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Adjustable-Focus Glasses Can Replace Bifocals

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the doctor-my-eyes dept.

Medicine 220

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that inventor Stephen Kurtin has developed glasses with a mechanically adjustable focus that he believes can free nearly two billion people around the world from bifocals, trifocals and progressive lenses. Kurtin has spent almost 20 years on his quest to create a better pair of spectacles for people who suffer from presbyopia — the condition that affects almost everyone over the age of 40 as they progressively lose the ability to focus on close objects. The glasses have a tiny adjustable slider on the bridge of the frame that makes it possible to focus alternately on the page of a book, a computer screen, or a mountain range in the distance. 'For more than 140 years, adjustable focus has been recognized as the Holy Grail for presbyopes,' says Kurtin. 'It's a blazingly difficult problem.' Each 'lens' is actually a set of two lenses, one flexible and one firm. The flexible lens (near the eye) has a transparent, distensible membrane attached to a clear rigid surface. The pocket between them holds a small quantity of crystal-clear fluid. As you move the slider on the bridge, it pushes the fluid and alters the shape of the flexible lens."

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Cool, but... (4, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939141)

...how do you clean them?

I've had glasses for ages now. I clean them every day. My rigid plastic lenses eventually develop small scratches no matter how careful you are.

So how will these lenses with movin parts hold up when cleaned for every day for N years?

The FAQ claims:

TruFocals are rugged and durable. Most moving parts are made from stainless steel alloy or TISMO high performance polymer. TruFocals users report that they stand up to the wear and tear of fulltime use.

I'm not impressed unless it's been proven over time...

Re:Cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28939439)

I don't understand I can't read the summary nor your question!

Re:Cool, but... (3, Funny)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939457)

Hey. That's why someone tagged this story !Presbyterians :-) Of course, the people who needed to know that couldn't read it... but still, awesome tag!

Re:Cool, but... (4, Funny)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939441)

My rigid plastic lenses eventually develop small scratches no matter how careful you are.

Sorry. I'll be more careful in the future.

Re:Cool, but... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28939747)

won't matter...

Re:Cool, but... (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940645)

I suspect cleaning these "liquid-filled lenses" is no different than cleaning your liquid-filled calculator or LCD screen.

Not that this will help me. I have astigmatism which makes it virtually impossible to wear anything except hard lenses or hard contacts. What I *really* need is a new pair of eyeballs.

Re:Cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28941283)

What I *really* need is a new pair of eyeballs.

I'm still using mine. Please stop looking at me like that!

Re:Cool, but... (4, Informative)

ingenuus (628810) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941367)

There's also soft toric lenses for astigmatism.

Re:Cool, but... (2, Informative)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941381)

I too have astigmatism and can wear Toric lenses to (mostly) correct it. Been wearing them for several years now, and I'm pretty sure my astigmatism is pretty bad. Never been recommended hard lenses. Perhaps your eye doctor is just old and not up to date? Or maybe I'm wrong in that only mild astigmatism can be corrected in soft lenses.

Re:Cool, but... (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941587)

What I *really* need is a new pair of eyeballs.

Not your eyeballs, just their lenses. They have soft contacts for astigmatism now, but if you have the money for it a CrystaLens [crystalens.com] is the way to go; I have one in my left eye and it's fantastic.

Its amazing how science has in some cases passed science fiction. In Star Trek IV there's a fictional drug called "retinox" that cures age related presbyopia by (presumably) softening the lens, and since Kirk is allergic to retinox, he has to wear reading glasses. One would think that McCoy could just transport Kirk's crystaline lens out and transport a CrystaLens into it, but the si-fi writers didn't forsee this new tech (it was FDA approved in 2003).

Re:Cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28941621)

I suggest you look again. Toric contact lenses are pretty common over the last 10 or so years.

Re:Cool, but... (5, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939919)

Don't use cleaning fluid, tissues, or even those special cloths. Use soap and water only. Run water over your lenses to get the larger dust particles off, then wet your fingers and apply a couple of drops of dish detergent to them. Use this to get any remaining dust and oily residue off the lenses by rubbing the lenses with your fingers. Rinse the lenses under running water. Repeat as required. You can shake most of the water droplets off, and if you want to get rid of all of them, dab the lenses with a soft cotton towel. You lenses should remain scratch free for years.

