Adspecs: Self-Adjusting Eyeglass Lenses Bring Eye Care To 3rd World

These ad specs have nothing to do with the size of an ad you are placing with Google.  These Adspecs are self-adjusting lenses that an Oxford University physics professor, Josh Silver, invented to bring sight to millions of people in the third world, where there are few eye care professionals to meet the needs of those with refractive vision problems.


Adspecs: ©Center for Vision in the Developing WorldAdspecs: ©Center for Vision in the Developing World



Refraction of the eye is the most common cause of vision problems. Refractive errors like nearsightedness are caused by a bending of light rays to a point in front of the retina, hence causing blurred vision when focusing on a sight in the distance.  In farsightedness, our lens bends incoming light rays so they reach beyond the retina, causing an inability to see clearly at close distances.  If you have an irregularly shaped lens, called an astigmatism, it is difficult to obtain clarity either near or far without correction.

Professor Silver's Adspecs can not correct astigmatism, but they allow visually-impaired persons to correct their own nearsightedness and farsightedness. Volunteers help poor people who need glasses to fit themselves, like Kopernik fits poor persons in Indonesia.  Here's how they do it...




Adspecs use fluid-filled lens technology.  The lenses in the Adspecs are made with two flexible membranes that are held in place by the eyeglass frames.  There are pumps filled with fluid attached to both sides of the frame, each one responsible for adjusting the corresponding lense. 

The fluid between the two membranes can be pumped out or pumped in.  If  the fluid is pumped out, the two membranes bow inward creating a lense suitable for myopia, or near-sightedness. If the fluid is pumped in, the membranes bow outward creating a lense suitable for someone who has hyperopia or presbyopia, both far-sighted conditions.  Fine tuning the lense to fit each eye is simply a matter of adjusting the pumps.



Fluid-filled lens technology: ©Center for Vision in the Developing WorldFluid-filled lens technology: ©Center for Vision in the Developing World


Fine tuning the lense to fit each eye is simply a matter of adjusting the pumps, which are self-adjusting.  Once the wearer is satisfied with his correction, the volunteer seals the lenses so the volumes of fluid will not change.  The wearer can now see clearly... or, at least more clearly than he or she has previously seen.

How often can an inventor see how his invention has helped so many people in the world?  Here is just one example of how Adspecs changed a life:

Arthur Walker, below, a 57 year old carpenter in Kakata, Liberia, sole supporter of his nine children, was losing his ability to see his surroundings and his work.  Silver's Center for Vision in the Developing World partners with volunteers from other relief organizations, like Global Vision 2020 in Liberia, to fit Mr. Walker with a pair of Adspecs for distance vision and a pair of regular reading glasses for his close work. Now Mr. Walker is able to work again and support his family.


Arthur Walker was fitted with Adspecs through Global Vision 2020: ©Global Vision 2020Arthur Walker was fitted with Adspecs through Global Vision 2020: ©Global Vision 2020


You may have noticed that Professor Silver's self-adjusting glasses all have round frames.  It's because the fluid-filled lens adjusting technology can only accommodate round lenses at this time.  I'm sure that's not a problem though for adults and children who have never seen clearly before.