[tabi] new kind of glasses for those aging

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2010 09:20:38 -0400


New Glasses Solve Aging Vision Problem

Here is a cool new product that I want to keep an eye on -- adjustable
focus glasses. These offer a very straightforward solution to the
annoying problem of presbyopia -- "aging eyes," which require reading
glasses and constant adjustment to what you can and can't see. Called
TruFocals (www.trufocals.com <outbind://5/www.trufocals.com>
<http://edhn.bottomlinesecrets.com/a/hBMLC88B74VNIB8NSErNFNORvop/dhn5> >
, 800-900-3700), these new glasses have lenses that are adjustable for
different distances by simply sliding a lever on the frame. Aren't you
intrigued? Read on -- you'll see why I'm so enthusiastic. 

Layered Look

The lenses in these glasses have several different layers. The outer
lens (on the front of the glasses) is the prescription lens -- exactly
what you'd get in your usual corrective glasses. Then there is an inner
lens made of a thin, hard lens and a flexible membrane with a clear
fluid in between. Sliding the lever on the bridge moves the fluid, which
in turn changes the shape of the membrane... which changes the focal
point for your eyes. Wearers can quickly set the correction they need
for sharp, comfortable viewing at any distance. It's easy to slide the
outer lenses off for cleaning or to exchange for tinted lenses, and all
the lenses are both UVA/UVB protective and antiglare. 

These specs sounded so cool, I contacted James J. Salz, MD, clinical
professor of ophthalmology at the University of Southern California in
Los Angeles, to get his view -- and it turns out that he had already
ordered a pair for himself. Since he spends so much time at his
computer, Dr. Salz told me he was looking forward to being able to "dial
in the exact focus I need" and see through the whole lens. He added that
he's not actually recommending TruFocals (at least not yet) -- he simply
wants to try them himself to see whether they might be something that
his patients would want to use. 

Not Quite Ready for Prime Time?

While a great concept, there are some limitations to this "better
mousetrap" for the eyes, so Dr. Salz urged me to keep my expectations in
check. He said that these lenses could be a good solution for anyone
(for instance, him, me and maybe you, too) who spends hours on end in
front of a computer, as well as for musicians who need to read music a
certain distance away, mechanics (who spend a lot of time looking
overhead, where traditional bifocals aren't a help), and people with
other highly specific needs. But they may not be so great in other
situations, for instance when you are cooking and need to frequently
change vision between near (to read your recipe) and far (to see into
your cabinets or refrigerator). 

Another problem -- at this point, the glasses are a high-end indulgence.
TruFocals cost $895 (plus tax), which is expensive even when compared
with luxe designer frames. For example, progressive lenses in a
high-quality frame might cost $500 or so. You could easily purchase
separate pairs of glasses -- attractive ones -- for reading and distance
work and still have money left over instead of shelling out for this
multipurpose pair of specs. 

And -- it has to be said -- the look itself leaves something to be
desired. There's only one shape (round) and one frame color (silver),
though the temple pieces come in four colors. The TruFocals folks said
no shape other than round will work properly -- there would be visual
distortion because the pressure exerted by the fluid wouldn't be uniform
in any other shape. 

But with fashion, form sometimes follows function -- it may be that
these glasses turn out to be useful enough to develop their own cache
(think Smart Car). And anyway, if they make your life easier, who cares?
If you wonder whether they might be something for you, talk to your eye


James J. Salz, MD, clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University
of Southern California, Los Angeles, and attending ophthalmic surgeon at
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.


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