Welcome to old age! If you are 40+ years or older I bet you know what I’m talking about. One day you notice that your eyesight is a little blurry while your reading and the next you find yourself buried in dozens of different pairs of eyeglasses wondering if you will ever see clearly again.
Almost everyone will eventually suffer from presbyopia. The condition is a natural part of aging and gets worse as you grow older. The focusing power of the eye depends on the elasticity of the lens. This elasticity is gradually lost as people age. The result is a slow decrease in the ability of the eye to focus on nearby objects and a huge increase of blurry objects in your life.
Presbyopia can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. In some cases, the addition of bifocals to an existing lens prescription is enough. New surgical procedures can also provide solutions for those who do not want to wear glasses or contacts but surgery is a risk and the results can’t be guaranteed. As the ability to focus up close worsens, the prescription needs to be changed and probably more than once.
You will browse the aisles of pharmacies looking for stronger eyeglasses until you hit the ceiling of what they can do for you. Drug store eyeglasses only go up to 3.00’s in most stores. Then it’s time to go to the eye doctor. Using drug store eyeglasses, I still find myself needing one pair for up close reading, another for using at my computer screen and a magnifier for reading the backs of labels at the store.
Around the age of 65, you will be pretty much blind. The eyes will have lost most of the elasticity needed to focus up close. However, it will still be possible to read by using really large print and lots of light. Using your arm to hold reading materials further away is recommended. Wow, it’s no wonder when it comes to eyeglasses we have been in the dark ages!
I went from perfect eyesight at age 48 to total denial when it came to me having problems with my eyes due to old age and that there was such a thing as presbyopia. I started my drug store eyeglasses out at 1.25 strength and got to 3.00 so fast that I got whiplash! Even with glasses that are the right strength, I still feel the loss every day because nothing seems to recapture the constant crystal clear sight that I remember.
Now, for something completely different! I found this very exciting news online about new lenses/glasses that I want to share with you. It not only looks promising but will change everything we know about eyeglasses and perhaps give us back our wonderful eyesight.
The first person to sport bifocals was in 1864 in a cartoon showing Benjamin Franklin wearing a pair of bifocals, and not a lot has changed since then. About 100 years after that the first pair of adjustable focus glasses was patented in the United States, but it used different fixed-focus lenses. Now, 245 years after Franklin and 143 years after the first adjustable glasses patent, someone has actually developed adjustable lenses that work.
Say Hello To The New TruFocals
According to The New York Times, inventor Stephen Kurtin has developed the first manually adjustable lenses that let the wearer adjust from long distance to short distance viewing at the flip of a switch. The secret is a layer of liquid within the lens that changes shape depending on the situation.
Called TruFocals, the glasses are composed of two components, a rigid plastic or glass lens, and a clear liquid that also acts as a lens. A slider on the top of the frame's bridge compresses the liquid, changing the shape and focus of the liquid lens, and thus the distance of focus for the wearer. Just like our eyes used to.
There have been other adjustable lens glasses created before, including the winner of a PopSci “Best of What’s New Award” in 2000. But those lenses had adjustable prescriptions, and did not toggle between long and near vision for a single user.
The TruFocals retail for $895 and only come in these “Harry Potter” looking frames, but they are just the beginning. As soon as next year, a company called PixelOptics hopes to release glasses that perform the same function as TruFocals, but do so using an electric impulse that alters the refractive index of the lens. Even NASA is using and working with them.
This is great news for all of us struggling to get back the sight we once had. The best news is these companies are working on having this new lens fit in all kinds of frames and at a much cheaper price. Music to my ears, tired eyes and pocketbook! Tee hee!
As for the TruFocals you may have already started to see some people sporting them, (like Hollywood stars) and they claim they haven’t seen so clearly in years. So far, they are a hit!
Looks like the adjustable eyeglass market just got a lot more crowded. That means more choices and better cheaper glasses. Hopefully, it means that I can try on a pair to buy soon!
While writing this a question came to mind. Why hasn’t someone come up with an eye drop or a medicine that works on the brain to improve sight? Just a thought….