Re:Cool, but... (2, Informative)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940235)

and if you want to get rid of all of them, dab the lenses with a soft cotton towel.

Or use distilled water as the final rinse.

Re:Cool, but... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940495)

Also, anhydrous alcohol is very useful, it doesn't leave stains and washes dust easily.

Re:Cool, but... (2, Informative)

laughing_badger (628416) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941179)

I was once warned that dish soap damaged some of the coatings applied to the lenses - not sure how accurate that was or how relevant it is today.

Re:Cool, but... (1)

north.coaster (136450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941307)

My experience is that antibacterial soap damages lens coatings, but generic white liquid soap works fine.

Re:Cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28941213)

I use 40 grit toilet paper. Works wonders on that nasty film

Re:Cool, but... (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941613)

Funny, but I do use lens cleaning fluid and I do use something supposedly even worse than lens cloth - I use plain Kleenex tissue. And after some 10 years I don't have a single scratch or mark on my lenses.

Re:Cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28940233)

I've used glass lenses since first grade (36 years) and I still have my eyes, but I don't have scratches. I agree however that a cleaning method would probably need to be developed to ensure the glasses stay clean without falling apart.

Re:Cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28940695)

You will never need to clean these special glasses ... like ... "With our automatic air condition system you will never want to open window..."

Re:Cool, but... (1, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940709)

My rigid plastic lenses eventually develop small scratches no matter how careful you are.

I first started wearing glasses half a century ago when there were no plastic lenses in glasses, and when the plastic ones came out I had the same trouble as you - they scratched too easily, so since then I always insisted on glass, despite the fact that they're a whole lot heavier. I got contact lenses in 2002 and surgery in 2006; the surgery is the best route.

If you have a spare $15,000 you can get the surgery that will completely correct your myopia and presbyopia. Glasses suck!

Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28939149)

I was planning to get bifocals in the near future. I hope this invention goes into production soon.

About time, too (2, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939155)

But the price, the price...
My presbyopia is such that I just do without spectacles for close work, and don monofocals for driving, etc. I have bifocals, but they irritate me to no end. If adaptive focus spectacles are reasonably-priced (no more than double the cost of good coated bifocals), then I'll be first in line.

Issued in 1999, What's Taking Him So Long? (1, Offtopic)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939227)

But the price, the price... My presbyopia is such that I just do without spectacles for close work, and don monofocals for driving, etc. I have bifocals, but they irritate me to no end. If adaptive focus spectacles are reasonably-priced (no more than double the cost of good coated bifocals), then I'll be first in line.

Yeah, it sounds like many people would enjoy this. My question is why if this was granted in 1999 [google.com] is it not in production today? Is there some FDA-like approval he needs to get? Is he having trouble finding capital? Is he unable to convince people it will work? A fabrication issue? Doesn't make sense to me.

Or (like the article says) does he just have his hands in too many fields of patents [google.com] to develop one of them into a business model? I was kind of shocked to see that it was issued a decade ago and I've never heard of this until now.

Re:Issued in 1999, What's Taking Him So Long? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939395)

My question is why if this was granted in 1999 [google.com] is it not in production today?

In the boring commodity world of eyeglasses, "they" are smart enough not to fall for an obvious submarine patent, unlike the fast paced world of I.T.

Holographic bifocals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28940119)

You need holographic lenses, they have BOTH lenses (actually a hologram of both lenses) and focus at two distances across the whole lens.

The advantage is when you look close your eye uses one focus plane and when you look far your eye uses the other focus plane. So the switch is instant and without the slider. I have these, damn expane

Cool specs, Poindexter (1, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939209)

There were only two people in the world who ever looked good in round glasses: John Lennon and Mahatma Gandhi.

This poor lady [trufocals.com] looks like she needs a wedgie.

The technology is very interesting, but you can't get any traction unless people are willing to actually buy and wear the glasses. As geeks, sometimes we overlook the attractiveness aspect of new technology. We shouldn't, it's half the battle.

