December 22, 2008

Researcher devises adjustable glasses

A British inventor says he's developed a pair of wearer-adjustable glasses that he hopes will be a boon to the world's poor.

Joshua Silver, a retired Oxford University physics professor, said his adaptive glasses allow the wearer tune them without the need for a prescription or a visit to the doctor, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The idea came to him in the 1980s, when he was talking with a colleague about optic lenses and the development took two decades, the British newspaper reported.

Silver's specs are adjusted by injecting or removing tiny amounts of fluid from sacs in the lenses center. The glasses are equipped with small syringes attached to each earpiece and have a dial for the wearer to adjust. Once adjusted, the syringes are removed and the glasses can be worn, Silver said.

The glasses are in a trial project supported by the British Department for International Development, and thousands of pairs have been distributed to Third World countries.

The invention would help people in poorer parts of the world -- where eye doctors are few -- get glasses for the first time, the newspaper said.

Silver said he is preparing to distribute 1 million pairs of the spectacles in India in a year. He said his goal is to reach 100 million people annually, with helping 1 billion by 2020.