Czech start-up could help millions of people suffering from poor vision

A Czech-US start up called DOT Glasses could help millions of people all over the world, who are in need of glasses but can’t afford them, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Tuesday. The start-up, which plans to produce affordable 3D-printed glasses, has just completed a crowd-funding campaign on Czech site Hithit, collecting 450,000 crowns for further development.

Photo: archive of DOT GlassesPhoto: archive of DOT Glasses The Prague-based start-up was launched three years ago by US investor Philip Staehelin and his wife Romana, along with Joanna Safarik and Vojtěch Foukal. Their plan is to produce the world’s first, one-size-fits-all glasses that don’t require a professional optometrist to be dispensed to the end user.

The technology and design of DOT Glasses was developed by the company MBtech based in Mladá Boleslav and the cost of one pair should amount to around one US dollar or 23 crowns.

“We are planning to launch a large-scale production by the end of 2018. We have already agreed on production and distribution around the whole world,” Philip Staehlin told the daily Hospodářské noviny.

An estimated 2.5 billion people around the world suffer from poor vision and around one billion people, mostly in developing countries, can’t afford glasses or don’t have access to them.

The customised DOT Glasses consist of six-piece snap-together frames and the right strength of lenses, which are provided based on a simple testing tool. According to Staehelin, the lenses are “left-right agnostic”, allowing for the same lens shape to be used as a right or left lens, which reduces lens stock requirements by half. They should be available to buyers for about three US dollars.

Earlier this year, the DOT Glasses start-up received a grant from the Czech Development Agency’s B2B program. They have also won a place in the EU-funded Start-up Europe’s Soft Landing program to India.