) The other said “I have learned that it is often very difficult for visual impaired people to understand what is going on around them. From now on, I will not leave things on tactile paving areas.” (Fourth-year elementary school student)

A child walking on tactile paving while using a white cane and trying to feel the paving stones using the soles of her feet

Supporting Guide Dog Training

Donation and raising awareness for guide dog training (in Japan)

In Japan, approximately 1,000 guide dogs are at work throughout the country. However, it is estimated that at least 3,000 people are in need of a guide dog, and use of guide dogs has not yet spread under the current conditions. Since 2013, Santen has continuously made donations to fund guide dog training, resulting in eight trained guide dogs. Additionally, vending machines are installed at our four operational sites, and part of the sales from the machines are donated for guide dog training.

Sharing knowledge about guide dog training

Donation and supporting a guide dog school (in the US)

Santen Inc. in the United States provides continuous donate and support for “Guide Dogs for the Blind”, an industry-leading guide dog school dedicated to serving people who are blind or have low vision from throughout the United States and Canada. In 2020, this support was temporarily suspended due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A guide dog raised at the Guide Dogs for the Blind

Participating in Events Held by Support Organizations for the Visually Impaired

Santen participates in volunteer as guide for the visually impaired at events such as exhibition of daily necessities for the visually impaired, festivals and sports day held by support organizations for the visually impaired to foster an awareness of patient perspectives in employees. In FY2020, the event was canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic, and employee participation was temporarily postponed, but we plan to continue those initiatives.

Contributing to Society through Awareness-Raising Activities

Enlightenment about the importance and necessity of correct understanding of visual impairment

In Europe, Santen EMEA has launched a new podcast, All Eyes On, in collaboration with internal and external experts to explore key issues related to ophthalmology, vision and total wellbeing. All Eyes On marks European Diversity Month (May 2021) as a representative of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), a Santen colleague who has retinitis pigmentosa and Santen EMEA's Vice President of Human Resources come together to discuss the need for better diversity and inclusion.

Participating in activities to enhance public understanding and knowledge of tactile paving

In Japan, awareness-raising activities are conducted nationwide every year on March 18, designated as the “day of tactile paving,” to promote understanding of the importance of tactile paving for visually impaired persons when walking. Santen’s employees from operational site in Noto participate in these activities. In 2020, we declined to participate due to the impact of COVID-19 infections. In 2021, we educated our employees and their families. We will continue to participate in these activities.

Employees participating in an activity to enhance public understanding about tactile paving
Pocket tissue that was used for enlightenment "Travel bag is preventing me from walking"