A recent article in the New York Times is the latest to highlight a potentially revolutionary development in eyeglasses for bifocal wearers. Dr. John Henahan of Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City says that almost everyone over the age of 45 needs extra help to read.
“Traditional bifocals or progressive lenses (no-line bifocals) have the near portion permanently embedded in the lower portion of the lens”, reports Dr. Henahan. “That can be problematic when you want to look down at a further distance, such as going up and down stairs.”
New electronically powered eyeglasses from Pixel Optics promises to eliminate that problem. They accomplish this with a bifocal that can be “turned on and off” with sophisticated electronic circuitry that controls a liquid crystal insert in the lens.
Simply touching the side of the lens triggers the bifocal to activate or deactivate.
These lenses will not turn the whole lens into a reading lens, just the lower portion, so those who struggle with having to tilt their head up to read a computer monitor will not benefit from this new technology. Additionally, the bifocal has only one power, so it will not have the variable focal length that can be achieved with a progressive lens.
The system will include prescription lenses, a frame and a charging base station. The lenses can be replaced if a prescription change is needed. They will need to be charged once every two or three days. The Times reports that the system will retail for approximately $1000.
The product will role out in Virginia and North Carolina this spring before expanding nationwide later this year.
According to Dr. Henahan, this type of product is likely to be just the beginning of a wave of electronically assisted eyewear that will change the way we see and interact with the world around us.
Is this the future of eyeglasses?