Re:Cool specs, Poindexter (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939237)

There were only two people in the world who ever looked good in round glasses: John Lennon and Mahatma Gandhi.

This poor lady [trufocals.com] looks like she needs a wedgie.

The technology is very interesting, but you can't get any traction unless people are willing to actually buy and wear the glasses. As geeks, sometimes we overlook the attractiveness aspect of new technology. We shouldn't, it's half the battle.

ben franklin, doc hollywood.

the important thing is to purchase a scale proportional to your face (unlike this poor woman in the picture)

Re:Cool specs, Poindexter (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28939723)

And Harry Potter

Re:Cool specs, Poindexter (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939593)

There were only two people in the world who ever looked good in round glasses: John Lennon and Mahatma Gandhi.

You forgot Corporal Walter "RADAR" O'Reilly [wikimedia.org]

Re:Cool specs, Poindexter (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939883)

Right, and that's why glasses never caught on in the first place until frame-makers started thinking 'fashion' and high-index lenses came around. Oh, wait...

Some people actually care about the functional aspect of the device. If these work well, I'd say they're likely to find a market.

Re:Cool specs, Poindexter (1)

ByteGuerrilla (918383) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940263)

Daniel Jackson.

How is that an improvement? (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939233)

The glasses have a tiny adjustable slider on the bridge of the frame that makes it possible to focus alternately on the page of a book, a computer screen, or a mountain range in the distance

Whowever designed this has obviously never worn progressive lenses. In real, ordinary life, you don't "decide" to focus on something for a minute and adjust the slider accordingly, you adjust your focal point *all the time*, unconsciously. What progressive lenses do is allow your neck muscle to "emulate" what your eye muscles would normally do if you weren't an old fart.

I just don't see myself (pun intended) spending the day with a finger on the rim of my glasses to do the same. If I want to be comfortable for an extended period of time in front of the computer, or to drive, I put on my near or far glasses. For the rest of the time (90% of my day), I put on the progressive glasses. Perhaps the adjustable lenses would allow me to have one pair of comfy glasses instead of two, but I ain't giving up my progressives. At any rate, my reading glasses are on the table, and my driving glasses are in the car, so it's not really a problem in the first place.

(On a side note, I've just realized I'm talking about my presbyopia on Slashdot, and the dreaded word "middle-aged" comes to my mind.)

Re:How is that an improvement? (2, Interesting)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939363)

Amen. This seems like a good idea...but for the things I do that don't involve sitting in front of a computer or a book, it'd be a disaster. Both driving, and to an even greater extent flying, involve repeated, regular, rapid changes in focus distance from close to far, and especially while flying, my hands have better things to do than stay up at the bridge of my nose adjusting how well I see.

I've worn bifocals since I was 16 years old. (Focus flexibility problems don't always start in middle age.) These new glasses will not replace them, for me.

Re: How is that an improvement? (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940133)

I read the heading of this Article and that was my immediate thought too. I started needing progressive lenses in the last few years, and I find when driving that looking at the street through the bottom of the lenses, or the instrument panel through the top makes it impossible to focus. Fortunately, the optometrist realized that I don't drive with my head upside down when he made my glasses.

Re:How is that an improvement? (4, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939401)

What you're failing to realize is that this is the first step towards glasses that adjust their focus automatically.

Right now it's done manually. Just like we used to manually card wool.

Given time, the electronics needed to measure where you're looking, the distance to it and adjusting the focus will be built in to the glasses.

Re:How is that an improvement? (2, Funny)

MatthewCCNA (1405885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940129)

Right now it's done manually. Just like we used to manually card wool.

Speaking of getting older, was wool carding the best analogy available or should I get of your lawn?

Re:How is that an improvement? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941215)

It was the first thing that sprang to mind.

And if you think about it, it's quite apt, considering that turning raw wool into any kind of modern clothing is a very demanding process if you do it all by hand, yet you can probably go from sheep to sweater in an hour or less today, making a tedious process (manually adjusting the focus) into a highly automated one.

Re:How is that an improvement? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941247)

was wool carding the best analogy available

Parallel parking (ugh!).

