There are over 150 million people in the world with poor eyesight and being able to see is essential for daily life. In many cases nothing more than a suitable pair of glasses are needed to give people their whole vision back with huge positive effects: It enables them to have access to education and jobs, for example. So far the easiest way to distribute glasses to people in developing countries has been to recycle old ones. But it is not easy to fit them to individuals and the specialized knowledge, machines and electrical power are often lacking locally.
Martin Aufmuth (Germany), who founded the OneDollarGlasses Association, has developed a special technology to manufacture eyewear consisting of a single metal wire, two lenses and two little colored glass beads which create a unique personal touch. A special machine, which works without electricity, enables the manufacturer to bend and grind the wire in any way and to fit it to the different shapes of heads, noses and eyes.
The name of this Association is not only a word: One pair of glasses costs about one to two dollars. This means that people in developing countries who have to get by on one dollar a day have the opportunity to obtain these glasses. It is also a way to make eyewear more well-known as in many regions people have never seen glasses in their lives. Furthermore, the project creates jobs and gives new future prospects to those who used to be unemployed: All components of these glasses can be changed and repaired locally and every single pair of glasses is made by hand in about 15 minutes. The easy technology allows locals to produce the glasses on their own after a short introduction on the machines and devices – even as work which can potentially be done at home.
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