Mission and Vision
Eyeglasses have been a part of western medicine for over 500 years. The impact of eyeglasses on education, economic output, safety, quality of life, etc., is difficult to quantify.
However, in the developing world, where no such distribution exists, it will be possible to determine several measurements of success that would indicate the value a pair of eyeglasses has on both an individual, and a society at large.
For instance, the WHO estimates that a single adult that needs, but has no access to eyeglasses, has a negative impact on the global economy of $1,700 per year.
Our first sets of data will simply determine the current unmet need of large segments of society. Future data collection could include school attrition rates, driver safety, child pedestrian safety, economic output for workers reliant on close vision (tailors, sorters, teachers, etc.), and so on.
The possibilities are many.
The USee is a diagnostic tool that enables anyone, anywhere, to deliver eyeglasses to everyone, everywhere. The patient simply dials the lens bars to find their best visual acuity. Each setting correspondes to an individual lens that is then snapped into a selection of frames. The kit is simple enough to learn in a matter of minutes, and comes in a complete kit that has everything a distributor needs to deliver high quality, acurate, and stylish eyeglasses. It's as simple as Dial-Snap-Wear.
How does your innovation work?
The USee replicates the patient experience with the fluid-filled self-refraction devices. These fluid-filled eyeglasses have been extensively trialed both in the clinic and in the field to enable the patients to find their own prescriptive power needs to correct their vision. The USee copies this technique, but with a solid lens bar that allows the patient to move the bar up and down, while limiting the patients viewing aperture to a single (nominally) power. The patient naturally moves the lens until their best visual acuity (BVA) is attained (these claims have been tested and confirmed at the Wilmer Eye Institute). Once BVA is confirmed with a visual acuity test, a pair of snap-together eyeglasses are made, the patient is re-tested, and provided with a pair of stylish eyeglasses.
Currently there is somewhere between 185 million and 2.5 billion (depending on which study you believe) people that need, but have no access to eyeglasses. The ration of eye care professionals to patients in the developing world is approximately 1 to 1 million. Current distribution efforts are either conventional, which require a highly trained refractionist (one year of training), or self-refractive devices (fluid filled or Alvarez lenses). The first (conventional methods) provides well-made and comfortable eyeglasses, but the price of the glasses and availability of distributors prevents meeting a fraction of the need. The second (self-refraction devices) solve the problem with minimal training, but are expensive, and not generally accepted by the wearers for aesthetic reasons.
The USee system combines the best of each of these systems, while eliminating the weaknesses. The training takes less than an hour, the distribution system is simple, and the eyeglasses are conventional.
No other system or approach has combined these two systems in such a manner.
Planned Goals and Milestones
A major benefit of the USee kit's is the completeness of the system in a simple kit form. This kit can be configured in various sizes to meet various needs (100, 200, 500, etc..). It is easily transportable in a backpack, and can be deployed in various ways.
We are currently working on distributions in High Schools where teachers are provided the skills necessary to diagnose, refract, and distribute eyeglasses to their students and fellow teachers.
These techniques can be easily utilized by any network to achieve the same goals - Community Health Care Workers, Driver’s License Testers, Social Entrepreneurs, etc..
Once we get to mass produce the USee devices (all other components are readily available) we can provide kits to any of the above networks, or new ones as they develop, at extremely low cost (less than $5 per patient), to solve refractive error in their communities.
The primary step we need to accomplish is to get the USee to mass production through injection molding.
We are currently working with the Mozambique Ministry of Education to implement a large-scale distribution of eyeglasses in High Schools. This program would provide sufficient data to prove the concept of teacher distribution, provide valuable feedback on process improvements, and lay the ground work for future distribution efforts for other networks globally.
We currently seek funds to achieve both of these steps.