Re:How is that an improvement? (2, Interesting)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939505)

This would be really cool for controlling tint in glasses though. Those transition lenses that do this automatically don't really work well. I would love a pair of glasses that allowed me to manually adjust the tint.

Re:How is that an improvement? (2, Interesting)

shadow349 (1034412) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939925)

This would be really cool for controlling tint in glasses though. Those transition lenses that do this automatically don't really work well. I would love a pair of glasses that allowed me to manually adjust the tint.

That problem has been solved for decades, if not longer. Two polarized lenses, one of which can be rotated relative to the other, produce the effect you are looking for.

Re:How is that an improvement? (1)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940101)

Ok, so can you buy them in a standard optometrists?

Re:How is that an improvement? (1)

Matje (183300) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940779)

wouldn't your solution restrict you to circular lenses only? not very fashionable i'd say...

Re:How is that an improvement? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941141)

The biggest problem with transition lenses is the UV coating on your car's windshield renders them totally ineffective. The windshield filters the UV light the transitions use to increase their tint, so they never get dark when you're driving.

My wife got transition lenses specifically because she wanted to be able to use them while driving and didn't want a separate pair of prescription sunglasses to have to keep track of. Turns out, the transitions were completely useless for the one thing she wanted them for. Having a manually adjustable tint would definitely solve this problem without having to carry around a separate device (separate pair of glasses, those stupid clip-on things, or whatever else).

Re:How is that an improvement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28939557)

Notice how you now require several glasses for several ranges; one pair for close, one for far, and some progressive. You have to switch manually between those glasses. The invention now reduces the switch action to adjusting a slide.

The next step is to make this adjustment automatic. As you pointed out, progressive lenses do this by the position of your head; actually by modifying the place where the light rays cross the glasses before entering your eyes. But one may imagine measuring the curvature of your eye, and enhancing this effect by adjusting the glasses, effectively expanding the focus range.

Actually, earlier I was thinking of was adjustment based on the effort of the ciliary muscle, since that is the one that weakens with age.

And before that, I thought about the autofocus lenses of camera's, which means the theory of getting focus is available. A difficulty to overcome is to get the (weakened) focal system of the eye and the focal system of the glasses to play together nicely, but still, this seems technically feasible. Economic feasibility is another thing, I cannot speculate on that.

Re:How is that an improvement? (2, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939655)

Notice how you now require several glasses for several ranges; one pair for close, one for far, and some progressive. You have to switch manually between those glasses. The invention now reduces the switch action to adjusting a slide.

No it doesn't. I'd still have to have progressives and a pair of magic-slider glasses. So instead of three pairs, I'd have two. Unless of course I can have glasses with 3 settings (progressive, fixed/near and fixed/far), in which case I'd gladly buy them.

Re:How is that an improvement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28940013)

Unless of course I can have glasses with 3 settings

I am under the impression that a slider means a continuous range of settings, like the slide of a trombone. You'd be able to choose between fixed/near, fixed/a bit more away, fixed/far for a nice range of bit, where your natural focal system can correct for a smaller deviation of range of focus.

Wearing glasses myself, I find them to adjust my natural [frightening close - real close] focal range to [30 cm - horizon]. When I get older, this range will become [2m - horizon]. Being able to adjust the glasses to map the range to [50 cm - 3 m] or [1m - 1km] would be nice, and having this done automatically would be truely great.

Don't track accomodation, track vergence. (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939779)

It would be lovely to track focus based on ciliary tension, but it'll probably be easier to measure vergence [wikipedia.org] and adjust focus correspondingly. We can already do gaze-tracking pretty well, and vergence in principle gives a much large signal with less noise than ciliary muscle tension.

Re:How is that an improvement? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28939585)

True. I can't help but think they should instead put a sensor on the feet of the glasses so those of us who can wiggle our ears can adjust them without bringing up our hands.

Oh well, they'll find out about gorilla-arm syndrome soon enough.

Re:How is that an improvement? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940029)

it works for cyclops...

Re:How is that an improvement? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940327)

The glasses have a tiny adjustable slider on the bridge of the frame

I remember reading about these glasses in National Geographic.

