A VISIONARY invention by an Oxford professor to help people in the developing world to see has returned to its Oxford roots.
Adlens http://adlens.com/ , leading producer of adaptable spectacles, has opened its world headquarters at King Charles House in St Frideswide’s Square.
Adaptable spectacles allow the wearer to adjust the lenses to his or her individual needs. They are based on a revolutionary idea – brainchild of nuclear physicist Dr Joshua Silver, of New College, Oxford – of filling lenses with a transparent fluid, thereby enabling the focus to be changed.
They were developed for use in the third world where access to occulists is limited.
Now they are being designed and developed in Oxford but manufactured in Malaysia for sale in the first world.
In 1998 Prof Silver won a special commendation from the UK government in the Worldaware Business Awards and experts reckoned the new specs could enable 20 per cent of the world’s population to see clearly.
With funds from philanthropist and businessman James Chen, chairman of Nigerian Wahun Group holdings, designer glasses from Adlens are becoming ever more poplular.
Since 2011 more than 70,000 pairs have been sold, notably in Japan where the commercial operation was based.
The company now employs 36 people in Oxford – 16 at its HQ and another 20 at its innovation centre in First Turn, Wolvercote.
Chief executive Mike Ferrara said: “By January, Adlens variable focus eyewear will be selling in most major European markets including the UK.”
He added: “We are a profit-making organisation, here to make money, but for every pair of glasses we sell we shall give one pair to Vision for a Nation."