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 <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 doctor. Source(s): 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.