They were designed for [mostly rural] third world markets where dispensing opticians are almost non-existent - and complex lenses priced out of reach.

The village elder would be quick to admit that they look over-weight and dorky even on him.

Antannae for automatic focusing (1)

marciot (598356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940361)

Rather than having a manually operated lever, they should add some antannae to the glasses which are mechanically coupled to the focusing mechanism. So, as you get in closer to an object, the antanna on the glasses touch it and brings in the focus automatically.

Re:How is that an improvement? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940731)

I just don't see myself (pun intended) spending the day with a finger on the rim of my glasses to do the same.

When I was in my forties I'd pull my glasses down my nose to focus to read.

Re:How is that an improvement? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941335)

Since they use a fluid lens as part of the design I'm looking forward to all sorts of novelty designs. Put some white sprinkles in it so you think it is snowing all the time. Add some tiny plastic fish and now your world is an aquarium! The possibilities are endless.

Not a new idea by the way (2, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939285)

Re:Not a new idea by the way (1)

cabjf (710106) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940239)

I was thinking the same thing. At first I thought he just took the same idea and made it into something that could be sold to the average consumer. Until he can automate the focus control (and making the transition quick), I don't see this doing well.

Crystalens (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939287)

They're three years too late for me; I had a CrystaLens implanted [slashdot.org] in one eye in 2006. It is an adjustable focus lens that replaces the eye's natural lens, and it uses the eye's focusing muscles to focus.

Its drawbacks are first, you have to have surgery, and second, it's pretty expensive. It's affordable if you have cataracts, where insurance will pay most of the costs and even then the out of pocket expense to cover the difference in price between an old fashioned InterOptical Lens (IOL) and the new one.

Your eye actually has two lenses; the cornea and the crystalline lens. The latter is what focuses, until you reach your forties when it starts becoming stiff, too stiff for the eye's muscle to move.

These new reading glasses would be a boon to anyone with the old fashioned IOL, anyone who is afraid of letting a doctor stick needles in their eyeball, and anyone without about $6,000 to get one eye fixed. I'll bet they're expensive (haven't yet RTFA) but I'm sure they're cheaper than surgery, and like all new technologies, the price will come down in time. In twenty years you'll be able to get them for ten bucks in today's money, I'd be willing to bet.

Re:Crystalens (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939325)

What's it like to get a shot in the eye? I assume they anesthetize you so that can't flinch or blink. But are you conscious? It seems like a waking nightmare to watch a needle slowly approach your eyeball and there's nothing you can do about it.

I suppose it's a pretty routine operation, but yikes, the needle in the eye...

Re:Crystalens (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940333)

What's it like to get a shot in the eye? I assume they anesthetize you so that can't flinch or blink. But are you conscious?

They do apply a local anesthetic to the eye, but you are otherwise fully conscious and alert. They merely use a steel contraption to pin your head and shoulders down. ;)

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile! (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940437)

You're only semi-conscious; they drug you into what they call "twilight sleep". They use anesthetic eyedrops to numb the eye and they put an IV in your arm with the "twilight sleep" anesthesia. They tie your arms to the gurney "so you won't try to help the doctor". The only unpleasant part is when the needle actually goes into your eye, but it's not painful, only shocking and wierd. They have some sort of frame over your face that lets them see inside your eye with a microscope (they dose your eye with dialation drops as well as anesthetic) and holds your eyelid open.

You don't see the needle coming towards your eye. I journaled about it; the link is in the comment you responded to. The needle goes through the white of the eye and they shoot ultrasound through it to turn the lens to mush, suck the mush out and insert the prosthetic lens. It sounds bad, but it isn't. The best part is I wore thick glasses all my life, I was severly myopic. The CrytaLens cures myopia (nearsightedness), presbyopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and cataracts. The eye I have the implant in is now better than 20/20 at all distances, but the surgeon said mine worked out better than most.

Now, a vitrectomy [slashdot.org] , that's a nightmare. I wouldn't wish one on anybody, but it sure beats the certainty of absolute blindness. BTW, one slashotter asked me to warn people before I link the vitrectomy journal, it really freaked him out. There's a link to the wikipedia article about victrectomy in that journal, and there's a picture in the wikipedia article that is NOT for the faint of heart. Pray you never have a detached retina!

