Cheap Solutions for Big Problems

By Amelia Hennighausen - 2012-03-29T08:08:26Z

Photograph by Elizabeth Lippman; Styling by Brent Murray

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Adspecs Adjustable Eyeglasses

Centre for Vision in the Developing World
Cost: $19

More than 670 million people lack access to corrective lenses. Untreated vision problems reduce productivity, decrease income, worsen overall health and sometimes lead to preventable blindness. The World Health Organization has predicted that refractive error, the technical term for poor vision, will rise into the top 10 global health issues that affect productivity and opportunities by 2030 -- surpassing AIDS. Many developing nations, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, have more than a million people for every optometrist.

Adspecs lenses aren't solid glass or plastic. Instead, they are fluid-filled reservoirs encased in flexible plastic membranes. Syringes on each side of the lens pump liquid into or out of the reservoir, tailoring the level of correction to each patient's eyes. Over 40,000 Adspecs have been distributed worldwide and the organization plans to distribute 50,000 of them to children 12 to 18 years old.

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