Every time you feel so overwhelmed by the horrors of Third World underdevelopment and chaos, someone comes along with a great, oh-so-obvious solution. I came across this one via Slate:
In the United States, Britain and other wealthy nations, 60 to 70 percent of people wear corrective glasses...But in many developing countries, only about 5 percent have glasses because so many people, especially those in rural areas, have little or no access to eye-care professionals. Even if they could visit an eye doctor, the cost of glasses can be more than a month's wages. This means that many schoolchildren cannot see the blackboard, bus drivers can't see clearly and others can no longer fish, teach or do other jobs because of failing vision.
[Joshua] Silver's answer: Adjustable glasses.
OK, you have to be a science geek to have come up with this, but still. It's all about the mindset: Instead of giving up because glasses are so expensive, work on making glasses cheaper. Duh.
Check the piece for a link to the guy's site. The glasses are BCGs (think: Drew Carey) in the extreme but, when you make your living dumpster-diving in Bangladesh or wherever, ugly glasses are the least of your problems.