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Our Mission

More than 2 billion people lack the glasses they need to see clearly.

The developing world cannot yet support the conventional optical industry's business model: a highly trained eye care professional who uses expensive equipment to find a customer's prescription, who selects from dozens of different strength lenses to make a custom pair of glasses, and who sells the final product to the customer for a large profit margin.

CVDW develops scalable, sustainable solutions based on Joshua Silver's pioneering work on self-refraction using adaptive spectacles: a single product that can be adjusted by the wearer following simple instructions to give high quality vision correction at low cost. Self-refraction supports a business model or humanitarian or government distribution model that relies on the simplest possible logistics and minimal technical skill, enabling entrepreneurs, humanitarian organisations and governments to develop marketing and distribution strategies that fit the local social and economic context.

CVDW supports the self-refraction approach as an open platform, serving the community by bringing together research and practical advice; by supplying a range of low cost, high quality self-refraction products; and by providing a forum for entrepreneurs and humanitarian organisations to exchange their experiences and develop a set of effective practices in diverse local environments. We collaborate with other organisations to pilot scalable, sustainable distribution models, and we connect promising projects with funding and other support.

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Professor Joshua Silver


Joshua Silver is an atomic physicist and Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford. He became interested in the emerging area of adaptive optics in the mid-1980s. After considering the way our eye-brain adaptive optical system works, he suggested that self-refraction with suitable adaptive lens eyeglasses could be a useful procedure for correcting refractive error, after trying such a procedure on himself. He created several prototypes of adaptive spectacles - including the Adspecs, the world's first fluid-filled universal eyeglasses - and he carried out research supported by the UK's DFID which showed that self-refraction with such glasses was a useful procedure for bringing vision correction to around half of the world's population which currently needs, but does not have, corrective eyewear. The self-refraction procedure is particularly useful for populations where there are too few eyecare professionals to meet the needs of the people. Josh hopes to see a billion people having vision correction by the year 2020.
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James Stephenson

Board Member


James Stephenson is the global strategic marketing manager for Dow Corning Corporation's Healthcare business, and is a member of the Centre's Board of Directors. James joined the Centre at the start of our Child ViSion™ collaboration with Dow Corning in late 2010.

James Stephenson joined Dow Corning in 1997 as a manufacturing engineer at the Barry site in the United Kingdom. Through a variety of commercial roles, James has built more than a decade of experience in business development and commercial leadership. Based at Dow Corning's global headquarters in Midland, Michigan since 2006, James has taken leadership roles in a number of groups, including the Advanced Technologies and Ventures business, the Business and Technology Incubator and most recently in his role in Healthcare. James holds a M.Eng in Chemical Engineering from Swansea University and an MBA from Manchester Business School. He is also a Chartered Engineer (C.Eng) and a member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (MIChemE).

In joining the Centre, James has brought his considerable commercial knowledge and experience, as well as a keen interest and understanding in the area of sustainable development.

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Dr David Crosby

Visiting Fellow

David Crosby studied physics at the University of Oxford, first as an undergraduate and then obtained a DPhil under the supervision of Josh Silver as part of the Oxford Electron Beam Ion Trap group. As well as continuing to pursue research, concentrating mainly on experimental tests fundamental issues in atomic physics, David has also worked and consulted for a number of technology start-up companies.

Based on his research experience with optics and motivated by a desire to tackle practical problems of real world importance, David helped set up the Centre with Professor Silver in 2009. His current research interests cover the range of activities of the Centre, but in particular David is interested in the creation and use of new technology and techniques in order to help provide effective, low cost eye-care to the world.

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Dr Amitava Gupta

Visiting Fellow

Dr Amitava Gupta has extensive experience in the optical industry, previously holding the position of Vice President (Research and Development) at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. Dr Gupta started his career at the California Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where he undertook a wide range of research in polymer science in a variety of roles culminating in a tenured position as Senior Research Scientist.

Since leaving JPL in 1987, Dr Gupta has successfully led a wide variety of projects in companies ranging in size from startups to large corporations. His work has encompassed many areas of vision correction technology, including intraocular lenses, developing biocompatible materials, contact lenses, multifocals and most recently variable power lenses. Dr Gupta brings a wealth of technical and management experience to the Centre, providing advice on ophthalmic science and technology.

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Professor Bruce Moore

Visiting Fellow

Dr Bruce Moore’s career as a pediatric optometrist has been devoted to studying the visual problems and therapeutic options for infants and young children. His optometric career began at the Children’s Hospital Boston Department of Ophthalmology and the Harvard Medical School, and he assumed the position of the Marcus Professor of Pediatric Studies at the New England College of Optometry in 1997.

Dr Moore is active in efforts to design effective vision screening programs for infants and young children. He has also been intimately involved in efforts to develop programs for vision care for young children. He is a principal investigator in a National Eye Institute funded study of vision screening of children which aims to develop vision screening procedures that are applicable to broad use in the preschool population. His text, Eye Care for Infants & Young Children, published in 1997, became the standard textbook in pediatric optometry for students and practitioners.

Another major research and policy interest of Dr Moore concerns eyecare for the developing world. By joining the Centre as a visiting fellow, Dr Moore brings his considerable expertise and knowledge to help us tackle this major issue.

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Chris Wray


Chris studied physics and philosophy at the University of Oxford before pursuing an entrepreneurial career, co-founding or advising new ventures in fields including online marketing and social media, cognitive models for organisational development, and adjustable-focus eyewear. Chris later studied law and was called to the Bar of England and Wales, and he continues to practise as a mediator in commercial and other civil disputes.

Chris has worked with Professor Silver for more than ten years. He advised on all aspects of setting up the Centre for Vision in the Developing World and he now leads distribution projects.

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Mehdi Douali

Senior Adviser

Mehdi studied physics at the University of Oxford followed by a masters degree in applied and computational mathematics. While at Oxford he co-authored with Professor Silver the first paper demonstrating on a large scale the efficacy of self-refraction using glasses with fluid-filled adjustable-focus lenses, and the first clinical trial of such a device. Mehdi started his career in quantitative finance analysing the statistical properties of financial markets. He currently works as a hedge fund investment manager.

Mehdi has advised Professor Silver on strategy and fund raising and maintains an interest in vision science research.