Autofocus? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939323)

If my sub-$100 camera can auto-focus, why can't my classes? Hmm?

Re:Autofocus? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939475)

Because you don't want to walk around with huge glasses that goes Bzzz...Bzzzz... all day long, move your head around when the autofocus fails to reckon where the focal point is, and wear a battery-pack on your belt to power the thing.

Try using a manual-focus SLR camera for a day or two, and you'll realize your own autofocus (your brain) works way better than any piece of electronics.

Re:Autofocus? (1)

NoCowardsHere (1278858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940521)

That's because an autofocus camera tries to use all sorts of hacks to figure out what to focus on and how to focus on it. Autofocus glasses won't have to do that... they can figure out how far away the object is you're trying to look at simply by looking at your eyes; your pupils will get closer to each other when focusing on something up close. Electronic glasses that used this could quickly, easily, and correctly adjust themselves. In other words, the glasses would let your brain do the hard work, and just follow its lead.

Re:Autofocus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28939659)

Because your glasses have to cooperate with the variable-focus system that is your eye. Get them to play nice together, and a lot of people will thank you.

Presbyopia (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939983)

If you've got Presbyopia, you have a de facto non- or at least very-limited-focusing-ability eye. That should make the job easier.

The hard part is the iris keeps moving around. But still, it would be cool to detect what you are looking at and focus at that distance.

Re:Autofocus? (1)

Liquidretro (1590189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940247)

With out an autofocus mechanism this idea is dead. The problem with your sub $100 camera is the Canon 1D3n. This is a $7000 camera body that has had tons of problems with its auto focus. Something you definitely don't want to go on with your eyes.

I kinda like the progressive lenses (2, Informative)

jbarr (2233) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939349)

I've been wearing glasses for over 35 years since kindergarten, and about two years ago, I got progressive lenses. Sure, they were a bit strange at first, but within a day, I just "got it" and I think they're great! By simply doing "micro adjustments", I can get pretty much anything into focus very quickly.

I really don't see what the big deal is. Can someone please explain why progressive lenses are so despised?

Re:I kinda like the progressive lenses (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939563)

I really don't see what the big deal is. Can someone please explain why progressive lenses are so despised?

I like mine, but my mom can't get used to them. At all. They give her headaches and she just doesn't "get it", as you say. And she doesn't like bifocals much either.

She bought her 6th pair of glasses with progressive lenses about 2 weeks ago, because the optometrist told her it was a "new generation" of lenses for people who just couldn't get used to them. She paid a princely sum for them too. The result, as always, is that her brand spanking new glasses sit in a box alongside the other 5 pairs and she still switches between the near and far glasses that dangle around her neck all the time.

Re:I kinda like the progressive lenses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28940929)

Your mother is a change-resistant moron, then. If she would put even a 10th of the effort into getting used to them as she is putting into NOT using them, she'd dancing and prancing around for years.

Re:I kinda like the progressive lenses (2, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939669)

The progressive lens I tried out at the optician's only gave clear focus over a five or ten degree horizontal field of view through most of its close-focus range. Anything left or right of center was astigmatically blurred. No way could I live with that, particularly in this day of "wider is better" displays.

I might consider a progressive lens that gave clear focus across the entire width of my FOV, but from what I've seen, that isn't happening.

Reading glasses! (4, Interesting)

Rick Richardson (87058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939391)

Reading glasses: $2 at Northern Tool. Regular prescription glasses: $40 from internet (china). Total cost: $42.

VS.

Trufocals: $895.

Next topic!

Re:Reading glasses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28939461)

Indeed.

I just slide my single vision glasses down my nose to read a book.
 

Re:Reading glasses! (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940043)

My eye doctor told me he could give me a perscription for reading glasses that would cost over $100 or I could stop in at the drug store in the lobby on the way out and by some +2's for about $5.

