In the United States, companies like Walmart have helped lower the cost for eye care. So, what about places like Africa? According to, Joshua Silver and The World Bank are collaborating to bring self-adjustable eyeglasses to 200 million children in developing countries.

Silver says more than a billion adults in developing nations have poor eyesight, which limits their education and employment prospects.

What Silver created was ingenious and, like many great inventions, amazingly simple – low-cost glasses that can be tuned by the wearer.

His spectacles have “adaptive lenses”, which consist of two thin membranes separated by silicone gel. The wearer looks at an eye chart and pumps in more or less fluid to change the curvature of the lens, which adjusts the prescription.

“It is incredibly easy. You don’t need an optician, just a little bit of basic instruction,” said Silver.

“Glasses like these are perfect for use in the Third World. We can send them to schools where teachers can direct pupils to set their spectacles to suit each one’s vision.”

Photo by Nadya Peek

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