Magazine article New Internationalist

A Simple Vision Leads to Better Sight

Magazine article New Internationalist

A Simple Vision Leads to Better Sight

Article excerpt

Ten years after the world's first self-adjustable liquid-filled glasses were launched, a new generation of the spectacles is set to bring universal glasses to die developing world.

The brainchild of Professor Josh Silver, a professor of physics at the University of Oxford, the 'Adspecs' concept was simple: a liquid-filled pair of glasses which could easily be adjusted, without the need for an optometrist.

That initial brainwave came in 1985 and Adspecs launched in their current form six years later. Over 40,000 pairs have now been distributed across the developing world via adult literacy programmes, the US military humanitarian programme and many other smaller NGOs.

The World Health Organization estimates that 670 million people worldwide are now living without the glasses they need. Poor vision costs the global economy up to $400 billion annually and is a barrier to education, literacy and productivity.

Britain has one optometrist for 8,400 people, while in parts of sub-Saharan Africa the ratio is as low as one for every million people. Professor Silver's vision was simple: self-adjustable glasses would allow any wearer to adjust them to optimize their own sight. Studies have shown that self-refraction or self-adjustment is effective and reliable among all age groups - over 95 per cent of adolescents can correct their own vision to a high standard.

As director of the Oxford-based Centre for Vision in the Developing World, Professor Silver now works closely with Eyejusters. …

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