Re:Reading glasses! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940545)

Wow, if you get a cataract that's only a couple hundred bucks cheaper than having a Crystalens Implant (after insurance, which covers the cost of the old fashioned IOLs) and you don't have to wear glasses or use a slider, it focuses normally as if you were 20 years old with good vision. They'll implant them for myopia, presbyopia, and/or astigmatism as well but insurance won't cover it, the surgery is about $6,000 per eye. I have one in my left eye, my out of pocket cost was about a grand. Well worth every penny, best money I ever spent.

You can give youreslf a cataract with steroid eye drops (I was prescribed them for an eye infection whch is how I got the cataract) but I would NOT recommend it; there can be some other severely BAD side effects.

Re:Reading glasses! (1)

scholl_r (1611785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940773)

Reading glasses: $2 at Northern Tool. Regular prescription glasses: $40 from internet (china). Total cost: $42.

VS.

Trufocals: $895.

Next topic!

You guys obviously either don't have astigmatism or prism error, or read only very large print. The cheap reading glasses give me a grand headache after only a few minutes, and I'd need a different pair to get a headache with my computer monitor. My "$100" reading glasses are actually bifocal lenses in my distance glasses; they work perfectly, but require that I hold the book at about 12 inches. I need my computer lenses for reading at a more comfortable distance, but that doesn't work for very small print. Naturally I could continue what I do now, which is to keep the two kinds of glasses and constantly change between them, but clearly this Trufocal system would be much more comfortable and easy for me to use. For those who might respond that progressive lenses work well, I can only note that the "sweet spot" for focus at any distance is much narrower than either bifocals or reading glasses, and this requires that I turn my head to scan across the book or computer screen - again, tiring.

Great! Lenses that look like a FULL Coke bottle. (3, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939617)

I really, really want adjustable-focus lenses. But I don't want heavy lenses, and I don't want large, round lenses.

I'm hoping these folks [pixeloptics.com] , linked in TFA, can deliver. Electronic focus sounds a lot more appealing and reliable.

tiny slider (4, Insightful)

MagicM (85041) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939837)

The glasses have a tiny adjustable slider on the bridge of the frame

Good thing the over-40 crowd is well-known for their dexterity and ability to accurately manipulate tiny adjustable sliders.

Re:tiny slider (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940597)

I'm 57 and I have no trouble at all with dexterity or manipulating tiny objects. The trouble most over 40s have with that is the fact that you get age related presbyopia (farsightedness) because your eye's focusing lens becomes hard, and it's pretty difficult to manipulate a small object you can't see.

I had one of my eyes fixed; I don't have presbyopia or myopia (I had both) any more.

Bifocals just work (1)

windsleeper (1158491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939907)

This issue with this invention is that it requires user interaction to work. Bifocals don't. You just look in a natural way (slightly down for reading and computer screens, straight ahead for distance) and the right adjustment is right there for you. With today's progressives, after a day or two, you don't even realize you have a multifocus lens. Having to adjust the focal distance is a cool idea, but way too much work for something that you do thousands of times a day without thought.

Now pair this up with a computer and a laser range finder to know how far away the object you are looking at is and some miniature mechanicals to have the glasses do the focusing for you and you are talking some serious cool. Who wouldn't want to be seen in a trendy Picard/Borg laser outfit?

Violates the KISS Principal (3, Insightful)

frodo527 (614767) | more than 5 years ago | (#28939967)

This really sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Bifocals and trifocals work, and have no moving parts.

How soon can I get them? (1)

Noexit (107629) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940031)

If he's needs some beta testers I want to get on the list. I was prescribed bifocals a year and a half ago, kept them for a couple of months and had to give them up, I just couldn't find the comfort zone with them. So I'm back to single vision glasses, and while I have no problem reading or watching TV (for instance) I can't go back and forth between them. I'd buy this guy a beer if I could try his lenses on for a while.

Forget glasses - use contacts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28940059)

Forget the glasses. I've been wearing contact lens since 1985. When I needed bifocals, I just got bifocal contacts.
It's amazing how the eye adjusts to using the correct part of the lens depending on what you're looking at.

