For starters, here's a link to an article about a British Physicist, Josh Silver, who has invented eyeglasses for the poor that the wearer can adjust to their own "prescription" without the need for an optometrist. He estimates they can be produced for $1 per pair and his goal is to have one billion pairs delivered by the year 2020. (20-20... get it? Cute!)
Here's a quote from the article about how much this could mean to people:
The implications of bringing glasses within the reach of poor communities are enormous, says the scientist. Literacy rates improve hugely, fishermen are able to mend their nets, women to weave clothing. During an early field trial, funded by the British government, in Ghana, Silver met a man called Henry Adjei-Mensah, whose sight had deteriorated with age, as all human sight does, and who had been forced to retire as a tailor because he could no longer see to thread the needle of his sewing machine. "So he retires. He was about 35. He could have worked for at least another 20 years. We put these specs on him, and he smiled, and threaded his needle, and sped up with this sewing machine. He can work now. He can see."You can also hear a 3 minute segment from National Public Radio interviewing Josh here. It says that the U.S. Military has already purchased 20,000 pairs to give away.
How cool is that?!
Here's the Wiki page on him, a link to the Adaptive Eyecare project, and a YouTube video of him demonstrating how they work.
Of course, what he really needs is a "Donate Now" button! That's something I'd like to see.