Budget spectacles for the third world

Budget spectacles for the third world

Efforts are underway to distribute self-adjustable spectacles – which let untrained wearers set the correct focus themselves in under a minute – to some of the world"s poorest people, reports the New York Times.

A recent study published by the World Health Organisation estimated that $269 billion (£168 billion) is lost each year by people not having their vision corrected.

Three organisations – British-owned AdSpecs and Dutch-owned companies Focus on Vision and U-Specs – are now offering their own versions of the spectacles which could improve up to two billion people"s lives.

Now that this step forward has been achieved, the biggest problem for organisations will be to distribute the spectacles.

Sjoerd Hannema, who formally led the U-Specs project, told the news provider: "It will be around one to two dollars, depending on the quantity. If you make a million glasses, then automatically your cost price goes down dramatically. But then the challenge is where are you going to bring those glasses? Ultimately the cost of distribution is what matters."

A number of charities such as the Kenya Union of the Blind, Computer Aid International and SOS Children"s Villages have recently stepped in to help some of the world"s poorest visually impaired people.

by Adrian Galbreth

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