Wait, what? (1)

rantingkitten (938138) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940181)

So if I wore bifocals, I'd just adjust my gaze slightly up or down depending on where I'm looking. I imagine that would become pretty natural after only a very short time using them.

Now with these things, I'd have to constantly reach up to my face and adjust a little lever -- all day, every day.

That seems absurd.

Isn't laser eye surgery... (1)

fiddley (834032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940219)

...cheap enough for everyone yet? Or am I missing something?

Re:Isn't laser eye surgery... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941793)

Laser eye surgery covers very small part of eye related problems.

Who Needs Bifocals? (2, Funny)

InsertCleverUsername (950130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940223)

Just get a bigger monitor.

Re:Who Needs Bifocals? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941325)

Just get a bigger monitor.

Just use a lower resolution.
A buddy of mine has a 42 inch LCD TV as his monitor and it gives me eyestrain whenever I read text on it.

Her name sums it up. (1)

Uchiha (811374) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940265)

Trina Thompson. Sounds lazy, and her parents must have been lazy too, she doesn't even use Katrina.

I'm sorry (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940355)

But I'll believe it when I see it.

Darn, not the glasses I was looking for (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940397)

I thought that the folks at the University of Arizona who had announced (in 2006) a different type of adjustable glasses [cnet.com] using an embedded liquid crystal layer and an adjustment varying the electric field applied to it had put their development into fast gear and already were shipping prototypes.

Darn! Past shock, again...

Diabetes (1)

kialara (145164) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940485)

I wonder if this can be used for the diabetic crowd, who typically end up with constantly changing prescriptions due to their sugar levels.

This has already been done... (1)

d9000 (882617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940571)

There is a company called Adaptive Eyecare that came up with this a few years back: Universal Eyeglasses [naturalvision.net]

Admittedly, the TruFocals look a bit cooler, what with not needing syringes taped to the sides of your glasses and all.

Hey, Weren't "Oil Lenses" in DUNE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28940605)

I seem to recall that they were!

Somehow I doubt it counts as prior art though.

I want this as a slip-on. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940639)

As glasses these will cost a bomb, and won't be covered by insurance for years.

As a lens slipped inside the glasses, they could be made more cheaply and sold OTC at Walgreens... and almost certainly end up making far more money by selling to a much larger market. And I'm sure they've got the patents locked up so nobody's going to be undercutting them with slip-ons.

If you click on the site... (1)

AmericanInKiev (453362) | more than 5 years ago | (#28940641)

You can see an Airplane pilot, adjusting his glasses to better see the control panel, which presumably means the pilot can't see inside and outside the plane at the same time.

Get me a ticket on that Airline!

Replace the lenses in the eyes! (3, Interesting)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941013)

People get that way because the lenses in their eyes stiffen with age and soon the muscles int he eyes can't adjust them properly. People who have had certain type of cataract surgery where they replace the lens inside of the eye usually regain most all of their focusing ability.

Mod parent "only half-right"... (3, Informative)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941511)

Yes, the lens stiffens with age. (There was a competing theory that it grows with age, and that focus problems arise because the focus mechanism doesn't have enough range of motion to adapt, but that apparently hasn't been borne out by further studies.

No, in general, lens replacement does NOT give you back focusing ability. There's one type of lens (Crystalens, referenced upthread) that restores accommodation for some recipients, but results vary widely, and regular replacement lenses don't accommodate at all.

hmmm... (1)

lavaboy (21282) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941317)

Has everyone forgotten the cautionary tale of Navin R. Johnson?

Do people just like wearing glasses? (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941499)

I guess I don't quite understand. Pushing my reading glasses up on my forehead (short term) or sticking them in my shirt pocket when I don't need them seems to work just fine. I don't really like them on my face if I'm not reading something, since I can see just fine beyond 18 inches from my eyes. Is this intended for the folks that already need corrective lenses for existing vision problems?

Outdated on invention! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28941539)

Siemens created tiny lenses out of a drop of oil in a water suspension years ago. They work by the same principles, can be controlled with electrical fields, cost next to nothing, and are built into modern camera phones etc. This thing is just an upscaled version with a "lid". So one should be able to use electronic focusing on it too.

But it is not that new as a technology...

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