The OneDollarGlasses are manufactured on bending machines specially designed for this purpose. The spectacle frames consist of a lightweight and flexible frame made of extremely robust, rustproof and hypoallergenic spring steel wire (1 mm). The frames are manufactured by hand on a bending device which does not need a power supply. Different physiognomies can be taken into account individually when bending the frame. The elliptical polished, unbreakable lenses can be inserted in no time. Heat-shrinkable sleeves made of hypoallergenic plastic on the ear piece ends increase the wearing comfort of the glasses. Because the glasses have very little weight, they do not require nosebridges. Two coloured glass pearls give each pair of glasses its own personal design.
Figures from the WHO show that around 150 million people in the world suffer from defective eyesight which could be rectified with a simple seeing aid. Many of these people live on a very small budget which prevents them from buying a conventional pair of glasses. This has serious consequences for them: Their poor vision prohibits people from working or pursuing vocational training – the loss to national income worldwide that occurs due to this issue, is estimated to be around 120 billion dollars per year.
Until now, people in developing and emerging countries have mainly helped themselves by recycling old glasses – but they are difficult to recondition and adjust. Additionally, there is often a lack of local knowledge and technical equipment. Another economic alternative could be glasses from China. However, these have not reached a sufficient distribution so far, because costs are still too high (due to shipping in regions off the major trade routes) and appropriate distribution structures are missing.
The glasses are also affordable for very poor people due to the low production costs. The correction of defective eyesight is an important prerequisite in order to, for example, be able to pursue gainful employment. The attractive design also helps to give people the confidence to wear the glasses in public - often being the first in their village to do so. The production can be done locally by spectacle manufacturers who have to attend a 14-day intensive training courses on the equipment. These craftsmen work independently and on their own responsibility. The production of the glasses can take place at home, so that especially women can work and take care of their children at the same time.
A production unit includes all equipment and tools necessary for the production of the glasses. It can be awarded in the form of a loan to a group of 4 or 5 persons who in addition to funding the on-going costs for materials also repay the loan from the production and the sale of the glasses. After two to three years, the production unit becomes the property of the group. The area covered by a production unit can be increased considerably if mobile opticians use motorbikes to regularly visit the people in the villages.
Material: Spring steel wire (1 mm), plastic lenses, heat-shrinkable sleeves, pearls
Material costs: Approx. 1.00 US dollar per pair of glasses (including wire, heat-shrinkable sleeve and lenses)
Production unit costs (bending device): Approx. 2,400 euros (including starting material for approx. 1,000 glasses)
Required training: 2 weeks
Time required for production 1 pair of glasses: 15 minutes
Production capacity of a unit (with trained workers): Approx. 600 glasses per month/producer
Energy requirement: none
Maintenance: Not necessary
OneDollarGlasses - Winner of the "empowering people. Award"
Africa: Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Ethiopia, Benin
Latin America: Bolivia, Nicaragua, Brasil
Organization: EinDollarBrille e.V. - Germany
Contact: Martin Aufmuth
Used by: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Benin, Malawi, Bolivia, Brasil, Mexico