New revolutionary eye glasses at one dollar for the poor

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Inexpensive glasses that allow people to correct their eyesight problems themselves is the new ingenuous project presently being undertaken by the World Bank.

The international financial institution has announced the launching of a project which plans to improve the eyesight of about a billion people in disadvantaged countries around the world through the provision of eye glasses that use a revolutionary lens.

These special glasses use corrective lenses with two flexible membranes containing silicone oil. With the aid of two small vials on the arms of the glasses, wearers can pump the silicone to adjust their vision. The lenses become more convex or concave depending on whether the person is long-sighted or short-sighted, the World Bank explains. And once the “lenses” have been adjusted, the vials can be removed from the arms.

This idea was developed in laboratories at Oxford University in England and is the fruit of collaboration between the World Bank and the British NGO Adaptive Eyecare Limited. The glasses are to be sold at just one dollar a pair.

With only one optometrist [an eyesight specialist who is not a doctor] for every million inhabitants, the arrival of these glasses could signal a spectacular improvement for the population of Africa.

In Ghana, where 10,000 pairs were distributed under a pilot project, Seventy per cent of those who received the glasses were reported by the World Bank as having been capable of correcting their own eyesight with a precision only a professional optometrist could have provided under other circumstances.

This project is both inexpensive and simple to put in place and also much likely to bring about a concrete improvement in literacy among the world’s poor. It could also result in social and economic progress.

Health file  The lack of education and political will, poverty, out-moded traditional beliefs, to mention but a few, have been widely blamed for causing severe and sometimes unwarranted health catastrophies of genocidal proportions on the African continent. Child killer diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, water borne diseases, HIV/AIDS, among other preventable ailments have killed millions in their wake. As rightly said by the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on May 13, 2000 "More people (...) died of Aids in the past year (1999-2000, ndlr) in Africa than in all the wars on the continent".
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