Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Opting Out" Of Optometrists

Sometime in early 2005 (January to March), I happened to stumble upon an extremely interesting technology: "adjustable prescription eyeglasses" -- with no eye appointment necessary!

At the time, I worked for a small medical sales, service, and supply company here in south Florida. I've since left that career path, but back then I was "up" on most of the new medical equipment, and tried to keep myself well informed. Medical advances still intrigue me, so I occasionally browse major technological advances in the field. Every once in awhile (like this past week) I still stumble on articles about the creator of these money-saving spectacles. His original site, hasn't been operative since July of 2007, but you can still read through it at the Internet Archive.

The inventor, Professor Joshua D. Silver, runs the EBIT Group in the physics department at Oxford University.

The concept behind the glasses is fairly basic: the wearer can "tune" each lens (independently) to the exact prescription needed (+/-6 diopters max) and then "lock" that prescription into the glasses by tightening a screw to seal the lenses. With that, Presto! You have the correct prescription -- for your eyes! Of course, that is without the exam fee, the doctor's fee, the extra cost for designer frames (these are ugly, but effective), and without wasting time waiting for the production of new designer glasses.

The only drawback to these adjustable prescription glasses: they're still in "concept" phase, so they haven't become cheap enough (yet) to distribute widely. (Over 30,000 pair have already been donated to the poor.)

Professor Silver's goal for this year is to be able to produce a pair of glasses for around $1 -- and then he'd like to distribute one million of them throughout India.

His long term goal:
Distributing one billion glasses to the poor and needy of the entire world!

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