The OneDollarGlasses

Old man with OneDollarGlasses, Rwanda | © Martin Aufmuth

The idea

More than 950 million people need glasses but cannot afford them (source: WHO).
The resulting loss of income is over $269 billion per year.
Our goal: The establishment of basic optical care for everyone.

 

The frame

OneDollarGlasses are made of flexible spring steel wire. It is very light and at the same time extremely robust – making it ideal for the often harsh environmental conditions in developing countries.
Material cost: around $1.

Manufacturing

OneDollarGlasses are manufactured locally on a simple bending machine which does not require electricity…a truly sustainable operation.

 

Color markings

Glasses of various sizes can be produced on the bending machine: the yellow marking is for small glasses, red for medium-sized glasses and blue for people with a large interpupillary distance.

Colorful beads

Beads give the glasses a colorful and individualized design.

 

Heat shrink tubing

Colored shrink tube accentuates the temple and nose bridge – heated here over a traditional charcoal fire.

 

Alignment

Final frame adjustments are important. There are 30 potential
misalignments created in the manufacture of a frame.

Modular system

The pre-cut plastic lenses are break and scratch resistant.
Lenses come in different powers from -10.0 to +8.0 diopters.
The lenses can be clicked into the frame with one hand.

First glasses

Help on site

Many individuals who live rurally in our project countries lack the resources
to travel to the city for glasses.
That’s why OneDollarGlasses teams travel to villages.
People are tested on site and immediately receive their glasses afterwards.

Training

According to a WHO study, more than 65,000 opticians are needed worldwide. OneDollarGlasses personnel train people as optical professionals.

 

OneDollarGlasses training concept

We developed our own training concept for optical technicians. The “Best Spherical Correction” training is completed in one year. After just a few weeks the trainees are able to competently conduct simple eye tests and eyeglass adjustments.

The inventor

Martin Aufmuth invented the OneDollarGlasses at home in Germany in his basement.
In 2012 he founded the German non-profit, EinDollarBrille e.V (OneDollarGlasses).

 The Organization

Today more than 200 OneDollarGlasses staff work in our current eight project countries. Additionally, over 300 volunteers support the organization in Germany, Switzerland and the USA. OneDollarGlasses finances training costs, bending machines and the project structure from donations. Many expense are covered by the sale of the glasses…..development aid as a social business.

 

Awards

OneDollarGlasses has received several international awards in its short existance. These include: first prize of the Siemens Foundation Empowering People Award (selected from over 800 projects worldwide), the renowned The Tech Award and the Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award from the Optical Society.

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“These glasses are too valuable –
I only put them on for field work.”

Simon, 80 years old – Malawi