Bifocal Wearers Rejoice! New Technology Changes The Face Of Eyeglasses

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Bifocal lens haven't changed much since Ben Franklin invented them, but now they are getting a long overdue makeover

The medical profession and healthcare industry is always innovating and coming up with new solutions and treatments. However, for people who wear corrective lenses, bifocals in particular, there hasn't been much change in the design and function of these dual prescription lenses.

When Ben Franklin invented the bifocal lens in 1784, it was an answer to a problem he had and one that is shared by many. He needed a lens for reading and working with things close up, but still needed a different lens for doing other things. The solution was to put the reading lens on the bottom of the standard lens, allowing the wearer to change the lenses by looking through different parts of the glasses.

The problem is that when you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, it is difficult to look at things lower than your head without it being distorted. But, a company called PixelOptics has used technology to come up with a new solution to this age old problem.

The company, based in Roanoke, Va, has plans to introduce a new line of electronic eyeglasses called emPower. The high tech glasses allow wearers to toggle between the close up prescription and the distance prescription with just a touch.

The glasses need to charge on a special docking station for about eight hours, and after that, they can run for about three days. The electrical lenses were manufactured by Panasonic and they contain a layer of liquid crystal between layers of plastic. When the glasses are turned on, the electrical charge reaches the liquid crystal and realign the molecules to form the prescription.

To make things even easier for wearers, they can program the eyeglasses to trigger the lens change by either tilting their head downward or by pressing a fingertip to the temple of the eyeglass frame.

When the glasses are triggered, a zone in the bottom portion of the lens activates, providing a close up reading lens. When they are triggered again, the zone disappears. The change takes just a split second.

This way, wearers can control when they need the close-up lens, and this solves the biggest problem of bifocals. With traditional bifocals, wearers can't look down at things without having to deal with distortion. In the 1950's, progressive lenses were introduced to make the transition from the regular lens to the reading lens less noticeable, but they weren't able to completely solve the problem.

PixelOptics plans to release the new glasses on June 1st in Virginia and North Carolina. From there, they will begin to enter into new areas. For now they will only be available from select eyewear professionals, not large chains or online. The lenses are predicted to sell for around $1,000 to $1,250.

Do you wear bifocals or progressive lenses? What do you think about this new innovation? Let me know in the comments.

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By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for HealthcareJobsiteBlog. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.


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