Atomic physicist Joshua Silver invented liquid-filled optical lenses to produce low-cost, adjustable glasses, giving sight to millions without access to an optometrist.

Why you should listen

Joshua Silver reckons that around half the world's population needs corrective eyewear, yet has no access to it. His ultra-utilitarian spectacle design relies on the principle that the fatter the lens, the more powerful it becomes. The lenses are filled with liquid, and can be adjusted to different strengths by adding or removing fluid from tiny syringes on each arm, then locked to the right strength.

More than 30,000 of his lenses have been distributed in 15 countries, and a new model will scale that number up to millions.

Joshua Silver’s TED talk

Joshua Silver on the TED Blog

Adjustable, liquid-filled eyeglasses: Josh Silver on TED.com

September 1, 2009

Josh Silver delivers his brilliantly simple solution for correcting vision at the lowest cost possible — adjustable, liquid-filled lenses. At TEDGlobal 2009, he demos his affordable eyeglasses and reveals his global plan to distribute them to a billion people in need by 2020. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2009, in Oxford, England. Duration: 5:34) Watch Josh Silver’s […]

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TEDGlobal2009

Twitter Snapshot: Josh Silver’s global vision for vision

July 21, 2009

Josh Silver shared his ambition to supply the billion people worldwide in need of glasses with his innovative, low-cost adjustable lenses by 2020. On stage, Silver demonstrated the effectiveness of his glasses and also provided insight into the economic and educational repercussions on impoverished populations that result from the dearth of vision correction options. The […]

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TEDGlobal2009

Josh Silver at TEDGlobal 2009: Running notes from Session 2

July 21, 2009

Josh Silver makes affordable, adjustable eyeglasses with a dream to solve the vision problems of the world. He begins by asking the audience to raise their hands if they wear glasses or contact lenses, or if they’ve had laser refractive surgery. “It’s too many of you to count,” he says, “but the general statistic is […]

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Quotes from Joshua Silver

The problem of poor vision is actually not just a health problem, it’s also an educational problem, and it’s an economic problem, and it’s a quality of life problem.
Joshua Silver
TEDGlobal 2009 • 650K views Sep 2009
Ingenious, Inspiring
There are some countries in sub-Saharan Africa where there’s one optometrist for eight million of the population.
Joshua Silver
TEDGlobal 2009 • 650K views Sep 2009
Ingenious, Inspiring