The Centre for Vision in the Developing World (UK) is working to bring “instant prescription eyewear” to millions of people in the developing world who have no access to vision correction services.
At a luncheon for nearly 200 SPIE Fellows at SPIE Photonics West in February, Joshua Silver, the organization’s CEO, discussed and demonstrated several adaptive optics technologies that could allow people to adjust their eyeglasses to correct their own refractive error.
Using electrowetting, electroactive, and fluid-filled lens technology in inexpensive eyeglass frames, people can turn a dial on the eyepiece to correct their refractive error.
Adjustable glasses can be used with all refraction techniques, including the process of self-refraction, which is particularly useful for populations where there are too few eyecare professionals to meet the needs of the people.
Silver estimates that only 10% of the population in the developing world has access to vision correction.
The techniques and clinical trials for the lenses with variable refractive power are still in their infancy, Silver said, but they are already in use by 50,000 people in 20 countries.
Silver, a physics professor at University of Oxford, became interested in adaptive optics in the mid-1980s. After considering the way our eye-brain adaptive optical system works, Silver tried the self-refraction procedure on himself, creating several adaptive lens eyeglasses and conducting research on his idea.
SPIE Fellow James Leger wears a pair of adjustable glasses.
Silver acknowledges that the adaptive lenses being used today aren’t stylish, but he expects more fashionable frames to be developed in the future.
Photonics for a Better World
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