Sunday, March 19, 2017

Adjustable Lenses

Several years ago, after trying out a pair of progressive lenses that didn't work for me, the notion that there is no reason glasses couldn't be adjustable popped into my head. What could be simpler? All you'd need was lenses made of some sort of flexible plastic that could easily be adjusted to change the focal point, from long distance, to middle distance to reading distance. That's the sort of thing I need and that's why I tried progressive lenses in the first place.

I need distance for everyday use, including driving, middle distance for when I'm working at the computer and close-up distance for reading. Since I hate the notion of trifocals, and progressive lenses make me dizzy, I use bifocals for distance and reading, and a second pair adjusted for computer use. Since I'm usually using the bifocals when out on the town, I run into problems when, for example, trying to read the titles of books when in the library or book store. I could use the middle distance glasses at such times, but they are usually back at home, sitting next to the computer. Wouldn't it be nice if I could have one single pair that I could adjust to focus at any distance by turning a tiny wheel on the frames?

At that point, my brain went into overdrive and I began thinking about ways in which this process could be automated. If a car equipped with the proper sensors can drive itself along a winding highway, why can't a pair of glasses equipped with sensors read the position of your eyes, and adjust the focus accordingly? Computer components have already become highly miniaturized, so the technology might well already be here. A tiny computer nested in the frame, reading information from a sensor keeping track of what your eyes were doing would be all that's needed.

As with so many of my "bright ideas," reality has caught up with fantasy, and something more or less like what I had envisioned is now on the market:

This isn't the only company marketing adjustable glasses and from what I've been reading the reviews have been mixed, though in the case of the above review, the verdict has been positive -- actually enthusiastic. In every case I've seen they are intended as a temporary convenience when your regular glasses break rather than as a permanent replacement. Not sure why that is. I'm dying to try these out and just now ordered one of the less expensive models. I'll return to this post when I've had a chance to put them through their paces and let you know what I think.

While glasses with adjustable lenses have not exactly gone viral in the marketplace, the potential for this new technology is very great indeed, and as they are perfected I feel sure they will become standard issue at some point. Computerization will be farther down the line, but considering how so much in our society has become automated, I see no reason why fully computerized glasses won't some day join the ranks. Once the computers are in control, then more sophisticated adjustments for astigmatism and other special needs should be possible. Mark my words, I feel sure adjustable glasses of one kind or another are just around the corner.


  1. Why bother with transparent glasses? That's so 20th century. Eyeglasses should use the same system that you use for your Retro Car: screens that take pictures of the visual world and transmit them onto two screens in front of your eyes, combining them for a 3-D effect (like old-fashioned stereoscopes).

    1. Well, Denkof, that's more or less the equivalent of the Virtual Reality headset, no? I suppose you could use such a device to observe what's in front of you in the real world, at one remove, but maybe that would be a tad redundant? I dunno. Sounds wacky enough to be interesting. :-)

  2. The reality that you'd see would not be virtual, it would be the really real reality. These TechSpecs could cover 360 degrees, so you could see what was behind you WITHOUT THE WASTED EFFORT OF TURNING YOUR HEAD.

    1. Oh, I see. (no pun intended)

      Yeah, I like it. I've often wondered whether there was someone always lurking behind me with a knife. Maybe that's why we die, when he finally decides to knife you.