Not a member yet? Register for full benefits!

Bringing Eyecare to those without Optometrists

Photo Credit: The Guardian

How do you care for the sight of people in the developing world, or below the poverty line in the developed world? Those who cannot afford to see an optician, and those for whom the nearest optician might be 2,000 miles away? Sometimes the best solution is not the most complex.

In an effort to raise health standards, an An Oxford University physics professor Dr. J D Silver has developed glasses that can be manually altered by the wearer in real-time to provide the best degree of focussing for that patient. No optician necessary, just a courier to deliver them.

Dr. J D Silver has developed water filled glasses that have a variable optical strength thanks to a small pump dial. The water itself, thus forms the lens. Higher water pressure inside the glasses, alters the lenses towards convex, and lower water pressure turns them concave. They range from +6 to -6 Dioptres, and the optical quality is similar to that of the typical human eye.

With this range, they can help over 90% of corrective vision problems. As the eye deteriorates over time, the lenses can be readjusted time and again, to find the optimal setting. To prevent accidental readjustment, the section of the glasses containing the adjustment knobs, and reserve water tank, is removed once a good setting is found.

Having taken two years to develop from a chance idea into a working device, Dr Silver has already been able to manufacture 30,000 pairs via his company, Adaptive Eyecare. The target is one hundred million pairs per year.

"The reaction is universal," says Major Kevin White, formerly of the US military's humanitarian programme, who organised the distribution of thousands of pairs around the world after discovering Silver's glasses on Google. "People put them on, and smile. They all say, 'Look, I can read those tiny little letters.'"


Inventor's 2020 vision: to help 1bn of the world's poorest see better

Adaptive Eyecare

Water Power in Developing World to Cure Poor Eyesight

Staff Comments


Untitled Document .