January 12, 2009


Changing the way someone sees the world for $19.

Similar to my earlier post on the feeling of being able to breathe freely for the first time, the Seattle Times article quoted deals with the amazing difference that comes from correcting someone's vision for the first time. An atomic physicist who also taught optics at Oxford University has created "adaptive glasses" that adjust the vision prescription with more or less fluid pumped into the plastic lenses.

Silver said he wants to provide eyeglasses to more than a billion people with poor eyesight. For starters, he hopes to distribute 1 million pairs in India during the next year or so.

In the United States, Britain and other wealthy nations, 60 to 70 percent of people wear corrective glasses, Silver said. But in many developing countries, only about 5 percent have glasses because so many people, especially those in rural areas, have little or no access to eye-care professionals.

Even if they could visit an eye doctor, the cost of glasses can be more than a month's wages. This means that many schoolchildren cannot see the blackboard, bus drivers can't see clearly and others can no longer fish, teach or do other jobs because of failing vision.

"It's about education, economics and quality of life," Silver said.

The article describes the invention, the resistance from the eyewear industry, and the offer of a buyout of the technology, which he refuses because it was likely they were buying it to keep it off the market. Inspirational work.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Wonderful!! At my last job we had a donations fund for programs like this. Need to start one at this job! Thanks for sharing!