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See Better to Learn Better
Winner - Platinum
Designer: Yves Behar - Founder/Chief Designer
Design Type: Product
"See Better to Learn Better" is a free eyeglasses program for children in partnership with the Mexican government and Augen Optics. This collaboration has lead to a collection of customizable and iconic corrective eye wear that is specifically designed for students, ages 6-18 years old. The aim of the program is to provide a smart solution for children that cannot afford eye care. Currently, the percentage of children in need of lenses at or above .75 corrections can be as high as 60-70% in some schools in Morelos, Sonora and Chiapas. The average classroom percentage is 11%. Even with the high amount of children in need of glasses, wearing glasses is still looked at as a handicap; this social stigma adds to the resistance to correct the problem. To solve these challenges, we designed a two-part frame construction that is fully customizable; with different top and bottom colors, children can mix and match between 7 colors, 5 shapes and 3 sizes to fit their personal choices. Instead of simply shrinking adult frames to fit children’s faces, we created age-appropriate styles and colors, and custom shapes suited to their facial structures. Most importantly, we invited the student to participate in the process by giving them the opportunity to select from many shapes and color combinations to really make the glasses feel like their own. Because of the demanding lifestyles of the students, the eyeglasses had to be rugged as well as ergonomic. The material is highly flexible to make the glasses practically indestructible and thus perfect for a child’s constantly changing needs. From the classroom to soccer practice, homework to the playground, these glasses can move and adapt to every child’s lifestyle. The flexible material allows for glasses to grow with the child and be kept for longer before needing another pair. The interchangeable nose pads let children with different size faces wear the glasses comfortably, and can even be changed out on-the-spot for a perfect fit. The eyeglasses are designed for children and by children through their participation in the creation process. Using a comprehensive catalog that illustrates their choices in an easy to understand manner, kids can flip easily between colors and frames, mixing and matching until they are satisfied with their choice. This personal engagement with the product imbues a sense of pride and ownership to the glasses as a coveted object rather than something forced upon them. The process of building their glasses is as fun and engaging as the glasses themselves. Ver Bien’s “See Better to Learn Better” program has given 500,000 eye exams have been given and the program has distributed 358,000 pairs of glasses throughout Mexico, focusing on schools in need; as students see their peers wearing glasses, the stigma surrounding needing prescription lenses is lessened in these communities. By designing a series of eye wear that is specifically tailored to these needs, the “See Better to Learn Better” program is improving lives for years to come. In letting students see better, they are allowing them to succeed in school, which will have a real and tangible affect in Mexico.