How Can These Glasses for the Third World Cost Only $1?

Seeing the difference good health care makes

Jan 30, 2019

It’s a blessing to have perfect vision or be able to afford corrective eyewear if necessary. While there are several solutions available for the vision impaired, vision tests, glasses, and eye contact are costly. Those who can’t afford to pay for new glasses can’t learn or work, making it that much more difficult to provide for their families.

That’s where OneDollarGlasses Association comes in--the company founded by Martin Aufmuth --trains opticians in countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Bolivia, Tanzania, and Burkina Faso to produce glasses $1 USD and sell them for $2-7, creating customized glasses for an affordable price point.

Part of Aufmuth’s vision is also to empower opticians to start their own businesses to improve their lives and provide for their families and serve their communities at the same time. His main goal is to ensure that those around the world living on $1 a day have access to affordable glasses, and above all, can access the healthcare they need to potentially save--or at least better-- their life.

Although the glasses are rather inexpensive, they’re made from durable steel wire and break-resistant glass materials. As part of his initiative, Aufmuth created the OneDollarGlasses bending machine that molds the steel into frames fit for both children and adults. The machine also allows opticians to include beads on the frames to add some personality to each pair. After receiving training from OneDollarGlasses (that usually lasts about two weeks), opticians get the portable machine (that doesn’t require electricity) for free along with a box that includes everything else they need to create the eyewear.

Aufmuth’s solution doesn’t just provide glasses to those in need; his system truly empowers citizens and professions from poorer communities to start their own thriving business, while also creating a custom pair of eyewear for those in need. And because the machine is small, opticians can travel anywhere they’re needed to provide care. By providing a way to fix residents’ vision at an affordable price and in a way that’s convenient for them, men and women from developing countries around the world can change their circumstances for the better.

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Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.