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Professor creates DIY liquid glasses that do not need an optician

By Chris V. Thangham     Dec 22, 2008 in Environment
A scientist had a chance conversation with a colleague in 1985 to provide eyesight for the world’s poor that has led to his discovery of liquid optical lenses. The $1 special glasses don’t require an optician to fit the wearer’s needs.
Joshua Silver, a professor of physics at Oxford University was discussing optical lenses with a colleague in 1985, whether glasses can be adjusted without any special equipment. Since that day he has been working to create such glasses so that he can provide the glasses for the world’s poor cheaply and they can wear them without opticians.
After two decades later, Silver designed a pair of glasses with plastic lenses and inside the lens is two clear circular sacs filled with fluid. Each of the sacs is connected to a small syringe connected to either arm of the glasses. Depending on the power necessary, the wearer adjusts the dial in the syringe and fills the fluid in the sac giving him or her correct power of the lens. Once the right power is achieved the dial is set tight at that position and the syringe is then removed.
With this novel optical glass, the wearer can do the correction themselves without the need of sophisticated eye equipment or opticians. This will come in handy in rural regions and in developing countries.
He wants to offer the new glasses to a billion people by the year 2020. Silver has already distributed 30,000 pairs of eye glasses in 15 countries. Next year, he plans to launch this project in India and distribute at least 1 million pairs of glasses. And he plans to expand to other countries with 100 million pairs of glasses annually.
Silver narrates a story that shows an immense future potential for these glasses. He met a man in Ghana, Henry Adjei-Mensah who was on the brink of retirement from his tailoring profession after his eyes deteriorated. He was only 35 years old. But thanks to Silver, he was fitted with the novel eye glass and was able to see properly and is now working again.
One Christian charity organization bought a number of glasses and distributed it to the power.
Silver plans to work Mehmood Khan, an Indian businessman whose family trust helps people in 500 villages. And together they plan to distribute more than 1 million pairs of eye glasses to the poor.
Josh Silver currently faces obstacles with his project, the eye glasses currently are bulky. He plans to incorporate new designs to make them thinner. Also, he is trying to reduce the overall costs to $1 dollar a pair, which is difficult now with existing technologies but hopefully he plans to achieve it in the near future.
Josh Silver told Guardian:
"Things are never simple. But I will solve this problem if I can. And I won't really let people stand in my way."
You can buy the glasses in volume in Adaptive Eyecare's website.
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