Eyeglasses for the Masses
Posted by shadmia on December 23, 2008
Joshua D. Silver, a retired Oxford University physics professor, has designed eyeglasses that hold promise for a billion people in the Third World. His idea was driven by the fact that in many parts of the world opticians are in short supply and most poor people, especially in developing countries, could not afford their services anyway. His adjustable spectacles can be tailored quickly and easily by each person to suit their individual needs.
Working on the principle that thicker lenses are more powerful than thin ones, Prof Silver’s spectacles can be adjusted by injecting tiny quantities of fluid. The tough plastic glasses have thin sacs of liquid in the center of each lens. They come with small syringes attached to each arm with a dial for the wearer to add or remove fluid from the lens. Once the lenses have been adjusted, the syringes are removed and the spectacles worn just like a prescription pair.
This invention will enable millions of people who do not have access to eye care professionals to have eyeglasses for the first time. They will work for both far-sighted and near-sighted people. A trial project, supported by his company, Adaptive Eyecare, and the Department for International Development, has already seen thousands of pairs distributed in Third World countries. Prof. Silver has now set his sights on India. He plans to distribute more than one million pairs a year in that country, with the eventual goal of reaching one billion people, worldwide, by the year 2020. See a short video presentation of his invention here.
Hear a presentation sponsored by The Conversations Network of Prof Joshua Silver as he describes how he developed his liquid-filled corrective lenses and his plans for the future. Click the arrow below.