Book review: Clearly, by James Chen

On one level Clearly is a book about the desire and efforts of one man to rid the world of unnecessary visual impairment on another it is a damning indictment of the optical business

James Chen is a man with the desire to help people see and Clearly sets out his assessment of the problems, the difference simple spectacles can make and his manifesto for helping others. In doing so Chen draws the strands together of technology, social mores and economics.

Clearly tells us that an estimated 2.5billion people’s lives are diminished because they do not have access to spectacles. The solution is a 700-year-old product that costs just pennies to make. Of those 2.5bn people half a billion just need reading spectacles and a further 350m either reading spectacles or simple distance vision specs.

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